jump to navigation

Missing Vegas Already, in Photos July 17, 2013

Posted by Administrator in : art,poker,travel,Uncategorized , add a comment

I fell in love with Vegas harder this year and felt emotional leaving after weeks in town, when I was supposed to be tired of it. I’ll miss the soft desert light and the random conversations with brilliant strangers and friends. My first piece on the WSOP, about Open Face action & strategy is up on the PokerStars blog. And now for some visuals:

I was flattered by how well-prepared the gorgeous Sarah Grant was for this PokerNews interview with me.

The no-frills Riviera Hotel was the site of the 2013 National Open, where we interviewed Amanda Mateer, among others, for USChess.

Daniel and I also shot a video for Poker Fairy Tale featuring Katie Stone, founder of the Grindettes and highstakes mixed game pro Melissa Burr. Some stills from the day:

Melissa inspired me to become more serious about Open Face Poker, so it was a trip highlight to leave the Aria Open Face tournament with her triumphantly. We chopped the marathon overnight affair along with a few others.

Unfortunately, the WSOP Open Face tournament did not go as well.

As for the big one…

A few more happy photos from Vegas:

No Longer Afraid of Turbulence May 24, 2013

Posted by Administrator in : Uncategorized , add a comment

I expected this mother’s day to be hard, but I calmly deleted dozens of FTD emails that came to my email box and smiled when I saw my beautiful mother’s face popping up on a facebook reminder to “buy her a gift.”

Considering how close I was with my mom, I was shocked by how little pain I felt after her death this January, and by how easily I was able to return to normal life, work and fun.

She would have wanted it that way. More than anyone I ever met, my mother detested funerals and other formal events like graduations. Though she was not rich, she would rather cut a check for the expenses of a funeral for a friend in need than to formally confront a subject that she felt made life less fun: dying.

My mom was so good at life, she didn’t have a whole lot of time to think about death. I’m a bit more morbid. Here are some of the surprising things I learned about myself, life, love and death through her sudden and premature departure.

1. Death gave me a chance to feel Love is Not Linear: Time is linear, but love is not. When my mother died, I cried myself to sleep that night and couldn’t get out of bed the next morning. I thought it may be like that for weeks. The next day I leaped out of bed, rather to attack the mountain of work that comes with the death of a loved one. In the weeks that came, I tried to figure out why a daughter so close to her mom could start smiling, eating, giving chess lectures, playing poker, drinking with friends so quickly. I realized that as cheesy as it sounds, I hadn’t really lost a mother. I still had a great mom, I just couldn’t call her anymore.

2. Atheism Didn’t Hurt Me: I thought the optimistic line of thought described above was reserved for the religious, who may believe that they’ll actually get a chance to see the departed again. I identify as Jewish but don’t really believe in god and do not think I will ever be able to hug or see my mom again, except in dreams. And yet I still felt immediate solace that she lingers on in her work- she was one of the first female chemistry professors at Drexel University, and founded a program to bring cutting edge science equipment to under-funded Philadelphia schools. Mom was always so devoted to gender and racial equality and I love this drawing, which a student drew after one of her grand displays of chemistry experiments to schoolchildren.

Her friends and family will always remember her “open door policy”, her seemingly boundless generosity and her passion for sports and cooking.

I felt like a different person right after her death and I think I instantly became more like her. At least the guests at her wake said my rendition of her coconut custard pie tasted more like something Sally would make than my own notorious cooking.

3. I’m no Longer Afraid of Dying, Especially on Planes: My mom hated flying and always wanted me to call her after landing. A couple months after her death, I was on a particularly turbulent flight and realized that I was far less afraid of dying than before, both on that plane and in general. One of my biggest nightmares before mom’s death was perishing in some freak accident and then imagining my mother finding out about it. No longer a problem! This may sound twisted & morbid (sorry dad!), but this lighter feeling is not all bad.

