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Girl Scout Silver Award Project Promotes Women in Chess


Two Girl Scout Cadettes from Carmichael Middle School have organized an all-girls chess tournament, the first-of-its-kind in the Tri-Cities area. Twelve year-old Beatrice Raugei and thirteen year-old Erin Hallquist kick off the 2017-2018 Tournament Chess Season with a visionary Silver Award project and a progressive start to their eighth grade year.

The Battle of the Queens Tournament, will take place at the Mid-Columbia Library – West Pasco branch on Saturday, October 14, 2017, with registration opening at 8am and rounds beginning promptly at 9am. The tournament is open to girls from K through 12th grade. 

Raugei and Hallquist want to encourage more girls to participate in chess. They believe that by holding The Battle of the Queens Chess Tournament, it will help the female chess players develop a sense of sisterhood in an activity that is frequently male dominated, especially in the middle and high school years. 

“I think more girls would continue to play chess if they recognize the friendly faces of other girl players when they go to tournaments,” said Raugei, an avid chess enthusiast.

Last spring, Raugei and Hallquist approached the Washington Elementary Chess Champions Board President, David Merrill, about the possibility of holding such a tournament, and it’s been full-steam ahead ever since! 

The girls plan to highlight as many women chess players as possible on the Tournament staff. Among those women will be WFM Chouchan Airapetian, who will be traveling with her daughter from the west side of the state to act as Head Judge.  Airapetian, recently won the 2017 Washington Women's Championship which was held in Seattle on September 15-17, 2017.

The Pasco School District has a very strong chess program with quite a few female players. When Raugei and Hallquist analyzed past tournament data, they recognized that by holding the tournament in Pasco, it significantly increased the participation of the Pasco girls. 

“We are bringing the tournament to the players”, said Hallquist.

That is a common theme for this year. The state chess tournament will be held at the TRAC in Pasco on April 21, 2018. “It is especially exciting, as we have not hosted it in 6 years!” said Merrill. Historically, Pasco School District has sent the largest contingent to the tournament of any school district in the state! Adding the participants from Kennewick, Richland, and the surrounding towns, they will make up almost one-quarter of the 800+ Chess players expected to attend the state tournament this year.  “Over 2,000 people in total are expected to converge on the Tri-Cities for this high profile event”, said Merrill.

The Silver Award is the second highest award in Girl Scouting. It is the highest award that Cadette Girl Scouts, ages 11-14 or in grades 6-8, can earn. It represents a girl’s accomplishments in Girl Scouting and her community, as she grows and works to improve her life and the lives of others.