Roads to College


Between Two Paths

We are always telling our students that Chess is a path to help with college expenses. Although this story is about the friendship that developed in college. Rochelle received a scholarship to Stanford University because of her achievements in Chess. This article is shared from Stanford University Athletics. It is awesome to see young ladies of color involved at the highest level in male dominated sports. Stanford’s  media attention to these young ladies indicates to me that there are obviously more scholarships available and more room for talent.

20141130_154048_19353Original Article posted by Stanford Athletics
Courtesy: Mark Soltau
Release: 05/21/2015

STANFORD, Calif. – Mariah Stackhouse didn’t know a pawn from a bishop. Rochelle Ballantyne didn’t know a birdie from a bogey.
But in another only-at-Stanford story, the two excel in golf and chess, respectively, and have forged an unlikely friendship.
Stackhouse, a junior from Riverdale, Georgia, is a two-time first team All-American. As a freshman, she shot a 10-under-par 61 at Stanford Golf Course in the Peg Barnard Invitational, the lowest women’s round in NCAA history. Last summer, Stackhouse helped lead the U.S. to victory against Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup.
Ballantyne, a sophomore from Brooklyn, N.Y., ranks in the 99th percentile of American junior chess players and is striving to become the first African-American to achieve the chess title of “Master.” She also has her own Wikipedia page.
Their first meeting was simple enough, as Stackhouse and Ballantyne met one day on campus.
“Every year, a sophomore or junior can sign up for a little sib — which is someone who comes into the community the next year — and you’re kind of like a friend and mentor to them,” Stackhouse said. “I signed up, and we got paired together. It was a mutual discovery.”
The beauty of their friendship is that neither knew what the other did before they met. Once they found out, they bonded quickly.
“I knew nothing about golf,” said Ballantyne. “She randomly texted me one day and said, ‘You have a Wikipedia page?’ I answered, ‘How did you find out? And you play golf?’
“When we did know these things about each other, it was like, ‘Okay, now when I tell you something, you understand how I feel.’ Even though Mariah doesn’t play chess, she understands how it feels to be on top of your game and how it feels to lose. It’s just a great feeling having a friend who understands those feelings, because not many people at Stanford play chess.”
Even more, Ballantyne went out to watch Stackhouse play golf to get a better understanding for the game.
“Everything is so serene and quiet,” Ballantyne said of her first encounter on the golf course. “I pictured golf to be a certain way, and it was very different from what I imagined. It was still super-cool watching her play and seeing her so focused. It reminded me of how I play chess, not worrying about anything else but my game.”
Stackhouse knew even less about chess.Practicing chess puzzels between rounds
“The extent of my experience was watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” said Stackhouse.
Stackhouse and Ballantyne study together, socialize and have mutual appreciation for each other’s talent. Stackhouse recently played chess against Ballantyne and lost in four moves. Similarly, Ballantyne tried her hand at golf — and it didn’t go well.
“She schooled me in chess, so I wanted my revenge,” said Stackhouse, a two-time class president in high school who is majoring in communication.
While Stackhouse grew up pounding golf balls on the driving range and grooving her swing, Ballantyne played chess every weekend. Stackhouse won more than 100 junior tournaments before enrolling at Stanford, while Ballantyne won the 2012 All-Girls National Chess Championship in ninth grade at age 14, and received a full scholarship to attend Texas. Her triumph was featured in a documentary film called “Brooklyn Castle.”
“My (single) mom was super-happy because she didn’t have to pay for college,” said Ballantyne, the oldest of four children. “I didn’t really want to play chess in college. I wanted to figure out who I was besides chess.”
With no high school chess team to play on, Ballantyne devoted her spare time to community service and coaching elementary school kids. She earned a full academic scholarship to Stanford and is pursuing a double-major in political science and African and American Studies.
“There are not many chess tournaments in California, especially near Stanford,” Ballantyne said. “I usually just wait until I get home and start playing again.”sarah pictures 351
Both share a love for music. “When I’m on the golf course, I always have songs in my head when I’m walking down the fairway,” Stackhouse said. “You can’t spend every second of a five-hour round thinking about golf. Songs automatically take your mind to different places. As I’m approaching my ball, I get back into the zone and start thinking about my next shot.”
Added Ballantyne, “When I play chess, I listen to music. It’s my own little world. Whatever’s on the iPad.”
While Stackhouse has her sights set on winning the NCAA team and individual title, Ballantyne is stuck between a book and a chess board. To become a chess Master, she must compete in world-wide tournaments and they require time and money.
“It’s completely dependent on someone paying for me to play and travel,” said Ballantyne. “I still have school, so it’s like picking and choosing my battles. I still lose sometimes when I play at home, but I’m not gaining anything by playing in those tournaments.”
She has plenty to gain by hanging out with the seemingly always-smiling Stackhouse, who has had a busy winter and spring schedule playing for the Cardinal.
“Which means I never see her,” Ballantyne said.
“On weekends!” said Stackhouse. “I won’t abandon you.”


More Sharing about Chess Scholarships

Please contact the universities for more information.

