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 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,

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 Can’t 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 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.

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