P.S. 42 girls continue chess team’s winning ways

By M.L. Liu

(Let to right) Teachers Kathy Lee and Grace Ang with P.S. 42’s winning chess girls: Lisa Qiu, Yan Lin and Gloria Trinh.

To the chess plaques and trophies that fill two glass cabinets in P.S. 42 in Chinatown, two more trophies can be added – if there is room.

Three students from P.S. 42’s chess club – Lisa Qiu and Yan Lin, both 11, and Gloria Trinh, 10 – recently attended the second annual All-Girls National Chess Championships. These fifth graders placed first as a team in the 12 or younger division. Qiu took first as an individual competitor in the same division.

“This is a great distinction, an honor for this school,” said P.S. 42 principal Rosa O’Day. “I’m glad we are able to give these children [the opportunity] to feel really good about themselves, to be really good at something. … Their accomplishments in chess have opened doors to exciting and enriching experiences.”

Qiu, Lin and Trinh traveled to Chicago for the tournament, which was held May 14 and 15. About 200 girls from 23 states competed.

When asked about the tournament, Qiu, Lin and Trinh agreed that they had a good time. Qiu was modest about her individual win, despite the tall trophy that she received.

O’Day credited the girls’ performance to their hard work, the support of their families and the preparation of third-grade teachers Grace Ng and Kathy Lee, the chess coordinators at P.S. 42.

“I think the whole experience is wonderful,” Lee said of the girls’ participation in the tournament.

Although Qiu, Lin and Trinh are graduating from P.S. 42 this year, they plan to continue playing chess.

As for the future of the school’s chess team, O’Day said, “We’re looking forward to cultivating younger students in the school to achieve the same accolades as these children.”

The members of P.S. 42’s chess club have been learning the game through a Chess-in-the-Schools program and coach Peter Barkman. The Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation have provided financial support, enabling the team to travel to this tournament as well as to a national chess championship last month in Nashville, Tenn. At that tournament, P.S. 42 students placed second as a team in the kindergarten through eighth grade under 1250 division.

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