Rochelle Ballantyne on chess career, new path

Rochelle Ballantyne has come a long way since starring in “Brooklyn Castle.” In a recent article on, she reflects on her journey including the trials and tribulations. She also discusses her path in which she managed tough decisions about chess and her career. After earning a Master’s in Education Policy from Colombia and a law degree from New York University, the newly-licensed attorney has decided to carve out a niche as an advocate and litigator for the underprivileged.

Rochelle Ballantyne at Stanford
Rochelle at Stanford University

She gives her view on the landscape of the chess community:

I think another thing that I would change is there are too many people in leadership positions that are antiquated. Many people who seriously play chess are under the age of 30. If that’s the case, that means the people in leadership positions should have ideas that cater to that population. You want more women in chess, but you don’t have women on your board? You want more Black and Brown people in chess, but you don’t have those people on your board? Are we going into more low-income communities to talk to community leaders so they can identify talent that can be nurtured and fostered? I just cannot conceptualize anything changing if folks don’t let go of that power and pass it on to people who are just as dedicated and have new ideas they could bring to the field.

~Rochelle Ballantyne

Incidentally, there is a newly-formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee in U.S. Chess Federation discussing issues of access. In the U.S. Chess Board of Directors, there is also an increasingly diverse presence. One of the issues with underserved communities is their lack of involvement at the lower levels of leadership such as the state board or as a state delegate. The numbers are few. Perhaps that will begin to change with more advocacy work.

Rochelle at the 2014 Millionaire Chess Open in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

12 Years Later Brooklyn Castle Star, Now Lawyer, Reflects On The Chess World!

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