GM Alejandro Ramirez is currently under investigation by US Chess and the Saint Louis Chess Club for sexual misconduct. In a tweet on Wednesday, WGM Jennifer Shahade claims to have been assaulted twice by Ramirez and also that she saw “alarming evidence” from other victims.
42-year-old Shahade is a two-time United States women’s champion, author, and poker player. As a commentator for top-level chess events held at the Saint Louis Chess Club, for many years she has worked alongside Ramirez, a 34-year-old Costa Rican-American grandmaster, coach, and commentator. Why we haven’t seen Shahade in the St. Louis live broadcasts lately, was revealed today.
Shahade made her accusations toward Ramirez public in a tweet on Wednesday that said: “Time’s up.” Attached is the following statement:
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. 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.”
The road to investigation and potential consequences has been a very stressful process. You may have noticed I’ve taken a major step back from commentary as this plays out. I’ve filled the time with poker, writing and promoting girls in chess. And yet a lot of that work to make chess more inclusive is futile if we cannot make crystal clear that the safety of women, girls, children is of the highest priority. And that’s why I’m speaking out now. Thanks for your support and patience for more details.
Time’s up. pic.twitter.com/ItOv73lTX7
— Jennifer Shahade (@JenShahade) February 15, 2023
Ramirez provided Chess.com with the following statement:
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.
Shahade told Chess.com that the misconduct was formally reported to US Chess and the Saint Louis Chess Club in the fall of 2022. Both are independently pursuing investigations.
Around that time, Ramirez acted as an interviewer in the official broadcast of the Sinquefield Cup. He is currently the team coach of Saint Louis University’s chess team.
“It’s not something I take lightly, but I’ve seen alarming evidence, and kids, girls, and women who may interact with him deserve to know as soon as possible, as do their parents or friends,” said Shahade. “Also, this may bring more evidence to light to speed things up. This is a broader problem in chess. Silence helps abusers and enablers.”
She added that it was a personal choice a decade ago to move on, but that now she felt compelled to act: “Once an underage girl and student of his at the time of attack confided in me, I felt ethically compelled to bring my own experiences to light to add credibility to their accounts.”
Others, including her brother, IM Greg Shahade, have responded with stories of their own.
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. https://t.co/TTRoOqXOPM
— Greg Shahade (@GregShahade) February 15, 2023
I hate to say this, but I was aware of this back in 2010-2012. He was grabbing underaged girls, dm’ing them, at chess camps and bought a friend’s earings. I can ask them if they want to be more sources if you’d need.
I just didn’t know better in 2011.
— Misha Vilenchuk (@Shishkana) February 15, 2023
Since her original tweet, three people have reached out to Jennifer Shahade with similar stories of harassment/abuse.
Chess.com has reached out to the Saint Louis Chess Club but has not yet received a comment. Their statement might be added to this report at a later stage.