Nesara Shree wants more girls to play chess and win championships



There are more than 50 boys for each girl in kids’ chess tournaments. Most girls feel like outsiders in this environment and just stop playing. Nesara Shree wants to change that. When she started playing chess in third grade, she too felt intimidated and alone among all the boys. But she stuck with it and after a while she started to appreciate all the skills she was learning from chess — the strategy, planning, dealing with losing — and realized they were helping her build confidence.

As she grew more confident, she was able to play with not just the same skills as the boys, but the same swagger. In one of Nesara’s tournament games her male opponent left a knight unprotected, so she took it with a smile and said, “Next time, can you wrap my gift?” He was, of course, shocked and humiliated. He thought he should have won the game.

If you think this example of a poor loser is an isolated incident, you would be very wrong.

But Nesara was undeterred. The more tournaments she played in and the more boys she beat, the more determined she became to get other girls involved. She realized, however, that to get them up to speed, the girls would benefit most from first playing in all girl tournaments. So, Nesara used all the research, planning and strategy skills she’d learned from chess to put together her first online tournament and started spreading the word to girls. It was a great success considering that for half of the girls who played it was their first tournament and many would undoubtedly not have played without the all-girl format. They are now looking forward to upcoming tournaments and, like Nesara, beating the boys.

She knows they will grow in confidence and critical thinking, just as she did. And they will enjoy getting to know other smart girls, as at the last tournament, where she invited local 8th grader Zoey Tang, a U.S. National chess master, to review the games and advise the girls. Nesara knows that’s the kind of extra support that helps create stronger players and will make girls want to play in more tournaments.

She hopes they’ll want to play in her next tournament, which is still in the planning stages. She is now seeking help in the form of donations (trophies, prizes and financial contributions) and a playing site. If you would like to help, please contact me. I have known and coached Nesara since she was in the 3rd grade and I want to do everything I can to support her ef forts. She’s now a sophomore at Jesuit High School and helped their chess team win the Oregon High School State team championship. Her goal now is to get more girls, winning championships with her.


One of Nesara’s many wins in the High School Chess Team Championship

  • White: Nesara Shree
  • Black: A. N.

1.d4.Nf6 2.Nf3 .d5. 3.e3, c5 4.c4, e6, 5.Bd3, cxd4 6.exd4, Bd6?! 7.c5, Bc7 8.Bg5, h6 9.Bh4, Nc6, 10.O-O, O-O 11.Nbd2?, Bd7? 12.Re1, g5 13.Bg3, Bxg3 14.fxg3?!, Qc7 15.Qe2, Nb4? 16.a3?!, Nxd3 17.Qxd3, a6 18.Ne5, Bb5 19.Qf3, Nd7?! 20.Qh5, Kg7 21.h4, Nxe5?! 22.Rxe5, f6 23.Rxe6, Qf7 24.Qxf7+, Kxf7 25.Rae1, Rfe8 26.Rxe8, Rxe8 27.Rxe8, Bxe8 28.b4?!, Ke6 29.Kf2?!, Kf5 30.Kf3, Bh5+ 31.Ke3, Bd1?! 32.Nb1, Kg4, 33.Kf2, Ba4?! 34.Nc3, Bc6 35.a4, f5?! 36.b5, axb5 37.axb5, f4 38.bxc6, bxc6 39.gxf4, Kxf4 40.hxg5, hxg5 41.Ne2+, Ke4, 42.g4, Kd3 43.Kf3, Kd2 44Nf4, Kc3 45.Ne6, Kd3 46.Nxg5, Kxd4 47.Ne6+, Ke5 48.Nd8, d4 49.Nxc6 Black Resigns


Chess4Girls initiative’s website is (

To learn more about Roshen Nair please, check out these websites:

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