I am a huge fan of Viswanathan Anand: Jennifer Shahade

Two-time American women’s chess champion, Jennifer Shahade, feels that the latest series The Queen’s Gambit, is a “beautifully” rendered series, and has helped create a kind of pop culture around the game of chess. The 40-year-old, who is also the mindsports ambassador for PokerStars India, says, “It actually presented a beautiful world that is similar to ours, but not the same in which people are very respective and not jealous and supportive of female brilliance. I had a feeling it was going to be a good series.”

She further points out a few inaccuracies within the show, but Shahade states that these changes “didn’t bother her”. “There were a few inaccuracies, but that didn’t bother me. For instance, chess players don’t talk to each other during serious games. Another thing is that people usually lose a lot more game and encounter a lot more resistance on their way to the top. I feel this is a bit more important for the younger people watching it. One other criticism people gave to the series that I understood but didn’t necessarily agree with is that the lead character would have encountered more sexism in real world than in the series.”


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Shahade, who believes that The Queen’s Gambit has helped create a strong base of the game of chess, works closely with the US Chess Women, where they encourage women to try and take up the sport. “US Chess Women is a huge passion I had. I am trying to bring more girls and women into the game and create online games for them. We have grandmasters all over the world come and talk to these girls and that is really important. Chess can help women in building confidence, and the ability to feel the slow experience of being totally focused,” she shares.

Among the Chess grandmasters in the world, Indian legend Viswanathan Anand is someone who has always been highly regarded. Speaking about him, Shahde says, “I am a huge fan. He is obviously a genius of chess, but the fact that he is also so down to earth person is amazing and a great role model.”


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