During the summer of ‘72, the entire country and really, the whole world was chess crazy. American grandmaster, Bobby Fischer had just defeated USSR Champion Boris Spassky in the World Chess Championship during the height of the Cold War and the search began for the next great chess player. An all-male chess club was developed with this very hope in mind, but over time the program shifted its sights toward equitable opportunities for both young men and women.
Today, Chess in the Schools serves nearly 50 Title I elementary and middle schools throughout New York City. During 32 or 16 week sessions, students work with competition-level chess experts during the school day to learn how to play and notate this ancient game of strategy while improving sportsmanship, focus, and analytic and logical reasoning skills.
In addition to the after-school clubs, free workshops for NYC public school teachers, and the College Bound Program for committed high school students, Chess in the Schools also offers 25 free chess tournaments throughout the year open to students and any interested individual in the five boroughs. Tournaments challenge players, whether it’s their very first official chess match or they’ve been calling "checkmate" for years, placing competitors head-to-head with equally ranked opponents against the clock and through multiple rounds. Chess in the Schools believes all students should have access to enrichment opportunities that allow them to learn and grow. Any dedicated individual, regardless of age, grades, race, or religion, can become a talented and even rated chess player. All it takes is a vinyl board, plastic pieces, and a supportive community of educators invested in a child’s success.