Tag Archives: #SPTW

As part of its drive to support the take up of chess by women and girls, the club was pleased to host another She Plays To Win (SPTW) event in conjunction with International Master Lorin D’Costa during the February half-term. The event was made up of two 5 round Swiss-paired tournaments: one for FIDE rated players and one for Chess Scotland (CS) rated players. David Deary was Chief Arbiter and general support was provided by Jenny Wilson and Ian Whittaker.

Support was also provided by Chess Scotland.

Jenny kindly provided this event report:

Going into the fifth and final round of the FIDE rated She Plays to Win Invitational tournament at Edinburgh Chess Club on Wednesday, four of the eight players were on 2.5 out of five, making for an interesting pairing. The young women playing were all of a very similar rating and there had been many draws in the earlier rounds.

The computer decided that none of the joint leaders would be paired with each other, so there were many result combinations that could lead to a tie for first place. In the end Florence was the only one of the four to win her game and so was clear in the top spot. There was a tie for second place between Angharad and the unbeaten Elyzabeta, but Angharad had a better tiebreak so received the second place trophy.


In the CS graded section Shirya took first place with half a point lead over Maggie, and Melinda was a point behind her in third place.

Not only did the players have the opportunity to go through their own games with IM Lorin D’Costa, they could sit in on his analysis of the other games too. Despite the intense rivalry across the board the atmosphere of the tournament was friendly and supportive. There were players from primary and secondary school, University and beyond, and several different countries represented.

All the games from both sections are available to download

She Plays To Win is a UK Girls Chess Project to try and encourage more girls to participate and learn chess in a fun environment. SPTW is run by the current England International Women’s Chess Coach Lorin D’Costa who has successfully been coaching girls’ chess nationally and internationally for over 11 years.

[Pictures by Jenny Wilson and Ian Whittaker]


A highly entertaining talk by IM Lorin D’Costa was given to club members and visitors on Tuesday night – for over 2 hours! – illustrated with some fantastic attacking games by GMs Magnus Carlsen and Judit Polgar!

The games were used to present various themes:

  1. Carlsen, Magnus vs Blomqvist, Eric (2001: C79) illustrated how a very youthful Magnus pounced on an early Ruy Lopez opening deviation by a young Erik (who was himself later to become a Swedish Grand Master) opening up the position and attacking before black castled;
  2. Carlsen, Magnus vs Domatov, Sergey (2004: A04) where Magnus again energetically responded to an early weak opening move by his opponent, a Russian Grand Master and former World Junior Chess Champion;
  3. Pantsulaia, Levan vs Polgar, Judit (2011: A13) where, after a premature queen move by her opponent in the opening, Judit sacrificed a rook establishing an immensly powerful central bishop preventing white from castling and enabling her to then launch a crushing attack;
  4.  Hracek, Zbynek vs Polgar, Judit (2000: B48) after optimistic play by the Czech GM, Judit energetically countered with sharp play fisrt with a pawn sacrifice opening up one long diagonal then opening up another long diagonal for an overwhelming attack on white’s king!

Lorin interspersed his analysis of the games with some entertaining war stories and with generlous amounts of advice, such as to remember LPDO (Loose Pieces Drop Off – accredited by Lorin in the talk to Paul Motwani – whereas in a recent blog Paul credits it to John Nunn – but who cares!?).

After extensive replies to many questions from the audience an appreciative vote of thanks was given by President Raj Bhopal:


The European Chess Union reports (again!) on last year’s She Plays To Win (SPTW) IM Norm event ….

A further report on the IM Norm event that the club hosted last year as part of our bicentenary celebrations appeared in the recent issue of the ECU’s E-Magazine:

ECU E-Magazine December 2023, Pg16
ECU E-Magazine December 2023, Pg17

Coincidentally this was issued just as we’re about to host another SPTW Scottish Invitational event at the club for girls and women in February 2024.

We currently have 10 players signed up and, with a maximum capacity of 20 players, there is space for more entrants.  If you have a FIDE rating please do get in touch with IM Lorin D’Costa (sheplaystowinuk @ gmail.com).

There is no entry fee, but players are liable of course for costs of travel and accommodation etc.



Wednesday 15th To Sunday 19th February 2023

As part of its bicentenary celebrations Edinburgh Chess Club is hosting the “She Plays To Win” (SPTW) chess tournament, being organised by International Master Lorin D’Costa, promoting the attainment of Woman International Master (WIM) norms.