4. I’m lucky have Greg: It’s great if you have the same thoughts on death, money, property and other related issues as your siblings. Since that’s nearly impossible, it’s good to get along so that when disagreements arise, you can deal without resentment and with love. I was never more grateful for my friendship with my brother than after the death of my mother. My dad was also great- we were all so proud to see over a hundred girls participate in the Dr. Sally Solomon Memorial chess tournament held at Drexel this April.

5. I’ll Say Something Next Time: I was so happy about the outpouring of support from friends, co-workers and family, many of whom had never met my mother. Before my mom died, I sometimes debated whether I knew someone well enough to offer condolences, and occasionally decided that approaching the subject may make the person feel uncomfortable. Now I’ll always err on the side of saying something, even if it’s just a stock “my thoughts are with you.” Most people call in the first days or send notes in the first days or weeks, so if you forget, you can be a friend to talk to when there are not as many around.

6. Small Things Didn’t Nag Me: On January 16, I was at a friend’s house just two blocks away from my mom’s place, eating sushi and catching up with my best friends’ lives. We wrapped up around 10. I thought about walking over and saying hi to Mom—she was a nightowl and always liked it when I dropped in unannounced especially when armed with leftover California rolls. I thought again. I was starting to feel a bit sick and I knew Mom had just gotten over a flu, and didn’t want to give her another bug. I went straight home.

My mom died the next day.

One of the things my mom’s death taught me was that it’s not important for everyone to “say goodbye”. I thought the sushi story would bother me for a while, but again, logic prevailed and rather than haunted, I was consoled that I lived in Philadelphia for her final years, and was able to see her so frequently.

As spring finally bloomed, the same friends I met that bitter winter night posited, this time over beers, that my life in games helped me approach the worst event of my life with optimism. There’s no sense in dwelling over a poor chess move or an untimely bluff, especially when you are in the midst of the struggle.

I think mom would have smiled to see how fully I share her belief that life is too short for formalities you don’t believe in, or to play along with grief that you don’t actually feel. I smiled rather than cried thinking of Mom this Mother’s Day and I thank her for passing on to me whatever combination of strength and serotonin made that possible.

Hummus Throwdown Part III March 17, 2011

Posted by Jennifer in : Uncategorized , add a comment

For the third year in a row, I hosted a hummus competition. This year we had a record-setting 11 entries and the best contenders ever.
Some contenders were classic Israeli style creamy with basic ingredients of tahini, chickpea and olive oil, while others pushed the chickpea, adding strong flavors of peppers, feta and even cinnamon.
The winner, Teira, was one of the more creative entries and her jalapeno/red pepper spiced hummus won by a landslide.

She received a $70 gift certificate to the fantastic Israeli restaraunt, Zahav. In Israel, the merits of various neighborhood’s hummus are debated as a matter of local pride. One Israeli guest said that the innovative entries would not fly. Another responded, “That’s what we do in America. We take something classic and add a bunch of junk to it.” If that doesn’t inspire you for Hummus Throwdown Part IV, you should probably just stick with peanut-butter.

Coololoosh video August 9, 2009

Posted by Jennifer in : Uncategorized , add a comment

Check out the music video DimMak Films created for the Israeli hip-hop band, Coololoosh. You can see me dancing in the roof party scene! This video was made for less than the cost of a good mattress, proving that you don’t need a lot of money if you have a good story, and enough charm to get all your friends to work for coffee & doughnuts.

Coolooloosh people of the street music video from DIM mak films on Vimeo.

Chess Scoop July 17, 2009

Posted by Jennifer in : Uncategorized , 4 comments

Duchamp April 15, 2009

Posted by Jennifer in : Uncategorized , 6 comments

On this page, I will add information related to, Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess by Francis M.Naumann and Bradley Bailey, with annotations by me! You can purchase the book here. For the book, I analyzed 15 Duchamp games including: a draw against Tartokower, a win against the great Koltinowski and a draw against Vera Menchik, the first Women’s World Champion, who I profiled in Chess Bitch. You can read more about my initial thoughts on the book and Marcel’s play in an earlier blog on jennifershahade.com and a uschess.org blog. Also check out the video below which I created with Dim Mak Films.The video was inspired by this famous photo of Duchamp playing chess against a naked woman.

