Expert Adia Onyango… New York’s chess charm

For the past several years, Adia Onyango has been on a quest to improve her chess performance. She had already created a wildly popular “Chess Connections” Facebook group which currently has more than 1200 members. In addition, she embarked on 30-day green smoothie challenges, took to a daily biking regiment and maintained a tireless passion for chess. In addition, she is a central force in organizing chess meet-ups around the New York area. It is not often to see a woman playing such a complete role in a male-dominated domain, but Adia had broken new ground. She relishes the role and her leadership is respected.

Adia Onyango
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Straight off of her World Open performance, she is reflective of the tournament where she finally eclipsed the 2000 rating mark known in U.S. chess parlance as “Expert.” It is above all of the class categories of players and represents players in the upper 2% of the country. Of course, the hard part about being an Expert is maintaining that playing standard. As one gets stronger, so does the competition. However, Adia is continuing to charge forward.

Sean Miller and Adia Onyango. Photo by Elizabeth Spiegel

Adia Onyango chatting with James Jeffrey and his friend, Dionne.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Adia Onyango and Stephanie Ballom. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Adia Onyango and Stephanie Ballom
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

After reaching the rating of 1968 back in August 2014, there was a bit of a stagnation in her level of play which prompted a plan of improvement. She became driven and even started a Facebook group focusing on health, nutrition and fitness for chess excellence called, “1.c4 Chess Connections Cardio Challenge” which began with her videotaping her workout sessions and posting them on Facebook. She also led cycling outings (even in snow) and challenged others to participate in her smoothie challenge.

Adia Onyango smoothie challenge.

Adia Onyango and her smoothie challenge.

Adia Onyango cycling in snow.

Determined to succeed!
Above photos by Adia Onyango (Facebook)

While not realizing the full extent of her influence, Adia encouraged a number of players to make changes in their overall view of nutrition and fitness. In addition, she constantly supports local chess players in their own initiatives and has been a constant support of young talent in the New York area which includes the progress of girls. Back in her ancestral home of Kenya, she has maintained ties with the chess community and is supportive of the Diaspora that resides in U.S. In essence, Adia is a galvanizing force that is badly needed in a sport that has been wrecked by divisive politics, bickering and confusion. So in commemoration of her latest accomplishment of becoming an “Expert,” we salute you!

Daaim Shabazz with Kenyans at 2014 Millionaire Chess Open. Pictured from left to right are: Akollo Odundo, James Apiri, Adia Onyango, Daaim Shabazz, Mbugua Bo Githoro and Collins Apiri. Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Kenya Kenya Kenya

2015 Millionaire Open:Adia Onyango, Stacey Moore and Alisa Melekhina
flanking Maurice Ashley and Amy Lee.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz with Adia Onyango at the 2015 Millionaire Chess Open.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Adia Onyango showing one of her games at 2016 World Open.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz


  1. Great info as usual, she is a good playerr and adds value to the chess community as a whole ,
    keep the beat going!

  2. Congrats Adia on becomin my first Ultramodern Female Expert! maybe ill train Diamond next!!! Oh Daaim if u see a Buffalonian who practice the White Mannish Chess (Ultrathanks Rochelle!) tell them we not goin to wait till i pass away then come on here and start sayin “Nice Sounding Things” about ULTRAMODERNISM. The young people who chose to compete aroudn the world need to know now and have possiblie access to ULTRAMODERNISM which is our own understanding of chess. Once we gone we cant do much for them at that point , right? So we Learnin right now, IN REAL LIFE, oh Chesdrummas Adia KNOWS UM FUNNIE LIKE THIS – TRUE GENIUS IS ALWAYS SIMPLE!!! ULTRAMODERNIST.

    1. hahaha funny stuff, actually John shes smarter than every chessplaya in N.Y. since shes an ULTRAMODERNIST!!! (Daaim dont read this man u gunna think UM KTAZY like Tate!!! lmbao).

      1. You are tate-ish and I saw her at the chicago open last year, in a difficult game but crushed this guy when I came back to look!!!!

  3. Adia this Brotha Shabazz created this site to point out the accomplishments of those of African descent so how come u havent told him that ULTRMODERNISM is the BEST? ULTRAMODERNIST.

  4. CHESS’SCUESME a moment drummas, Daaim if u see Nakamura around plz tell him that UM still the ULTRAMODERNIST i just saw him on him and trickie IM yaacovn i recall them from the ICC from 1998-2008 when i wuz on that site smashin their gms over there. Adia UM on, the traditionalist practicin my funny knight trick do u think they learnin anything yet? They tell me in Buffalo that Dlugy and the guys still learnin . UM at the Library on Jefferson tryna learn a lil something about chesss right now myself. . oh if anyone see Nathan Jackson in NYC tell him to tell falafelbackgammon to comeback to chess we seein a ghost in the chess world!(Im Yaacovn dont read this man! lol falfel knows UM KTAZY!!!) Buffalonians? ULTRAMODERNIST.

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