This is an invitational 10 player WIM all-play-all (double rounds at 10am and 3pm with on Sunday one final game).  There is a stellar international competitors list:






Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant

Edinburgh based Grand Master Ketevan (Keti) Arakhamia-Grant, is one of Scotland’s leading players having participated in eleven chess Olympiads representing first USSR, then Georgia and finally Scotland and who has won the Scottish Open Championship 3 times

Two of Slovakia’s top women players: Woman International Master (WIM) Svetlana Sucikova, currently undertaking her research work in Scotland, and Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Monika Rojickova




Svetlana Sucikova

Fiona Steil-Antoni

Luxembourg WIM chess player, chess YouTube streamer and commentator Fiona Steil-Antoni
Dutch WFM Maaike Keetman, who is also vice president of content (and author!) for Chessable

Maaike Keetman







Louise Head           Zoe Varney           Kamila   Hryshchenko

A strong contingent of English players including WFM and English Women’s Chess Champion (in 2017, 2019 and 2021) Louise Head, who is currently undertaking her doctorate at Edinburgh University, along with Kamila Hryshchenko, who was part of the GB team at the World Congress of Chess Composition 2022 in Fujairah, and Woman Candidate Master (WCM) Zoe Varney, who was the English U20 Woman Champion in 2019


From Andorra WFM Andrea Henderson De La Fuente is competing




Andrea Henderson De La Fuente


                                                                  Suzie Cooke


Last but not least is Suzie Cooke who is also one of Scotland’s top players and who represented Scotland at the recent Olympiads in Chennai

We have the pairings now for the tournament and the first-round draw is:

The remaining draw can be found at (see https://chess-results.com/tnr718264.aspx?lan=1&art=2).

A FIDE all-play-all Challengers event is also being run in parallel with players from England, India and Scotland.  Arbiters are International Arbiter Alex McFarlane and FIDE Arbiter David Clayton.

The event is also being supported by Chess Scotland.

SPTW is a UK Girls Chess Project to try and encourage more girls to participate and learn chess in a fun environment.  SPTW is run by the current England International Women’s Chess Coach Lorin D’Costa who has successfully been coaching girls’ chess nationally and internationally for over 11 years.

Further details are on both the club’s web site (www.edinburghchessclub.co.uk) and Chess Scotland’s web site (www.chessscotland.com/).



As part of its bicentenary celebrations the club, along with International Master Lorin D’Costa (from “She Plays To Win”), held a chess weekend on September 3rd and 4th in support of women and girls in chess.

There were a number of events at the club’s premises over the weekend including: scheduled training sessions for both beginners and experts, 5-round female-only tournament(s) (15 mins each on the clock), simultaneous displays with Lorin and other chess experts. There were over twenty-five attendees over the weekend.

Saturday started in the morning with Lorin running a beginner’s class before everyone engaged in some stimulating group-based exercises.

After lunch Lorin explained to the beginners how games were played with a clock before running a five round allegro tournament.

Joint winners of the SPTW Saturday afternoon tournament, Hayley and Yvonne, being presented with their trophies by IM Lorin D’Costa.

In the Saturday evening simul Lorin took on twelve opponents, which included WIM Svetlana Sucikova and WFM Suzie Cooke together with some token male players. Lorin wiped out the opposition – except for Suzie who held the fort in her game!

There was a great turnout for Lorin’s Sunday morning training session with fantastic drop-in support from GM Keti Arakhamia-Grant, WIM Svetlana Sucikova and WFM Louise Head!

In the afternoon an allegro tournament was held for everyone.

This produced some exciting chess with Pavlo Sokolenko, from Ukraine, emerging as the eventual winner – closely followed by his mother Olga Sokolenko in second place! The training day gave some useful practice for Flossie Wilson before she headed off to Romania to represent Scotland at the World Youth Chess Championships the next day.

The event was supported by Edinburgh Chess Academy, Chess Scotland and Lothians Junior Chess.

She Plays To Win (SPTW) is a UK Girls Chess Project to try and encourage more girls to participate and learn chess in a fun environment. SPTW is run by the current England International Women’s Chess Coach Lorin D’Costa who has successfully been coaching girls’ chess nationally and internationally for over 11 years.