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Lisa Lane, a two-time United States women’s chess champion, was an early star of American chess. She was the first chess player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated and made numerous television appearances and wrote for national publications. Despite her late start in the game, she quickly rose to prominence, winning the United States women’s championship within two years of starting chess at Temple University in Philadelphia. Lane’s youth and appearance often overshadowed her chess abilities, with people focusing more on her looks rather than her talent.

Despite her success in chess, Lane faced inequality in prize money between men’s and women’s chess tournaments. She protested the pay disparity by rallying for more money for female competitors at the 1966 United States women’s championship. Lane tied for first place in the tournament but felt that the focus was on her love life rather than her victory. Frustrated by the lack of progress in achieving equal pay, Lane eventually quit competitive chess.

Despite facing challenges early in life, including the absence of her father and financial difficulties, Lane discovered her passion for chess and excelled in the game. She quickly made a name for herself in the chess world, becoming a prominent figure in American chess. Lane’s determination and talent led her to victory in the United States women’s championship and earned her national recognition in the media.

After her success in competitive chess, Lane opened a chess shop in Greenwich Village and ran it for several years. She became friends with Bobby Fischer, another prominent American chess player, despite his dismissive attitude towards women in chess. Lane’s marriage to writer Neil Hickey in 1969 marked a new chapter in her life. The couple settled in Carmel, where they opened a natural food store. Lane’s ability to balance her passion for chess with her personal life demonstrates her resilience and determination.

Lisa Lane’s impact on American chess goes beyond her victories in tournaments. She challenged the status quo in the chess world, advocating for equal pay and recognition for female players. Lane’s legacy in chess is a testament to her strength, talent, and perseverance in the face of adversity. Her contributions to the game continue to inspire aspiring chess players, especially women, to pursue their passion and strive for equality in the sport. Lane’s story is a reminder of the importance of perseverance, determination, and advocacy for change in the face of challenges.

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