Poker and Chess Star Jennifer Shahade Accuses Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez of Sexual Assault and Misconduct

19 Feb

PokerStars pro and two-time US women’s chess champion, Jennifer Shahade, has publicly accused well-known chess grandmaster and commentator Alejandro Ramirez of sexual misconduct and assault, stating “Time’s up” in her Twitter revelations.

Shahade, a famous name in both chess and poker circles, claims she was assaulted by Ramirez on at least two separate occasions roughly a decade ago.

“Currently there are multiple investigations underway on Alejandro Ramirez and sexual misconduct, including a series of alleged incidents involving a minor. I was assaulted by him twice, 9 and 10 years ago,” she tweeted.

Shahade says she chose to speak up now because of new accusations of alleged abuse by Ramirez involving younger women, including a minor.

43-year-old Shahade, author of last year’s highly acclaimed book “Chess Queens”, revealed her motivation in a tweet that soon went viral in the chess and poker communities.

“I’d moved on until the past couple years, when multiple women, independent of each other and with no knowledge of my own experience, approached me with their own stories of alleged abuse. These accounts were from much younger alleged victims. I saw alarming evidence, including texts that admitted abuse of a minor while he was coaching her, as well as a text to an alleged victim about being an underage ‘temptress’.” Both Shahade and Ramirez worked as commentators for events held at the Saint Louis Chess Club, but Shahade has been missing recently from the live broadcasts.

With the reason for that now known, Shahade followed up her initial outing of Ramirez by revealing several more women had contacted her concerning the 34-year-old Costa-Rican/American’s conduct.

While many in both communities sympathised with Shahade for her own traumatic incidents, others supported her claims and apologised for not speaking out at the time.

“I hate to say this, but I was aware of this back in 2010-2012,” claimed former US under 18 champion, Misha Vilenchuk. “He was grabbing underaged girls, dm’ing them, at chess camps and bought a friend’s earings (sic). I can ask them if they want to be more sources if you’d need. I just didn’t know better in 2011.”

Jennifer’s brother, Greg Shahade, tweeted:

“Have known about this for years, have seen some of the texts in question and have informed various authorities. It has been so frustrating how little has been done up to now.”

Another person known to both the poker and chess worlds, Alexandra Botez, took to Twitter in support of her colleague.

Meanwhile, both the US Chess Federation and St Louis Chess Club have launched investigations into Ramirez’s alleged behaviour.

The former released a statement that read:

“US Chess is aware that one of its employees has made serious allegations about a member of the chess community. US Chess will not comment on the status of any internal complaint.” This was accompanied by an explanation of how formal complaints are dealt with by the national organisation.

St Louis Chess Club released their own statement:

“The St. Louis Chess Club is aware of Ms. Shahade’s social media post regarding Mr. Ramirez. The Club cannot comment further at this time as this concerns Club personnel, other than to say the Club is aware of the allegations and is reviewing the matter.”

Ramirez, chief chess coach for St Louis University, told

“Although I cannot comment on the specifics of Ms. Shahade’s assertions due to pending investigations by the US Chess Federation and the St. Louis Chess Club, I understand the concern raised by the allegations levied against me. I am fully cooperating with both inquiries and look forward to the opportunity to respond to these charges and share my side of the story.”

Subsequent to Shahade’s allegations, Ramirez has reportedly been dropped by PRO Chess League team, the Saint Louis Arch Bishops.

Shahade has $465,7556 in live tournament poker earnings, her most recent cashes coming in December at PokerStars’ EPT Prague and her career best a $122,827 scoop of the Open-Faced Chinese highroller event, also in Prague.

A board member of the World Chess Hall of Fame, Shahade has won two US women’s championship titles and holds the title of Woman Grandmaster (WGM).

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