At the the 2014 Toy Fair in New York City many vendors both new and old gathered together under one roof to display their latest gadgets and games in hopes of becoming this year’s hottest seller. Examiner.com freelance reporter, Brian A. Madrid was invited to attend this convention and speak with representatives for a new chess board game called Yamie Chess. On hand was two time US.Chess Champion, respected author and avid poker player, Jennifer Shahade who was available to answer some questions about herself and Yamie Chess.
BAM: Tell me about yourself?
JENN: I was born in Philadelphia, PA. My parents were game players and taught me how to play chess at an early age. I started taking chess playing real seriously in high school.
BAM: Are you superstitious? What measures do you take to prepare for a match?
JENN: Not at all, I also play poker after all. I study lots of games of my likely opponent, using databases. Then I try to predict the opening and prepare for them using computers and books.
BAM: How did writing come into your life? Tell me about your book titled, “ Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport.”
JENN: I've always loved writing! I studied literature in college and even started a college newspaper/magazine in the sixth grade. The book talks about the history of women in chess, intertwined with my own experiences discovering myself while becoming a chess champion.
The title is a feminist take on the word, “Bitch,” men called women “Bitchy” for doing things which would be seen simply as aggressive or assertive from men. I wrote a follow-up, “Play Like a Girl: Tactics by 9 Queens, which is a book filled with checkmates and clever moves, all executed by female players. I’m a big admirer of creative ventures to get more people to play chess, which was one of the reasons I was so drawn to Yamie Chess.
BAM: How did you become a spokesperson for Yamie Chess?
JENN: I got connected with Yamie Chess by a chess player/math genius friend and was immediately drawn into the project. The animation are magical and I am so excited by the project’s potential to captivate and draw children to the game of chess. Learning chess is more important than ever, because it teaches children how to focus in an age of so many distractions.
BAM: What is Yamie Chess?
JENN: A Harvard/MIT math PhD backed learning aid for STEM education in the K - 8 grades, designed by a group of math educators and engineers from MIT, CalTech, Stanford, Columbia, Arizona and Vanderbilt in collaboration with myself. The Harry Potter Chess consultant on Warner Bros. Pictures Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Jeremy Silman contributed to project creatively as well. It is made in America and is ecologically green using vegetables base paint and 40% recycled materials.
BAM: What is the idea of the characters in the game?
JENN: All the characters corresponds to the classic chess pieces on the board and teaches kids math and science with a chess framework. Kids follows these creatively engaging characters into a fantasy world and go on an adventure with them to learn math in school. There will be an animated DVD series for STEM education out next, the math board game is the first learning aid in the Yamie Chess series.
BAM: Where can one buy Yamie Chess games?
JENN: It’s release date will be on April 4th and can be purchased on our website,
at www.YamieChess.com and many retailers both online and off.
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Reporting for Examiner.com, I am Brian A. Madrid.