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Morgen Mills of Newfoundland made history this summer when she became the first transgender woman to represent Canada at an international chess competition.

Mills, who transitioned two years ago, was invited to play on the Canadian women’s team at the Olympiad in Chennai, India. She scored five wins, three losses and three draws to help her team to a successful finish.

“It was absolutely a privilege and an honour to do it,” said Mills, Newfoundland’s top-rated chess player.

The Olympiad features an open section along with a separate women’s group, and Mills admits to some trepidation about how her participation would be received. But the international chess federation leaves the selection process to national organizations, and the Chess Federation of Canada fully supported her placement on the team.

Mills began playing chess as a kid and eventually achieved an Expert rating. Living in Goose Bay, she says there aren’t many opportunities to compete in major events, and this was her first experience in a women’s-only tournament.

While she isn’t aware of other transgender chess players, she says: “There are probably plenty of us, and LGBTQ chess players in general.” She hopes to continue competing in women’s events in the coming years.

Morgen Mills v Akua Kosife Esse, Chennai, 2022

Handout

After just seven moves White has a simple tactic to gain an advantage. What is it?

White played 8.Nxe5, because Bxe5 then 9.Qh5+.