Jennifer Shahade is a true renaissance woman: a chess champion, author, commentator and semi-professional poker player. A two-time American Women’s Chess Champion and the editor of the website Chess Life, her first book - Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport - intertwines her own story with that of great women chess champions past and present. PokerStars is proud to have her as a Mind Sports Ambassador.
Jennifer often performs simultaneous chess exhibitions in which she plays up to 50 people at once, in locations as various as Shanghai, China, Soweto, South Africa and a Girl Scouts’ convention in Los Angeles. She continues to explore the connections between chess and culture as a board member of the World Chess Hall of Fame in Saint Louis.
A serious poker player, Jennifer has become an authority on the card game Open Face Chinese Poker. She won the first Open Face High Roller Championship in Prague for her largest ever live cash, placed 62nd out of over 2,300 players in the 2013 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, and 31st out of over 1,000 in the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event. Jennifer is also a coach at the poker training website Run It Once, while her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Games Magazine, Cardplayer Magazine, and Chess Life Magazine, for which she is the web editor.
Jennifer is also an advocate of promoting women in poker and chess. She has spoken at various conferences specifically targeted at women, held interactive poker seminars to teach beginners poker, and has hosted successful podcasts. She has taken a leading role in many events including at PokerStars Women’s Day events where gender and diversification in gaming has been discussed, debated and celebrated. Jennifer is a constant advocate for women in the game, and is always thinking of ways to bring new players into poker.
In 2007, Jennifer and Jean Hoffman founded 9 Queens, a non-profit organization that provides chess instruction to those most in need of its benefits, especially girls and at-risk youth. All the author royalties from her latest book project, Play Like a Girl! Tactics by 9 Queens, go to 9 Queens initiatives. Jennifer currently leads classes at Philadelphia 9 Queens Chess Academies in conjunction with ASAP (After Schools Activities Partnerships).