CIE Coalition Partners Share 2022 Highlights
Chess in Education Coalition partners Premier Chess, ChessKid, Be Someone, and Chess in Schools report that 2022 has been a good year with significant milestones reached in some cases.
Evan Rabin at Premier Chess
In 2022, while Premier Chess has still been doing some virtual classes for companies, schools and individuals, most of our classes have returned to in-person learning. We signed contracts with 15+ new schools and organizations, including Queen of Martyr School in Austin, Texas, Allendale Columbia School in Rochester, New York and Westchester Torah Academy in New Rochelle, New York.
We have also had the pleasure of recording weekly podcast episodes and have hit 13,000+ downloads: https://premierchess.buzzsprout.com/. Guests this year included Grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, World Blitz Champion, Michael Adams, 7-Time British Champion, and Grandmaster Magesh Chandran Panchanthan, Founder of Kings and Queens Academy.
Mike Klein at ChessKid
ChessKid has continued to help grow scholastic chess all over the world in 2022. We’ve brought on several new team members, mostly in Europe, to increase our presence there. We’ve translated the web site and dubbed videos into many new languages including Ukrainian, Greek, Czech, and Georgian in an effort to grow with large national chess projects in those countries. Our grant program, which offers free premium bulk memberships to schools, expanded from the U.S. to Europe. This is now in tandem with a new grant program specifically for school libraries. ChessKid has also supported Ukrainian children with a series of fundraisers. We’ve added important learning features for kids. This includes extended game analysis. We helped educators by translating our 30-week classroom planner into Spanish and French.
ChessKid was on site presenting at BETT, the largest ed-tech conference in the UK. We hosted booths at ChessFest in London, the World Youth Championship in Romania, and the World Cadet Championship in Georgia. We partnered with FIDE to host a worldwide online candidates tournament for kids. This culminated with eight children playing on site in Madrid on actual chess boards that the GM candidates used later in the day. We continued to support prodigies like FM Tani Adewumi and IM Yagiz Erdogmus as they seek to become young grandmasters. ChessKid continues to make the game fun with live shows, a Youtube channel that is gaining 3000+ subscribers/month, and plenty of weekly contests like tournaments and puzzle contests.
Orrin Hudson at Be Someone
I think it is safe to say the year 2022 for Be Someone Inc. was a “year of recovery.” Covid slapped us around pretty good in both 2020 and 2021 but we proved our resilience by adapting our teaching program to reach as many young people as possible virtually. It was apparent to us that even as 2021 progressed, audiences remained squeamish about in-person instruction, so we continued to refine our virtual classroom with increasing positive results. As the year 2021 drew to a close we were convinced we were reclaiming our “mojo” and that 2022 would be a year of progress. That is exactly what we experienced!
Although it took a few months to return to in-person classes, we worked more and more with area government offices and agencies to present virtual classes. We not only taught a variety of youth and young adult classes, we were asked to and we presented chess classes at senior citizen centers! Those were especially gratifying because we were able to improve the cognitive abilities of this audience. They were absolutely joyful in their participation! We happily (both us and our students!) returned to in-person classes later in the year but continued to offer virtual instruction as well. We trained and mentored well over 1,000 students during the year. As we close out 2022, our successes are empowering us to continue our quest to teach as many young people as we can that “their next move is their best move.”
Neil Dietsch at Chess in Schools
Chess in Schools completed its second statewide Chess in Education program. Sponsored by the New Hampshire Department of Education with federal funding, we created the Granite Gambit program. We were delighted at the rave reviews from the teachers and administrators who took the program.
Our programs consisted of a Granite Gambit program website, professional development and teaching resources that included chess equipment, instruction materials, curricula, lesson plans, other tools from our Chess in Education (CIE) resource library as well as CIE certification. Teacher shortages hampered our efforts to reach as many NH teachers as we would have liked. However the reaction of the teachers who did attend affirmed our decision to offer only in-class professional development. We found that teachers in particular had had enough of remote learning and its shortcomings. The pandemic only reinforced their convictions about the importance of a live classroom to engage and teach students.
As part of our nonprofit mission, we continue to operate this chessineducation.org website on behalf of the CIE Coalition. We are looking for opportunities to expand its reach.
Looking ahead to 2023, we will be sharing our Chief Trainer and National Chess Education Consultant with the rest of the world. In recognition of his accomplishments and international leadership, Jerry Nash was named Chairman of the FIDE Chess in Education Commission. We continue to welcome opportunities to work with sponsors for professional development programs in the US.
Other CIE Coalition Members
Chess Plus expanded its outreach in 2022 with online courses and monthly online discussion group meetings. A new course offering was “Chess and Strategy Games in the Classroom.” They are also planning a hybrid Chess in Education conference in March 2023. Chess Plus work closely with the European Chess Union which exclusively certifies several of their courses.
The New Hampshire Chess Association was an active supporter of the Granite Gambit program of Chess in Schools. Several board members gained CIE certification. Members assisted in professional development breakout sessions, and informed teachers of scholastic chess tournaments available within the state.
In 2022, First Move continued to offer schools its classroom video-based curriculum that focuses on critical thinking and problem solving. Now they have added a fully remote learning option. Their blog continues to feature news from the chess world.
The European Chess Union’s Chess in Education Commission (ECU EDU) had a busy year. Commission leaders produced a guide for planning chess projects. Several ECU countries continued the development of a project sponsored by Erasmus+ funding: “Chess: A Game to be Spread at School” (CGS). The Commission developed or completed numerous other projects in 2022 designed to highlight the educational and social benefits of chess.
* “Scholastic chess” refers to the body of chess training or events where the primary goal is competitive rather than educational. The two categories can be complementary, but have have different audiences, goals, and methods.
Scholastic chess had significant growth in 2022. Carol Meyer, Executive Director for US Chess, reports that membership numbers have recovered to 95% of the pre-COVID level. The National K-12 Grade Championships in Maryland broke the previous attendance record by over 600 participants. US Chess also signaled its intent to establish a CIE presence.
Anecdotal reports from urban chess training organizations reflect similar recoveries. The demand for chess training of all sorts is growing. The St. Louis Chess Club, a 501(c)(3), released this 5-minute promotional video about after-school programs in place at many schools in the Greater St. Louis area. It is an example of what can be accomplished with financial support from local corporate and private donors.