    • Florida
    • Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University 

A $500.00 yearly Scholarship for the Florida Atlantic scholarship is for the winner of the Florida Chess Association South Regional Championship! (which is limited to students of South Florida). Hawaii

    • Hawaii Pacific University & Chaminade University

State Scholastic Championships in 2002 offered as a special prize $1000 scholarships from Hawaii Pacific University & Chaminade University for each of the top two 12th grade finishers.
Contact State Scholastic Director, Guy P. Ontai

    • Shimer College 

awards a maximum of $2,000 per person per year.  Contact Dr. David Shiner, chess coach, at or 312-235-3538Kentucky

    • Morehead State University, in Morehead

Leadership Award of $4,000 ($1,000 per year, renewable for four years), in coordination with Quad D of the Kentucky Chess Association. This award will give a substantial scholarship to the top-finishing senior in our Quad D Regional Tournament (which is the qualifying tournament for the Kentucky State Team Championships). Carol Becker, Director of Financial Aid, and Rhonda Swim, Technical Director at Morehead State University are directly responsible for facilitating this scholarship. The senior who receives the scholarship does not have to play chess while in college. In fact, MSU may not have a chess team organized for competition.

  • Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge for chess scholarships for the year 2003.
    • McNeese State University, in Lake Charles

The winner of the K-12 section of the 2003 Louisiana Scholastic Chess Championship will win a scholarship to McNeese State University valued at $11,200 provided the following requirements are met:
(1) The winner is currently in the 11th or 12th grade;
(2) The winner has an ACT score of 25 or more;
(3) The winner graduates from High School with a GPA of 3.0. or greater, and
(4) The winner meets all of McNeese State University’s normal requirements for admittance.


The University of Maryland at Baltimore

Three types of four-year Chess Scholarships to UMBC:
–  Chess-Player Scholar (up to full-tuition, room, and board);
–  Special Merit for Chess (up to $10,000 per year);
–  Tournament-Based Awards (up to full tuition)
To apply, simply submit an undergraduate application to UMBC and indicate your interest in chess. More details can be obtained from their website:


    • Ole Miss in Oxford 

Two $500 scholarships for the top girl and top boy winners of the Dexter Visits the 2nd Tiger Scholastic Chess Tournament.

    • Mississippi State University in Starkville

Two $500.00 scholarships for the top boy and girl chess players at the MS State Chess Championships for 2002 and 2003.

    • Jackson State University in Jackson

Two $500.00 scholarships for the top boy and girl chess players at the MS State Chess Championships for 2002 and 2003. They get to choose their college!New Mexico

    • The University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque

A $1500 yearly scholarship award for the K-12 Scholastic Championship. For more information contact Mr. Kevin Elliott atzzelliott@aol.comNorth Carolina

    • An annual College scholarship dispersment of at least $300 in perpetuity.

A local charitable foundation, the Henderson County Community Foundation offered a scholarship program where if you invested a minimum of $5000, they would guarantee an annual scholarship dispersment of at least $300 in perpetuity. We have given out six, $300 scholarships so far and this year a donor came forward with an additional $200 to bump it up to $500. As a part of our scholastic program though it has been a cornerstone of our promotional efforts. Last November (2002) we had 215 students play in a USCF rated chess tournament here in Hendersonville and last March, we hosted the NC State scholastic championship with over 400 participants from all over NC. For more information contact Chuck Palmer, HCSCA,

    • Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma

Offering a $200 per semester chess scholarship starting with the next semester. For more information, contact Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island College, (RIC) was the first school in the country to award talent-based chess scholarships. In 2002, they have a pool of approx. $7000 with which to help subsidize their players’ college education. 


    • Tennessee Technical University in Cookeville

4 year scholarship, $3,000 per year ($12,000 total) will be awarded to the 2003 Tennessee high school champion.For more information, contact Dr. Paul Semmes, or (931) 372-3139 Texas

    • University of Texas-Dallas

Academic Excellence Scholarship – waiver of all tuition and mandatory fees plus $1000 per year toward housing for each of 4 years. Scholarship will be upgraded if student has an excellent academic record. Approximate value $18,000+.  More information at

    • Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Housing Scholarship – this is a four-year scholarship and is valued at $7,500.

    • University of Texas-Brownsville

President’s Chess Scholarship – UTB will offer two four-year scholarships to top students in South Texas. These scholarships will include tuition, books, and fees with a value of over $10,000 each.

    • Southwest Texas State University

San Marcos Optimist International Scholarship – $1,000 scholarship.

    • Del Mar College

President’s Chess Scholarship – a two-year scholarship to include tuition, books, and fees with a value of over $4,000 for a student within the local five-county area.

    • Incarnate Word Academy, Corpus Christi

President’s Award – one semester scholarship for a boy or girl entering 6th through 8th grade for the 2002-2003 school year. Value $2,500.

    • St. Mary’s University, San Antonio 

Has recognized a revived, national enthusiasm for chess with the establishment of two, $5,000-per-year scholarships for students who play the game competitively. One scholarship will be awarded to the winner of a regional chess tournament still to be determined. The other scholarship recipient will be a member of the Original Wimberley Scholastic Chess Club, a program sponsored by the Wimberley nonprofit Skipperweb. The first two scholarships will be awarded next spring to a current high school junior or senio

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