If you purchased the book and want to access the animated games by Sabrier, click here, (Username=Chess, Password: ISBN Number for Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess.) For more information about the book go to Francisnaumann.com.



Science-in-Motion August 8, 2008

Posted by Jennifer in : Uncategorized , 2 comments

My mom, a chemistry professor at Drexel University, founded a cool program called Science-in-Motion. SIM, for short, brings top of the line science equipment to Philadelphia public schools that can’t afford it.  This video shows a demonstration she gave at a recent summer camp. The goal of SIM, the show and the video is to get kids excited about science. It works: While waiting for the presentation start, most of the kids were texting or zoning out, but by the end everyone was totally fixated on the show.

I was there to help film and to my surprise, I saw a Girls High student from my 9Queens’ Academies sitting in the second row. There are many cliches about what it means to sit in the first-row, but I think there’s something to be said about the second-row too: enthusiastic but self-conscious about it, and in this case, missing out on the thrill of getting your sneakers drenched in liquid nitrogen.


9 Queens February 18, 2008

Posted by Administrator in : Uncategorized , comments closed

9Queens is a national non-profit that I co-founded with Jean Hoffman in October 2007. Right now we have programs in Tuscon and Philadelphia and also offer workshops and lectures via our "9Q comes to you" program. If you’d like more information than what you see below, please visit our website or email 9queens@gmail.com.

Our Mission: 9 Queens is a national, educational organization that promotes and provides chess education to under-served and under-represented populations, especially girls and at-risk youth. Our mission is to provide all children with equal opportunities to realize their potential and enjoy the benefits of chess education. Through chess, we motivate, empower and engage under-served and under-represented youth to achieve academic and personal success.

About our Name. Although every player begins the game with only one queen, every pawn has the potential to become a queen. In theory, it is possible to transform all 8 pawns into queens, thus creating a position in which there are 9 queens on the board. 9 Queens is a metaphor for the all too often unrealized capacity to empower all children through chess.

9Queens Philadelphia Queens Academy: In Philadelphia, I teach a monthly women’s chess workshops at the Free Library in Philadelphia, sponsored by 9queens and ASAP (After School Activities Partnership.) For a blog on a recent Queens Academy, check out our 9queens blog.


Posted by Administrator in : Uncategorized , comments closed


Posted by Administrator in : Uncategorized , comments closed

Jennifer Shahade is a Philadelphia based writer and gamesplayer. She is a two-time American Women’s Chess Champion (2002, 2004). Her first book, Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport  intertwined her own story with that of great women chess champions past and present. She is also a semi-professional poker player, and placed 17th out of more than 1200 players in the 2007 Ladies World Series of Poker event. She followed this up with placing 33rd out of 1190 in the same event in 2008.

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New In Chess, the L.A. Times, Games Magazine and Chess Life Magazine, for which Jennifer is the web-editor. Jennifer is currently working on her second book, a novel. Shahade also contributed to Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess, which you can purchase here. In conjunction with DimMak Films Shahade created a video, nakedchess, and a video installation, hulachess, both inspired by the book project. 

In 2007, Jennifer Shahade and Jean Hoffman founded 9queens, a non-profit that provides chess instruction to those most in need of its benefits, especially girls and at-risk youth. Throughout her career, Jennifer has made a point of focusing her coaching efforts on girls and the inner-city, starting with her five-years of coaching work with Chess-In-The-Schools in New York. Her work with CIS included starting a Girls’ Academy and three years of training with the Championship Junior High School team, I.S. 318.

Jennifer performs simultaneous exhibitions in which she plays up to 50 people at once, in locations as various as Shanghai, China, Soweto, South Africa and a Girls’ Scout Convention in Los Angeles. Jennifer has also participated in and helped organize events at art galleries and museums, including the Noguchi Museum in Queens, the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, the Viewing Room Gallery in New York, The Philadelphia Fringe Festival and the Psycho-Geography Festival.

You can reach Jennifer at jenshahade@gmail.com.