Go, Dyhemia Young

From Maria L. La Ganga’s story in the L.A. Times:

Reporting from East Palo Alto, Calif. — Dyhemia Young left for Lubbock, Texas, with a black eye — compliments of a girl at her East Palo Alto group home — and returned the proud recipient of a chess scholarship worth $40,000.

Along the way, the 15-year-old from the wrong side of San Francisco, who could not have made it to a prestigious chess tournament without the kindness of strangers, became a nationally rated player.

“My journey here, it was tough, because I had a lot of situations going on at home,” she said tearfully after her first win, Game 3 of the six-game Susan Polgar Girls’ Invitational.

The tournament takes place each year at Texas Tech University, drawing the top-rated girl from each state. Polgar, the first woman to earn the title of grandmaster, also issues two “wild card” invitations to gifted players who haven’t traveled the pricey road of official competition.

Dyhemia, who has spent the last three years in and out of foster care, received one of the wild card bids. But when Adisa Banjoko, her chess mentor, called in June with the good news, Dyhemia had disappeared.

It took nearly a month and the help of a San Francisco police detective to locate Dyhemia; after a short stint in juvenile hall, she had ended up in the teen home.



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