Checkmate! Introducing Isha Marla. Super kids learning a super game

Checkmate! Introducing Isha Marla. Super kids learning a super game

9-year-old Isha Marla enjoys playing chess and classical music. Isha also studies Bharathanatyan, a form of traditional Indian dancing, and is part of an award-winning Lego robotics team. Most of the team play chess too.

Isha is a fourth grader at the Montessori School of Beaverton and says that chess helps her in math, solving problems by using strategy and logic. She started taking chess lessons in the second grade and has played in a number of tournaments and hopes to play at the Oregon state championships at Seaside next April. Isha is part of a growing number of girls learning chess and competing in tournaments and beating the boys. She is now taking lessons on Skype and playing chess games online but can’t wait for the in-person tournaments to start up again so she can be with her other chess friends.


Isha’s play by play: Here is one of Isha’s games showing how she uses tactics and her only thought is to checkmate her opponent’s king.

White: Middle School Player | Black: Isha Marla

  1. e4, e5
  2. Nf3, d5 (Isha plays the Elephant Gambit in honor of her Indian heritage.)
  3. exd, Bg4
  4. h3, Bf5
  5. Ne5 (White is too greedy grabbing pawns and should bring the other pieces into play.)
  6. dxc, Qc7
  7. g4, Qe5+
  8. Be2, Be7
  9. cxb7, Bh4 (Isha is attacking)
  10. bxa8/Q,
  11. Qd4
  12. Qxb8+, Ke7
  13. b3, Qxf2 checkmate.

Why learn chess? Simple: It’s a great mental workout that helps children perform well in the classroom. Chess is a logical game where kids have to plan ahead and adjust to new situations. But most of all, it’s fun! Larry Ball (Coach Larry) teaches students of all ages at the Steinitz Chess Academy in Beaverton. For more information, email Larry at