When Charisse Woods, a fourteen year old chess guru from Cass Technical High School in Detroit, who aspires to becoming the first African American female to achieve “Master” status in the U.S., sits down across from a tough opponent for a match she already has a definite plan in mind:
“When Charisse Woods peers over a chess board, she's constantly on the lookout for three things.
“Checks, captures and threats, in that order,” said Charisse, 14, of Detroit, who noted that when those things are under control, “I just make a plan of what I want to do and move toward it.”
With her tactics firmly established, Charisse is now engaging her master strategy…
“Charisse's plan now is to become the first African American woman to become a national master, a ranking given by the International Chess Federation based on a player's competitive record. Only a tiny percentage of players ever reach that rank and most of them are men.
A black woman from the United Kingdom achieved the rank, but as far as Charisse knows, no American black woman has done it.”
Charisse will travel to Mumbai, India next month to compete in World Junior Chess Championship, where she will get an opportunity to further advance her strategy, have fun, make new friends and compete in the game that she loves:
“I like the challenge,” she said. “And I like meeting new people and traveling a lot.”
When asked about his favorite student Chess coach Kevin Fite gave some good advice, not only for life, and for Charisse, but advice House Democrats would be wise to hear:
“The steps that you have to take in chess are the same type of steps you take in mathematics,” said Fite, who now works as director of STEM enrichment programs for Detroit Schools. “When you solve an equation or just solving a problem in general, you have to go through steps. If this doesn't work, you know, you look for another way, or even if you find a good way, you keep searching until you just can't find a better way.”
Good luck in Mumbai, Charisse, but you are already a winner!
Perhaps when you achieve your goal of becoming a Master of Chess, then, hopefully, a Grand Master, America will have a government that can make us as proud of our country as you have made us with your game.
That would be a winning gambit!