This past spring, forty-two girls from across Tennessee gathered in Perkins Hall on the University of Tennessee’s campus for the 2019 Tennessee All-Girls Chess Championship Tournament. The Tickle College of Engineering hosted the event and presented scholarships to the top three winners in the Championship Section of the tournament.
Germantown’s Houston Middle School eighth grader Sydney Kong was the number one seed and won her section with a 4-0 score, earning a $4,500 scholarship. A blitz playoff was held to determine the winners of the other two scholarships. Violet De Credico, an eighth grade homeschooler from Chattanooga, and Grace Feng, a seventh grader at West Valley Middle School in Knoxville, won the $3,000 and $1,500 scholarships, respectively.
Kong, who is the 2017 Girls Champion and State Co-Champion, was named the 2019 All-Girls State Champion and will be the Tennessee representative at the 2019 National Girls Tournament of Champions in Orlando in August.
Xiaopeng Zhao, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, was instrumental in bringing the tournament to campus, and integrated STEM activities into the event with student group presentations and lab tours.
All players left the tournament with a little piece of orange—a 3D-printed chess queen made by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.