Ald. King honors local chess champion

Shoesmith Elementary School student George Gray won first place in the 4th Ward Co-curricular Chess Program. Photo courtesy of Shoesmith Elementary School

Staff Writer

Ald. Sophia King (4th) in collaboration with Youth Development Systems Inc., hosted their first ever “4th Ward Co-curricular Chess Program Awards Ceremony,” on Monday, June 19, for five area schools that competed in a online match-play chess achievement competition throughout the school year.

The event was held at Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School,1330 E. 50th St., in honor of third grader and 8-year-old chess champion George Gray, who earned the honor of being the inaugural first place chess champion of the 4th Ward Co-Curricular Sport Program Beginner’s Chess Competition.

“George’s plan from the first day of chess class was to always pay
attention,” said Doug Jackson, vice president of sales for Youth
Development Systems Inc. about the champion. “He was always eager to learn and turned out to be an outstanding student.”

According to King, in addition to Shoesmith, the 4th ward has sponsored chess and soccer programs at Murray Elementary School, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave.; Doolittle Elementary School,535 E. 35th St.; Pershing Elementary School, 3200 S. Calumet Ave.; and Robinson Elementary School, 4225 S. Lake Park Ave. since the spring of 2017.  

The winner was selected based on their online game play and student scores which were processed through the “Fun with Chess Learning System,” a game created by Youth Development Systems Inc., a company that specializes in online education and business services.

“Chess is a game that stimulates the mind,” King said, after delivering a short presentation to a group of 100 Shoesmith students. “It helps develop critical thinking. We believe our co-curriculum programming is just as important as having extra curriculum activity.”

During the presentation, King explained that the chess competition was the first of its kind where students could compete online to earn awards from the area.

In addition to Gray’s first place win, Murray second grade student Jeremiah Willis won second place, and Shoesmith first grade student Marley Curry won third place.