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Chess in Education workshop, March, Houston Print E-mail
By Joan Dubois   
December 5, 2007
TCA Chess in Education workshop, March 8, 2008, 1-5 p.m. (Houston)
Contact: Alexey Root [email protected]

    The Texas Chess Association (TCA) Chess in Education workshop is open for registration.
TCA workshop:  co-organizers Dr. Alexey Root and Luis Salinas, sponsors TCA, The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB), and The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD)
Saturday, March 8, 2008:

1:00-1:30 Dr. Steve Lipschultz, Think Like A King School Chess Software, presents a Demonstration of An Interactive System to Establish Chess At Any School.
The Think Like A King School Chess Software System is used in 1500 schools nationwide, and has become the Official Scholastic Software of the US Chess Federation. See an in-depth demonstration of how it can be used to quickly build chess programs throughout an entire school district. 
1:30-2:30 Keynote Speaker Russell Harwood, Chess Program Director UTB/TSC, presents, The Chess Boom in Brownsville, Texas, and Tips for Duplicating it Where You Live.
Scholastic chess is booming in Brownsville, Texas, and the surrounding communities. Of the 50 schools in the Brownsville Independent School District, at least 35 have active chess programs. In addition to big numbers (we had a couple of local tournaments this fall with over 700 participants), we have had excellent results from local teams and individuals at state and national tournaments. Six different Brownsville ISD schools have won national chess championships, led by Dr. Americo Paredes Elementary’s seven national titles. Two elementary school students have tied for individual national championships, and many others have finished in the top five. The chess success of our local schools got the attention of Dr. Juliet Garcia, President of The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College, who formed a chess program at UTB/TSC so that area students would have the opportunity to earn scholarships and compete in chess at the university level. The Brownsville Independent School District has gotten onboard, and now allocates about $400,000 per year to their chess program. Chess has become a source of pride to BISD, UTB/TSC, and our community, and is now part of our identity. How did all of this come about? How can these results be duplicated elsewhere? Are there other successful models in our area? How does the future look? These questions and more will be addressed during this informative presentation.
2:30-3:00 Dr. Alexey Root, author of Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving, presents an activity from her book.
Looking to combine educational goals with chess? Dr. Root presents an activity from her most recent book that teaches the geometry of the board along with the particular way in which knights move, all wrapped up in a fun story. Come hear, and participate in, “Coco Can’t Wait.”
3:00-3:30 refreshment break
3:30-4:00 Jerry Nash, Scholastic and FIDE Director for USCF, presents Strategies to Introduce Chess as an Educational Tool: Coordinating the Five Communities.
Scholastic chess has seen a dramatic increase within the last twenty years. In 1988, the United States Chess Federation’s youth and scholastic members totaled approximately 7000.  By 2002, the two age groups combined for over 53,000 members. In April, 2005, the USCF-sponsored Super Nationals (a combination of kindergarten through high school) registered over 5300 students. Whether by memberships, tournament participation, or by the number of scholastic programs and organizations created to advance scholastic chess, the growth of chess among youth in the U.S. has been amazing, especially considering the fact that chess receives comparatively little funding. The state of chess in education may be characterized by its status as two types of programs: after-school and curriculum instruction. By far the majority of scholastic chess programs fall within the after-school category.  Few school systems allow chess to be taught as an optional curriculum subject and this tends to be in larger cities. While the education community clamors for the teaching of math skills, critical thinking skills, and character development, it has been slow to accept chess as a valid teaching tool. The coordination of four communities – educational, civic, business, and political communities – along with the chess community is critical for the development of opportunities to demonstrate the value of chess for instruction. This coordination will depend on the political will to allocate funding for pilot projects which focus on training teachers to use chess as an educational tool across curriculums – not just mathematics. Convincing these communities of the value of chess will require understanding the needs of each of these constituencies and the ability to communicate with them. If these five communities do not work in concert, the grass-roots efforts that currently predominate will not achieve the educational impact that is potentially inherent in the game.
4:00-4:30 Thomas Johnston, scholastic chess coach and former president of the Gateway Chess League, presents Keeping Chess Fun! Activities for Your School’s Club.
Participants will learn how to get organized, where to find some great resources at little or no cost, how to get parents involved and how to get your school involved in chess and your club involved in the life of your school. “Fun” sometimes involves hard work so we will also explore a few ideas about how to increase the work and fun at the same time. We will also consider a few fun ways and places to play and teach chess. Mr. Johnston has been a scholastic chess coach at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis for more than 17 years and is currently a member of the advisory council of the Gateway Chess League, the largest scholastic chess organization in Missouri. 
4:30-5:00 Clemente Rendon, TCA Vice President, presents The Future of TCA.
TCA continues to be one of the country’s strongest state chess organizations, with unprecedented growth and opportunities. In order to accommodate this growth, strategic planning is critical. An eagle eye’s view will be given, which includes the current status, goals, and focus that the organization will have for the next few years.

Location: Held during the Texas Scholastic Chess Championships, March 8-9, 2008
Hilton Americas-Houston &
George E. Brown Convention Center
1001 Avenida de las Americas
Houston, TX 77010
1-800-236-2905 and ask for chess rate

Participant fee information:
For the TCA workshop: $15 for participants in advance, $20 at the door. Refreshments served during break at TCA workshop.
Address for participant registration:
For TCA workshop, send advance fees to:
TCA Treasurer Barb Swafford
2709 Longhorn Trl
Crowley, TX   76036-4719
[email protected]

About UT Brownsville
The University of Texas at Brownsville has been a member of The University of Texas System since 1991. In cooperation with Texas Southmost College, The University serves more than 12,000 students at its campus located in Brownsville, Texas. In Partnership with Texas Southmost College, The University offers a wide range of courses from Associate and Baccalaureate degrees to graduate classes and continuing education.  For additional information about UT Brownsville, please visit the University’s website at http://www.utb.edu/.
About UT Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 14,500 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The University offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UT Dallas, please visit the University's website at http://www.www.utdallas.edu.
About TCA
The Texas Chess Association (TCA) promotes chess throughout the state of Texas. It is the official United States Chess Federation (USCF) state organization for Texas. The TCA promotes chess in many ways, including selecting organizers for annual state-wide tournaments for both children and adults; sponsoring the annual scholastic chess championship and certifying the participants for the national Denker and Polgar tournaments; providing stipends for participants in various national and international tournaments; providing chess sets and boards for new scholastic chess clubs at discounted prices; and publishing an award-winning, bi-monthly magazine, Texas Knights. The TCA is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit the TCA website at http://www.texaschess.org/ .