Someone had enough sense to call me from Memorial Park to come down and witness the youth chess tournament in progress. Ironically, I was 30-seconds away from the Crozer Library where I was planning to kill an hour, and with the chess tournament being in the library’s back yard, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

I was introduced to Margie Walton. CEO and Director of Pace Chess, and Preston Ladson, one of the instructors and a professional chess player.

The organization started in Philadelphia and been involved in Chester schools for about 5 years. Not only do they run this program in schools, but there are day cares and nursing homes involved. Ms. Walton recognized Chester City councilwoman Elizabeth Williams for her support over the years keeping them engaged in Chester.

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Yesterday was the 8th annual Pace Chess tournament in Chester and there were many students from the Chester-Upland School District, our charter schools, home schools, and the Boys and Girls Club of Chester involved.

The prizes for first through third place was $40, $25 and $15 which almost made me want to sit at a board.

The folks at Pace Chess encourage chess for children because it promotes critical thinking, helps them work with their peers, teaches them to compete and learn how to lose with integrity and good spirit without getting angry.

Ladson shared, “Right now we’re still in the introductory phase but will soon identify young chess players to form a scholastic tournament where players represent their schools with an opportunity to play in national tournaments with the possibility of having a tournament director conduct official tournaments here in Chester.”

I had a great time out there with the kids. Wish I could have stayed for the great food being prepared for them because I can checkmate a burger.

Look for more on this experience in the next Chester Matters paper coming out next week.

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