Jennifer Shahade is an American Woman Grandmaster chess player and a professional poker player who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
She is best known for her books and other work regarding women in chess and poker, along with hosting popular podcasts that explore unique elements of both games.
Jennifer Shahade Biography and Wiki
Jennifer Shahade was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 31, 1980. As mentioned above, she is well-known for her role as a Woman Grandmaster in chess. This interest started at a young age for Shahade, as her father is also a Grandmaster in FIDE (the International Chess Federation). In fact, chess is a bit of a family affair. Along with Shahade’s father, her brother is also an International Master in FIDE.
Very early on in her adult life, Jennifer Shahade excelled in chess. At the age of 18 in 1998, she became the first female winner of the US Junior Open. This helped propel her into the world of pro chess. Only a few years later, she took home the title of the US Women’s Chess Championship.
By 2004, Shahade had taken home her second US Women’s Chess Championship. During that time, she also managed to acquire her second International Master nod, which is a critical component of advancing to the title of Woman Grandmaster. By the next year in 2005, she had earned the title of Woman Grandmaster.
However, Shahade’s participation in the world of chess has diversified significantly since the early 2000s. Today, Shahade is the editor-in-chief of the US Chess Federation website, as well as the co-founder of a chess non-profit called 9 Queens. She also hosts a monthly chess podcast called Ladies Knight on behalf of the US Chess Federation. From 2018 to 2023, she was also a board member of the World Chess Hall of Fame.
Shahade’s mental skills have made her one of the US’s most visible chess Grandmasters. However, her gaming pursuits have also led her to work meaningfully in the world of professional poker. As she began to diversify her interests following years of competing in chess, Shahade shifted toward poker. By 2014, she had gone pro and nabbed a position as a PokerStars MindSports Ambassador.
Similar to chess, Shahade’s speciality and interests in poker have led to her creating tons of unique content. With PokerStars, she recently helped host a Women’s Bootcamp alongside Louise Ulrick. This is designed to help support female poker players and create spaces specifically geared toward them.
However, Shahade’s greatest work in poker might be her podcast, called The Grid. Alongside her husband, Shahade delves into the more technical side of poker. The podcast was launched to explore every single possible hand in the game—but Shahade and company often push into other interesting territory. In 2019, The Grid won the Global Poker Award for Podcast of the Year. However, it often includes interviews and episodes related to chess, too.
As exemplified by Shahade’s time as a chess and poker professional, she isn’t only interested in competing—but also in exploring these games from a more theoretical standpoint. This might be one reason why she has had such success in the podcasting world. Outside of it, however, Shahade is also a publisher of books.
She published three works between 2005 and 2022. In 2005, she published Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport. This book explores the historical and modern implications of female competitors. In 2011, she titled Play Like a Girl!, which covers a variety of tactical positions in chess from some of the world’s top female players. Lastly, in 2022, she published Chess Queens: The True Story of a Chess Champion and the Greatest Female Players of All Time. Like the title suggests, the work is a deep dive into the history of female chess players.
Similarly, Shahade has also published multiple articles with major publications. These include pieces in New In Chess, Chess Life, The New York Times, and the LA Times.