The Chess Generation? Chess NYC for Children
Chess NYC Leads Local Youth Movement
By Daniel Wright
Just last month, on a picture perfect summer’s day, I was walking through the streets of Laguna Beach, California—about as far west of New York as you can get—when I walked past an elderly man who had a chess board set up on a picnic table overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He had no one to play at that moment; rather, he sat there alone, waiting for the next chess enthusiast to challenge him.
I remember turning to my friend and telling him how I wished to learn the craft of chess.
Less than a minute after we had passed him, a young woman- a teenager- sat down, and the two of them begun what would ultimately turn into a 35-minute battle of wits and battle of chess generations.
Whether it’s Laguna Beach, California, or places much closer to home that cater the chess enthusiast like Bryant Park, Washington Square Park, Village Chess Shop, or it’s home, 112th and Broadway, the sport of chess is experiencing a boom like never before.
Chess NYC is an organization that is catering the high demand of chess seeking enthusiasts among New York City’s youth culture.
Chess NYC President, Russell Makofsky, recognizes that “the growing trend is that players are learning the game younger and younger.”
Michael Propper, the man in charge of branding and marketing at Chess NYC, says that the number one aim of Chess NYC is to “engage kids at the youngest age possible.” With the enthusiasm and demand for learning the game starting from ages as young as four, Chess NYC have set up programs that include Head Start Chess and Chess Buddy Tutoring that aid in “teaching kids the basics and beyond.”
Head Start Chess is a twice-weekly, two month class, that is aimed at introducing and engaging all different types of young chess players- from those who don’t even know the names of the pieces, to those who need to learn that killer move. Meanwhile, Chess Buddy Tutoring is a program where, according to Propper, “kids learn in a 4:1 student- teacher ratio in the comfort of their own home.”
Propper hopes that programs like Head Start Chess and Chess Buddy Tutoring will help kids “grasp the game and make it enjoyable enough to continue playing as they get older.” And with tournaments that include “life-size pieces and time limits,” prizes that range from cash to t-shirts to turkey- yes, turkey (one player will save their mom a lot of cooking this thanksgiving) - chess has never been a more exciting and interesting game to learn.
There are few activities where language is no barrier, where the female can compete directly against the male, where the age of a champion has no limitations (ask Michael Propper, he is regularly beaten by his 12-year old and 7-year old sons), but then again, there a few activities that challenge the mind like chess.
Whether you are just starting out as a beginner, or whether you have plans to go on and become a Grand Master-the highest attainable level in chess- Chess NYC has the instructors, facilities and programs to assist you in all your chess-playing pursuits.
So next time you walk past that person in the park waiting for a challenger, or the next time your Dad gives you the opportunity to beat him in at least ONE thing, don’t catch yourself saying that you wish you knew how to play the game, because with clubs like Chess NYC and programs like Head Start Chess and Chess Buddy Tutoring, there has never had a better time to learn.