Real heroism comes in many forms. It can be a series of acts of athletic excellence, such as Sheryl Swoopes winning three straight gold medals in Olympic Basketball. Or a skillful act such as Tammie Jo Shults saving 168 souls when she piloted an airliner missing an engine. Or it can be a series of extraordinary acts under great peril, such as when Desmond Doss saved 75 lives on Heartbreak Ridge. It can also be a lifetime of day-by-day selfless service to others and leading by example; mentoring, inspiring and uplifting all even from a distance.
All the above understood and understand heroic acts. All are Texans. All would never think of themselves as heroes.
Heroes are in the eyes of the beholder.
She will disagree, but in Schleicher County, Texas, such a person exists. She wears a purple hat. She helped build much of what is today’s Texas Chess Association (TCA). She won the 1999 Texas Women’s Chess Championship. She was a Region Director. She became a Senior Tournament Director with credit for 35 events as Chief TD. She served as a member and Chair of the TCA Scholastic Committee. She published chess articles in Texas Knights and other magazines. She started the chess team for Austin Area Homeschoolers. That club has been meeting continuously now for 23 years, even after she is long gone from Austin. At the 2019 Texas Women’s Chess Championship she was honored as the first recipient of the Woman International Master Ruth Inez Haring Chess Legacy Award.
Today she is a retired Licensed Master Social Worker. As Coordinator of the local food pantry, she touches the lives of many people in desperate situations. She continues to recruit, teach and inspire chess players.
Universally admired by all who know her, she’s a tough chess player: Ranked in the 73rd Percentile for all USA Chess Players; Ranked in the 90th Percentile for all USA Female Chess Players; Ranked in the 85th Percentile for all Texas Chess Players; Ranked Number 19 on the USA Top Women Seniors List; Ranked Number 54 on the USA Top Women Age 50 and Over List. Since her first rated tournament in November 1995, she’s played 171 games in 34 events (70.0-win percentage in the past year).
We at Texas Chess Association have our eyes on and proudly salute Brenda Hardesty as our Player of the Month for September 2019.
If you know someone who should be a Player of the Month tell us. Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Current TCA membership required.