Brooklyn chess champion Jessica Hyatt who was recently awarded a $40,000 college scholarship is set to rewrite history as the first African American female chess master.
Jessica Hyatt sits comfortably as one of the top 10 Black female chess players in New York
“I play whenever I get the chance, like in my free time, like during my classes, like sometimes during classes,” Jessica said.
It takes lots of practice for the chess champ who invests five to seven hours a day.
According to CBS New York, you need to achieve a rating of 2,200 to become a chess master. Jessica is at 1,950.
The site also spoke to her coaches, who are both National Masters, the highest level in the U.S.
Tyrell Harriott started coaching Jessica five years ago.
“I learned the game when I was 15, so for Jessica to be at 1,950, that’s a huge edge,” he said.
She’s a sophomore at Success Academy, which has an incredible chess program.
David Mbonu, also a National Master, remembers the first time he met Jessica, who’s normally very quiet.
“The first thing she did right around when class was over is she walked up to me and she was like, ‘Can I play you?’ and I remember, I was like, ‘oh,’” he said.
He says she’s very close to making history.
“There has never been a female Black player to break the master ranking and that’s what Jessica is going for,” Mbonu said.
Jessica made headlines after winning the Daniel Feinberg Success in Chess Award, which comes with a $40,000 college scholarship.
Because of the pandemic, she now has to play online but is determined as ever, and her mom, Loy Allen, is hoping other young children, especially children of color, will be inspired by her daughter’s story.
“If your kid’s passionate enough about it, have them go for it because the sky’s the limit, right?” Allen said.
Alongside her dreams of becoming a chess master, Jessica would like to attend MIT and plans on teaching chess to children in her community, the site reports.