Greg Serper is a Grand Master of chess. He was born in Tashkent, in the former Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union (present Uzbekistan). At age 6, he learned to play chess from his grandfather. In 1985, at age 16, he started studies at Moscow's famous Botvinnik-Kasparov Chess School. During his military service in Novosibirsk, he attended the 27th World Junior Chess Championship held in 1988 in Australia. In this strong tournament, Serper took 3rd place with same score as his opponents Lautier, Ivanchuk, and Gelfand. In 1992, as a member of the Uzbekistan team, Serper won the silver medal in the 30th Chess Olympiad. In 1996, he moved with his family to the United States. In 1999, Serper won the World Open tournament and advanced to the finals of the U.S. Chess Championship.
Serper says, "I have many female students and I can see firsthand how goal-oriented they are! Not only do they win the national and international titles, they also want to make a difference. Shifa Somji's Chess4Girls has nailed the problem. I am happy that the new generation prefers to identify the problem and fix it rather than hide behind a fig leaf of political correctness. The big change is coming!"
Naomi Bashkansky, 13, has the title of Woman FIDE Master. She began playing chess when she was 5, having learned how to play from her then 10 year old brother and from her parents. Most recently, Naomi won first place in the World School Chess Championship held in Sochi, Russia in the Girls Under 13 section. Among both boys and girls, she tied for 3rd in the US Nationals K-8.
Naomi says, "I definitely see girls stopping playing chess after elementary school. Out of all the girls who were my age as I played chess throughout the years, as far as I know, I'm the only one who hasn't completely stopped playing. Chess4Girls is a worthwhile effort to move the needle and encourage girls to continue playing chess."