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AMPLIFY Chess Masters Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Jun 1, 2021
Winners Announced
Jul 2, 2021
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners

Chess has had an immense impact on my life. I grew up spending my weekends at an 8x8 board. I read more chess books than novels. I started so early that I don’t even remember learning the rules. 

For better or worse, I quit by the time I was 12 and haven’t played competitively since. Yet, it was only recently that I recognized the impact of this game on my life.

Chess is an incredible source of imagination. It is so vast and complex that people can play for decades and continue to learn. It is a game of analysis and forethought. Each move is both an action and a reaction. And while there are rarely “correct” moves, each match teaches you how to operate under uncertainty and lack of full control. The board is the equalizer.

As Susan Polgar says, “Chess is a miniature version of life. To be successful, you need to be disciplined, assess resources, consider responsible choices, and adjust when circumstances change.”

People often think that chess masters are born as such. But the reality is that no one starts as a chess master. They work hard, study, and become a student of the game. They learn that chess isn’t just about aggression, but tactical progression, while mitigating risk. They learn approaches (openings) that work best for them and study their opponents. They learn to win. 

“Every chess master was once a beginner.” – Irving Chernev

I think many of the same lessons can be applied to life. Taking on new problems -- some familiar and some completely new -- and learning to tackle them better each time. Perhaps that’s why so many of my childhood competitors have gone onto impressive pastures, from working in venture capital to becoming a famous Twitch streamer.

The scholarship is open to chess players of any level. 

This scholarship is part of a 12-part Amplify Scholarship Series, spanning topics including women in tech, continuous learning, environmental science, and more. These scholarships are announced quarterly and awarded monthly throughout 2021. Follow along here!

Selection Criteria:
Published February 1, 2021
Essay Topic

“You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win. You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player.” – José Raúl Capablanca

What have you learned from playing chess and how do you hope to utilize those learnings to achieve your goals? Please be specific and focus on achievable goals that you are already working toward.

100–750 words

Winning Application

Serena Dalton
Southeastern UniversityKansas City, MO
Victory was always more important than a cheesy medal or trophy. As the only girl in my elementary school's chess club, it meant proving that a girl could be just as strategic, analytical, and swift as a boy. It meant leading the way for other female chess players. Being the only girl in the chess club all those years ago laid the groundwork for the life of strong, female leadership I now lead. I have become a varsity tennis player, where I have used my mental strategy than physical skill. I have become a varsity speech and debater, where I have had to think three steps ahead before every word I say. I have become the class of 2022 National Honor Society president at my high school, where I work with my fellow female officers to lead hundreds of students in community service projects in the Kansas City metropolitan area. I have become a seasoned cellist, where I have utilized discipline and focus. I acquired each and every one of these skills through my younger years of rigorous competitive chess. I do not believe I would have achieved these goals had I not gained the invaluable skillset used in every game of chess. As for my future, I will quite easily use the tools chess has taught me. As an attorney, I will have to be analytical and strategic on a constant basis, just like chess. The compromises that occur in settlements will be much like the compromises made in chess when a knight is traded for a bishop. I will begin as a pawn, or an associate, with the hope of completing a successful journey to become a queen, or a judge. Overall, everything I have achieved and have yet to achieve can be broken down into a game of chess and can derive from the fundamental skills grown in every game. It is especially evident how chess played a major role in my confidence as a female leader and in my abilities to strategize and analyze.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 1, 2021. Winners will be announced on Jul 2, 2021.

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