By TONIA HILL
Students from Invest in Chess, a University of Chicago (U. of C.) student-run chess advocacy initiative will host a chess tournament tomorrow morning, Thursday, May 18, at the Gordon Center for Investigative Science, 929 E. 57th St.
The chess tournament on Thursday will feature students between third and fifth grade from Andrew Carnegie Elementary School, 1414 E. 61st Place, and Pershing East Magnet School, 3200 S. Calumet St.
Sharan Subramanian, a junior at U. of C. and founder/president of Invest in Chess competed in chess tournaments before college. He began Invest in Chess to engage with his passion chess and to teach the game to young people.
“I knew that I still wanted to keep in touch with the game,” Subramanian said. “[The] next step was [figuring out how] I could use chess in a service capacity. How I could use my passion for chess to make a difference whether it be through teaching from learning chess to raising awareness of the game and its benefits.”
For the past two years, Subramanian and a group of 10 other volunteers gather once a week to teach the game of chess to students at Carnegie. Initially, he said the program met between classes; it is now a full-fledged after school program.
The tournament on Thursday, according to Subramanian is the only chess tournament between to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Last year, Carnegie and Pershing held the inaugural tournament at the Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.
“I’m interested in the turnout. Last year we had over 60 students from both schools come to the event,” Subramanian said. “It was great to see all the kids, to see how passionate they are about chess.”
At the end of the tournament this year, Subramanian says student will receive medals and trophies as well as a tour of the U. of C. campus. They are more than just teachers they are also mentors to the students, Subramanian said.
In the future, Invest in Chess is mapping out ways to expand the program to reach other schools in the district.
For example, Subramanian mentioned launching a CPS ambassadors program where Invest in Chess works in conjunction with CPS high schools chess teams. The chess teams would then be paired up with elementary schools students in their area. The instruction style and program would be a replication of how the chess program is operated at Carnegie.
The chess tournament on Thursday will begin at 10 a.m., for more information about Invest in Chess visit investinchess.org.