Black Chess Champion Earns $40,000 College Scholarship

Success Academy's Jessica Hyatt has earned the prestigious Daniel Feinberg Success in Chess Award. The high school sophomore will now have $40,000 available to her when she is ready to head off to college.

Hyatt is widely known throughout her school and New York neighborhood as an avid chess player. On average, the teenager player dedicates five to seven hours per day to playing the board game. To earn the prestigious "grandmaster" moniker, players must earn a rating of 2,3000 or higher. Thus far, Hyatt has earned a rating of 1,950.

“I play whenever I get the chance, like in my free time, like during my classes, like sometimes during classes,” Hyatt said.

Tyrell Harriott and David Mbonu have devoted their time to training and mentoring the young, talented player. The two are national chess masters and know true talent when they see it. Harriott and Mbonu said that Hyatt had an eye for the game as young girl in the nation's biggest city.

“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,'” Mbonu said.

“There has never been a Black woman player to break the master ranking and that’s what Jessica is going for.”

Hyatt is not done yet. With three years left until she heads off to college, the teenager will continue to pursue history and become the first Black woman to break the grandmaster barrier.

Photo: Getty Images

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