Highwood’s chess genius prepares for national tournament
HIGHWOOD – Not much is happening in the small community of Highwood, according to resident Ashton Pasha. Despite this, the seventh-year student still finds ways to keep busy – and her most recent activities have led her to pack a suitcase for the next month.
Ashton is a state champion chess player and qualified for the annual K-8 National Chess Tournament US Open Chess Championship in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
“I didn’t win the overall tournament so when they said I qualified it kinda shocked me,” said Ashton.
Not only did she qualify for the national championships, but she did so after playing just one tournament. This state tournament in Helena a few weeks ago was her very first, and she left a big impression on the field and her family.
On top of that, she juggled multiple sports in the same amount of time, competing in track events in the same week.
Her mother Andrea was equally shocked when she received the email saying Ashton could play chess with the best next month: “Ashton is the hardest worker I have ever met. She will prioritize several things and launch. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
The Pashas have had a family chess board that they’ve used for years, and Andrea said they all play family chess, but it’s only recently that things have started to heat up.
“I like to play with them and it generally goes pretty well,” Ashton said with a smirk.
If you have Netflix, you are probably familiar with the movie “The Queen’s Gambit” and how it took the internet by storm when it was released. It also gave Ashton some inspiration in her game of chess: “It was cool to see because she chased her dream,” Ashton added.
She will be away from home in July, but she will have her family there with her chasing her dream.
If you would like to help with Ashton’s travel expenses, Click here.