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African-American girl blazing a trail through chess
Rochelle Ballantyne moved closer to her goal of becoming the first African-American chess master in history this week.
October 26th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

African-American girl blazing a trail through chess

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

(CNN) – Rochelle Ballantyne plays chess the same way she walks through the streets of New York, determined to reach her goal without letting any obstacles slow her down.

The 17-year-old student from Brooklyn is just a few wins away from becoming the first female African-American to attain the ranking of chess master.

"I've never been the first anything so having that title next to my name is going to... it's going to feel amazing."

She crushes her opponents in a sport dominated by men.

Ballantyne grew up in a single-parent home in the working class neighborhood of East Flatbush. She first learned to play chess from her grandmother, who didn't want Rochelle's background to limit or prevent her from reaching her fullest potential. Ballantyne did not disappoint.

"When I push myself, then nothing can stop me."

Listen to the story on CNN Radio's Soundwaves blog

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Filed under: Black in America • Education • Girls • Who we are
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Peggy Munro

    Congratulations! Now that's a story worth sharing.

    November 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jorge

    Amazing, I can imagine that being beaten at the table by such a pretty girl would take most of the sting out of it, too. It would put a heck of a smile on MY face.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. sh

    Go girl!

    October 28, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Waltsp

    Good job. Go get'm kid

    October 28, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |