by Debbie Monterrey

I was at the Whitaker Urban Evening Series in North St. Louis, hanging out at the Grace Hill tent, when a young lady walked up and introduced herself to me.

“Hi, I’m Diamond Shakoor and I am your Missouri State Chess champion!” Then she handed me her resume, which included almost a full page of her 1st place finishes at competitions around the country.

At the age of 8, Diamond became the youngest African-American female in history to be undefeated at Chess Nationals, and she hasn’t stopped since.

Diamond is confident, well-spoken and clearly, extremely intelligent. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. I asked her what I could do for her.

“I really need a sponsor,” she replied. To get to the Chicago Class Chess Championships next week, she need $900 for entry fees, food, hotel, transportation, etc.

Help her out at

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