January 25, 2009 614-224-8446
CPO Second Grade Student Places
First in National Title Chess Championship
Columbus-Ohio—In a sport that rarely sees young African American females excel, one local young girl is making a name for herself. Diamond Abdus-Shakoor, a second grade student at Deshler Elementary on Columbus’ East side, has amassed seven trophies and fifteen medals for her skills in chess, a game she has been playing for a short nine months. Recently, Diamond traveled to Florida and won first place nationally in the K-6 speed chess division in the USCF National Chess Championship. In the past week, she was officially recognized by the Columbus City School Board of Education.
Diamond and her father, Adbul Abdus-Shakoor are three-year residents of Community Properties of Ohio (CPO), a scattered site affordable housing community near downtown Columbus. CPO is an affiliate of Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, the largest locally controlled nonprofit syndicator of Low- Income Housing Tax Credits in the nation.
Abdul Shakoor was an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer, teaching chess to 150 children when Diamond approached him with an interest in the sport. Taught by her father, Diamond entered her first tournament in April 2008, the Queen City Classic in Cincinnati, and tied for 42nd place in a field of 97. From that point on, she was on her way up.
In her second tournament, the Ohio All Girls Championship, Diamond came in 4th in the state in the K-2nd grade age group. She then entered the Ohio Grade Level State Championships and placed 2nd in the state among 2nd graders. That led to the USCF National competition in Florida, in which she won her first national title. Diamond says she likes playing chess because it is a strategy game, one that you can get better at the more you try and it gives you the chance to travel around the world.
Abdul believes that chess helps children perform better academically, increases self-esteem, and improves critical thinking skills. In agreement with this and encouraged by Diamond’s success, Lou Seipel, Director of Supportive Services at CPO, worked with Abdul to get Diamond to Florida. Through the CPO nonprofit organization, Community Properties Impact Corporation (CPIC), Diamond was provided with travel and hotel accommodations for the journey. The purpose of CPIC is to support the work of CPO and help CPO residents move forward in their lives.
Diamond is heading to the All Girls National Tournament February 13-17 in Phoenix, Arizona where she hopes to again compete for a national title. If you would like to help support Diamond on her journey or support the Community Properties Impact Corporation (CPIC), please contact Lou Seipel at 614-253-0984.