On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, students from two BCPS public schools participated in the London Chess Classic, a major international chess tournament held in London, United Kingdom. However, students from Sawgrass and Sandpiper elementary schools, both in Sunrise, did not have to leave town to participate in this international competition.
In collaboration with the United States-based National Scholastic Chess Foundation and the United Kingdom-based Chess in Schools and Communities, students from the United Kingdom and BCPS connected online for a friendly games of chess.
The event was the collaborative idea of Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan; Malcolm Pein from Chess in Schools and Communities, UK; Sunil Weeramantry, Executive Director of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation; and the principals of Sawgrass and Sandpiper elementary schools.
In the 2014/15 school year, BCPS launched the First Move scholastic chess curriculum in all second and third grade classrooms. This is the nation’s largest scholastic chess curriculum initiative in history, and will benefit over 34,000 students across the District.
The First Move scholastic chess curriculum helps to increase students’ critical thinking, problem-solving and social skills, while students are having fun learning to play the game. In addition, studies have shown playing chess increases students’ math skills, reading aptitude and overall academic achievement.
First Move was successfully piloted during the 2013/14 school year at three schools located in the city of Sunrise, with the encouragement and support of the city of Sunrise and its mayor. The Sunrise City Commission and the Broward League of Cities also passed resolutions supporting the inclusion of scholastic chess in all Broward County public schools.
Pictured: Students at Sandpiper Elementary School play chess against students in London on December 9, 2014.