TCA Chess in Education workshop, March 8, 2008
By Joan Dubois   
January 28, 2008

TCA Chess in Education workshop, March 8, 2008, 1-5 p.m. (Houston), co-organized by UTD's  Dr. Alexey Root and Luis Salinas. The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB), Texas Tech University (TTU), and The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) are the higher education leaders for chess in education in Texas. With this workshop, Texas builds its reputation as the leading state for chess in education. UTB, TTU, and UTD are joint workshop sponsors, along with the Texas Chess Association (TCA). 



Grandmaster SUSAN POLGAR (TTU)

Press release contact: Alexey Root [email protected] Release date: January 30, 2008.


            The TCA Chess in Education workshop is open for registration. Participant fee information: $15 for participants in advance, $20 at the door. Refreshments will be served. Advance fees to: TCA Treasurer Barb Swafford, 2709 Longhorn Trail, Crowley, TX 76036-4719; 214-533-0061, [email protected]


Workshop Location: Held in conjunction with 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.


Workshop Schedule:

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. 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 Keynote Speaker Susan Polgar, Director of SPICE at Texas Tech University, presents her experiences in chess and education.

            Grandmaster Polgar is the only person – male or female- to win chess’ Triple Crown, comprised of Rapid, Blitz and Classical World Championships. She is the top-ranked woman player in the United States and was the first woman to earn the Grandmaster title. Susan currently is the director of SPICE at Texas Tech University and the head coach of the Knight Raiders’ chess team. She is arguably the most active promoter of scholastic chess in the United States, visiting countless schools and communities across the country. After a short presentation a Q&A session will follow. 

3:00-3:30 Refreshment Break. During the refreshment break, 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 Cant Wait.

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. 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. 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.

4:00-4:30 Thomas Johnston, scholastic chess coach and former president of the Gateway Chess League, presents Keeping Chess Fun! Activities for Your Schools 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 countrys strongest state chess organizations, with unprecedented growth and opportunities. In order to accommodate this growth, strategic planning is critical. An eagle eyes view will be given, which includes the current status, goals, and focus that the organization will have for the next few years.


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 .


About Texas Tech University
With nearly 29,000 students yet a cozy-feeling campus, Texas Tech students get the benefits of a major research institution without getting lost in the crowd. Texas Tech offers more than 150 degree programs through ten colleges. Texas Tech has a top-ranked School of Law, a Graduate School, and a Health Sciences Center that leads the country in areas such as aging and border health. They’re all located on the same campus. In 2007, TTU established the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) with its mission being

• To promote chess as vehicle for enriching education
• To serve as the global center for chess research, education and development
• To support and promote competitive chess at the college level
• To recruit outstanding undergraduate and graduate students
For additional information about TTU, please visit the University's website at

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 schools freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The University offers a broad assortment of bachelors, masters and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UT Dallas, please visit the University's website at

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 .