Dyhemia Young has overcome many hardships, but beams at the chance to play in the Polgar Invitational. Photo by Sheila George.
With the story of Vanita Young of Philadelphia already fresh in the news, Dyhemia Young (unrelated) will be joining her at the Polgar Invitational in Lubbock, Texas. While the stories are not to be compared, both highlight the role that chess can sometimes play in helping to transform lives. Adisa Banjoko, founder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF), had told Daaim Shabazz of The Chess Drum the story during a phone conversation. In an exasperated tone, he described the anguish in Dyhemia’s life as “craaazy”.
Dyhemia Young’s story is one of the stories we often hear associated with hard-scrabble cities in America. Young’s story caught the attention of Susan Polgar who learned about Dyhamia through the Hip-Hop Chess Federation and granted her a “wild card” invitation. However, things had turned sour for the 15-year old who went missing. Trying feverishly to find her, Banjoko went onto Facebook and to John O’Connell High School to track her down. No success. Finally a Google search by Lisa Suhay (HHCF-East Coast) lead them to a “missing person” log where a particular 13-year old girl had been previously listed. This was Dyhemia.
That lead the search to the San Francisco Police Deparment. It turns out that Dyhemia had been in and out of foster homes for three years and was finally found at the East Palo Alto Teen Home on June 30th. This is a revelation since Dyhemia made the admission, “Chess kept me going. It kept me motivated and kept me trying,” said the attractive young lady with sharp features.
Banjoko told The Chess Drum that the bulk of the money had been raised, but they are trying to raise the last amount for her to travel to Lubbock. There have been many besides the Hip-Hop Chess Federation to aid Dyhemia. FedEx Corporation is handling the airfare and a donation and show of support was given by Rener Gracie of the Jupiter Jiu Jitsu Academy. Rakaa Iriscience has also pitched in.
Banjoko told The Chess Drum that Dyhemia was concerned about losing her games, but he told her not to worry and this knowing that in the end this could be a life-altering or life-changing experience. It may even provide her with a path to college! All the best Dyhemia!