Most kids are surprised to find that Tanya “a girl,” (as they put it) is the strongest chess player in our main camp. No one, and I mean no one save for perhaps Sergey or Gregory (with the help of a few well-timed distractions) can come close to beating her at the chessboard. If it was a competition involving carrying refrigerators and TV sets up and down the stairs, Tanya would not stand a chance, but last I checked, men did not have international competitions in those disciplines. They cannot shine in front of the world lugging around a heavy TV, or couch. However, Tanya can for checkmating some of the world’s best players. Perhaps men should have competitions in furniture moving, but that has nothing to do with the Titanic Tarrasch-like power of Tanya’s tremendous chess playing ability.
Tanya brings us the luxury of having a strong female counselor in the camp. With a significant amount of girls attending, I often feel they are not as receptive to male counselors as they are to female ones. With Tanya, they see someone actively successful in chess, which is something that may inspire them to try and stay with it and accomplish the same or better.