We launched our chess initiative in 2011 as a collaborative campaign to promote the benefits of chess in the classroom and in the community at large. In the years since, it has grown to enrich the academic and social lives of students and families countywide. Key components of our program have included free, weekly, open-play chess sessions; a rotating, countywide Mayors’ Chess Challenge series, currently underway; mentor training sessions; and a Sunrise-funded pilot program that ultimately led to the addition of chess education to the academic curriculum for more than 30,000 second- and third-grade students in Broward County Public Schools.

Our initiative was never about tournament winners and trophies, although those are enjoyable pursuits for many program participants. Our goal is to facilitate the development of necessary critical thinking skills among our youth to ensure that the next generation of scientists, inventors, doctors, educators, entrepreneurs, strategic thinkers and leaders are prepared for the challenges we face.

With that goal in mind, we are excited to partner with the National Scholastic Chess Foundation to create The Sunrise Center for Excellence in Chess. We’re confident that the Center will enable the City to expand its leadership role, and to extend and promote the well-documented benefits of chess.

– Michael J. Ryan, Mayor

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