Monday, August 24, 2009

Top Ten Questions continued... for the last two!

9. What's it like being a female in the chess field?
Hmmm...that's another tough one. Why? Because even though chess is dominated mostly by men, it's one of the only sports (see question 1) that is, for the most part, indiscriminate towards women (other than women's titles, and women's sections in certain tournament). When I play, I may get a bit more publicity than the average player, but I don't really feel out of place. Chess has so much wonderful talent and people, and almost everyone makes you feel welcome, no matter what gender you are.
In addition, when I teach/volunteer, I see a lot of boys AND girls with a lot of potential. The only thing that may prevent the girls from excelling like the boys is their feeling of attachment towards their friends and family, and shyness around others. I've noticed that a lot of girls will only enter events/tournaments if a friend or relative goes with them, and will ultimately change interests/quit chess because their friends/relatives decide that chess is not the right area to pursue. That's why it's so important to build a support base in the game, and fight the stereotype that chess is a game for males only.

10. Why aren't you playing now, and what are your future plans in chess?
I haven't been playing recently because I have other priorities to deal with. After my illness a few years ago, I've always had to "catch up" with my life. I have to try a bit harder with my academics, reconnect with past contacts, and relearn some chess theory. As I mentioned earlier, my teachers weren't too thrilled to hear about my trip to the Olympiad, so I had to try that much harder when I returned, hence the first reason why I didn't play in tournaments during the school year.
By the spring, my CFC membership expired, and I had to decide whether or not to renew it. Unfortunately, I've become very hesitant with my money as university approaches. Tournament fees themselves end up costing more than some textbooks, even without considering the time/money spent travelling to the rather inconvenient locations (inconvenient for me, maybe not for others...the locations themselves are great, just far away). Maybe it's because I took a course in finance, where the class is constantly reminded to take care of every penny! However, even without considering the dollar aspect, university requires a lot of paperwork and planning, which all add up in time. If only we had more than 24 hours in a day!
Though it seems I'm not involved in chess at the moment, don't get the idea that I'm doing nothing. I teach and volunteer in chess-related activities up to 6 days a week (thank God for Monday a.k.a. my only rest day = today!), and I helped out at the chess club in my school almost everyday at lunch.
In terms of future plans, they're not so clear to me right now, but I know I'll continue to play, teach, and volunteer somewhere down the road, especially after I graduate. I'll look for a chess club on campus, and I already have a friend at Laurier who wants me to teach her. Other than that, I'm open to see where my life takes me, and what opportunities it brings!

I hope that answers most if not all of the questions you've had of me, or at least now you know me a little more! - HAZEL

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