Chess Without Borders Students Present at Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots Event
By Kiran Frey   
March 15, 2010
CWB students with GM Yury Shulman and Mr.Walls of Shoots and Roots

Chess Without Borders students were invited by Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots to participate in a presentation demonstrating how children can change the world. This presentation highlighted the humanitarian work done by local businesses and schools run by Chess Without Borders in conjunction with the Flower and Garden Show.

The project focused on work coordinated by Ms. Nina Sethi in the Govindpuri slums in Delhi, India last year. Initially Nina had requested chess supplies from Chess Without Borders to start a chess club at the school where she was serving as a volunteer teacher. While there, Nina met little four-year-old, Meher, who had been severely disfigured and handicapped from past burns. Nina was stunned when she learned that Meher had no chance to receive treatment because she was so poor. Nina approached Chess Without Borders to see if they could reinvent themselves and become medical service providers.

Chess Without Borders students, Eleanore van Marwijk Kooy, Grant Bernero, Hari Ramakrishnan, Varun Putcha and Sofia Oliver, attended a presentation at the Navy Pier on March 12. These students, ranging in age from 7 to 11 years, answered questions and taught chess to the public with the help of their coach, GM Shulman. The students were natural public speakers and communicated well with the audience. The coordinator of the program, Mr. Credell Walls of Roots and Shoots, received his first chess lesson from Grandmaster Shulman. Yury’s students were able to introduce the game and their skills as service providers to many children and families who visited the Flower and Garden show in Chicago.

Through the coordinated efforts of children from Chess Without Borders and Nina’s previous school, Berlin Metropolitan School in Germany, it was possible to raise funds to allow plastic surgery for Meher. The plastic surgeon, Dr Rakesh Khazanchi, inspired by the efforts of children worldwide, also volunteered his services and performed multiple surgeries on Meher’s face and hands to correct her past deformities. This medical intervention will certainly make a difference in Meher’s life, but repairing her body is not enough. Chess Without Borders and its children want to complete the work they have begun in Meher’s life by providing schooling for the next ten years. Thanks to these continuing efforts, Meher will begin school in April of 2010. 

Chess Without Borders has been recognized for its innovative approach to learning and its ability to teach children that they can make a difference in the global community. The organization has won an Unsung Hero Award for its work and was recently a Finalist for the Chicago Innovation Award for its unique combination of promoting education through chess and service learning. 

More information about this project is at

Information about Chess Without Borders is at
Kiran Frey, MD, Volunteer with Chess Without Borders