Star Tracks: Monday, May 16, 2016 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- See Everything You're Going to Want from Target's Fall Catalog—Before it Comes Out
- Read the Cover Story: The Gosselins 10 Years Later: 'So Much Has Changed'
- The Final Five Share the Best Way to Deal With Social Media Haters: 'You Really Can't Focus on the Lies'
- Kelly Rowland Chops Her Long Locks, Vanessa Hudgens and Shanina Shaik Follow Suit
- The Final Five Are Single and Ready to Mingle: 'We Don't Need Tinder'
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- February 09, 1981
- Vol. 15
- No. 5
Her Folks Pawned Everything to Help Baraka Shabazz Become Chess's Female Bobby Fischer
Born in Denver after her parents separated (says Raqiba of the dad Baraka's never seen, "I don't know whether he's above ground or below it"), the young girl moved to Anchorage, where her mother worked as a government clerk and married third husband Yusef Shabazz. Baraka, described by her mom as "a straight-A student who loves math and science," remembers playing her first board against her stepfather in December 1977: "I lost and cried. But after two weeks I was the one who was winning."
By then Yusef, a $1,400-a-week pipeline construction worker, had been disabled on the job, so in 1979 the family, including son Yahya, 2, moved to Oakland. The reason: The Bay Area is one of the nation's toughest proving grounds for chess players. The sacrifice is substantial. The Shabazzes are living in a $100-a-week room at a motel in Oakland's tenderloin district because Raqiba won't return to work. "Baraka is our job," she says. "We have to forsake the luxury of a regular paycheck to ensure her success. We want her to be the female Bobby Fischer." That dream is shared. Lately Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson has paid the Shabazzes' rent bill from a community fund, and others—including a black-owned travel agency and entertainer Eartha Kitt—have donated money and services so Baraka can compete in distant tournaments.
A former San Jose State faculty member tutors her gratis so she can skip school and devote six to eight hours a day to chess. No longer psyched out by male foes who blow cigar smoke in her face, Baraka fantasizes about becoming America's first female International Grand Master by age 18. But she also looks beyond her familiar 64 squares. Down the line, says Baraka, "I'll have time for friends, travel, college. Maybe I'll be a diplomat. I've been taught you go after what you want—I want to be a symbol of achievement for blacks. I'll make it, you'll see."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!