Help Little Luv Achieve Big Chess Dreams

Help Little Luv Achieve Big Chess Dreams

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Imagine a jolly, little girl living peacefully in Kyiv, Ukraine. She enjoys school, frolicking with her friends, and going to the chess club. Early in 2022, she competes in her first chess tournament where she gets her first Ukrainian norm and shows a fighter character. She wins the last two rounds against boys twice her age. That tournament would also be her last in Ukraine.

The little girl’s life is shattered on the night of February 24, 2022, when her family is awakened by a bomb explosion next door. She spends the next few weeks hiding in her building’s basement for safety before temporarily relocating to the west of Ukraine. She is six years old at the time and her name is Liubov (Luba) Shtepa.

Luba’s passion for chess has been abruptly and viciously put on hold …

Fortunately, Luba arrived in Canada to live with a host in May 2022, together with her family (joined much later by her father). Once settled into a new life, the girl rediscovered her love for chess by attending various events. She even met Hikaru Nakamura who further mesmerized Liubov into the game.

Luba inspired by Hikaru Nakamura at the Chess In The Park, October 2022.

Ignited, Shtepa competed in various tournaments, as of January 2023, with great results, and won the Ontario Provincial Chess Championship U8.

Her dream? "To be the World Chess Champion! And the first step is to become Canada's champion and represent my new home in the world championship," says Luba. She trains every day for at least two hours with her father, who is a strong player, and her online coach, IM Valeriy Grinev. "A strategic thinker and a curious, quick learner with excellent memory, Luba has a great future in chess,” says Valeriy.  

This July, Luba has the opportunity to represent Ontario at the Canadian Youth Chess Championship in Calgary, Alberta. But, to realize this dream, Luba’s family needs financial support to pay for the trip. This is where YOU, dear chess friends, can help! Because such tournaments matter in a young girl’s life. Because the chess community wants to welcome more girls and women into the game but struggles to attract and retain them. (Here is our chance!) Because girls who play chess are a much-needed inspiration to other girls. Because Luba’s life has already taken a beating from the war, but you can now sweeten it by supporting her endeavors. Because that's what humans do - help each other.

Please click here to contribute what you can and support Luba's chess journey.

Liubov, in Ukrainian, means “love”.  And today, more than ever, the world needs more love, peace and care!

Thank you!

Luba gets her first Ukrainian chess norm - четвёртый разряд. February 13, 2022.

Former Canadian Girls Chess Champion (1999 tied for 1st, 2001 1st place)

Busy mom of two

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