Breaking new ground: The Queen's Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit is a unique, girl-friendly 12-week educational project focusing on gender knowledge and skills development for secondary school girls in Rwanda. This project also involves the study and practice of the game of chess as a learning tool to foster numerous developmental benefits, including advanced critical thinking and mathematics skills, pattern recognition and analysis, and problem solving

New! Check out our short film documenting the first cycle
of The Queen's Gambit in Rwanda!

The Queen's Gambit is one of the oldest known chess openings in the history of the game of chess itself. It was referenced in the Gottingen manuscript of 1490 and was later analyzed by masters such as Gioachino Greco in the seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century it was recommended by Phillip Stamma, and is sometimes known as the Aleppo Gambit in his honour. During the early period of modern chess, queen pawn openings were not in fashion, and the Queen's Gambit did not become common until the 1873 tournament in Vienna. The Queen's Gambit is still frequently played and it remains an important part of many grandmasters' opening repertoires.

Drawing our inspiration from the concept of the queen’s gambit as a grandmaster’s opening move in a game of chess, The Queen’s Gambit, as a capacity building empowerment project for girls, will focus on laying the practical foundation that girls need to make the best strategic moves for themselves in the game of life. The Queen’s Gambit is based on the content and structure of our highly successful cornerstone program, The Uwicyeza Project, but additionally incorporates training and mentoring sessions from chess experts in Rwanda at the close of every workshop, during the process of rolling out the core curriculum.

Following six weeks of basic chess training embedded within our girl-friendly curriculum, the students’ own community projects will also be designed to include the game of chess in some facet to reach out to even more young people in different communities, involving both understanding and playing the game of chess as well as using the game as a learning tool to foster numerous developmental benefits, including improved academic performance. Students are coached and supported by trainers from the Rwanda Chess Federation, working hand in hand with PCI. Upon completion of the project, students participate in a graduation ceremony and a closing chess tournament to promote friendly competition and celebrate their achievements.

One project cycle lasts three months and typically hosts 24 girls. Over the course of 2017, PCI is proud to offer three cycles of The Queen's Gambit to adolescent girls in Rwanda, made possible by the generous support of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Watch The Queen's Gambit in action!