The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute was founded by Pitt student Ashley Lynn Piore when she was just a freshman in high school.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The game of chess is growing in popularity as more people are at home for family game night.

The game’s popularity also soared after the popular Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit.” KDKA’s Kym Gable learned a local non-profit organization that bears the same name was founded long before the show’s debut.

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The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute was founded by Pitt student Ashley Lynn Priore when she was a freshman in high school.

“We’re so excited that chess is seeing this boom again,” said Priore.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The name “Queen’s Gambit” is actually a chess move itself.

“You sacrifice something early on to gain something later on, and I felt like that is my story because people thought I was crazy to start a nonprofit at that age,” Priore said.

Priore said she and her team are dedicated to providing quality chess programming to Pittsburgh’s youth. She is particularly focused on inspiring and empowering young women and girls. Priore is a respected chess player and award-winning competitor.

KDKA’s Kym Gable asked her about the Netflix show.

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“When we think about women and girls in chess, it’s not as easy as Beth (Harmon) makes it look like in the series. It’s hard, and so many women have tried to pave the way,” she said.

Priore feels rewarded as she guides children down their own paths.

“And so we teach people how to play chess, but then apply those teachings to their own lives and think about civic engagement, what it means to actually be in Pittsburgh. What’s your neighborhood, your community like? And they take those skills and … come up with a solution,” Priore said.

The organization has been conducting courses and events online during the pandemic, but Priore is eager to get those chess boards out in person and on location soon.

“So many of the students we work with have really hard home lives. They have so many worries, or they’re in poverty or they don’t know what’s next. And so chess, because it’s this game you can play and physically hold the pieces, they have control over something.”

To learn more about The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute, click here.

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