Yuanling's Keynote Speech
Transferring Passion into Energy into Impact
Yuanling shares her story at the 2015 IB Conference of the Americas with an audience of 2,000 educators around the world. She tells the tale of her first entrepreneurial experience with Chess in the Library, an international nonprofit organization that she founded in 2009. Through her story, she discusses the importance of finding a passion and using it to create an impact on the community.
Yuanling Yuan is the top female chess player in Canada and the youngest ever to achieve the Woman International Master title. She is also a passionate entrepreneur, having founded both Chess in the Library and SubLite. Yuanling recently graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics.
When Yuanling was seven, her father showed her the rules of chess and she immediately fell for the game. Its beauty and complexity spoke to her like no other. Two years later, Yuanling went on to win the national championship in her division and qualified for her first international competition, the 2003 World Youth Chess Championship held in Greece. She has represented Canada at three World Chess Olympiads starting at the age of fourteen and brought home outstanding results each time.
Most recently, in 2015, Yuanling completed in the 64-player Women's World Chess Championship and defeated Grandmaster Mariya Muzychuk in round one, who later went on to become World Champion. In 2016, Yuanling represented Canada for the 4th time at the World Chess Olympiad held in Baku, Azerbaijan and completed the tournament undefeated. These two recent performances made history for Canadian chess.
Through her love for chess, Yuanling founded an international nonprofit organization Chess in the Library in 2009 to share her passion with the world. Incubated in her hometown Toronto, the organization runs chess programs in public libaries for children and adults alike. In the following three years, Yuanling and her team of 200 student volunteers expanded the program to over 30 locations internationally. It was this experience that showed her the power of passion—when ignited with enough fire, it can truly make a lasting impact on the community and its members. Today, Chess in the Library continues to grow under new leadership.
In the fall of 2012, Yuanling began her studies at Yale University studying economics. Its liberal arts curriculum afforded her the opportunity to explore many other fields that she grew to love: French, art history and psychology. However, it was also at Yale when she began her second venture, SubLite, a one-stop shop for students to find summer internships and housing. At the end of her junior year, Yuanling was invited to be the opening keynote speaker for the 3-day 2015 International Baccalaureate Conference of the Americas, where she shared her story of growth beyond a professional chess player.
Yuanling is currently working as a full-time Analyst at Blackstone while continuing to find time for the game that she loves.