By: Sharon Aron Baron
It’s Saturday morning and children and teens are lining up at the Tamarac Community Center, not for a concert or magic show, but to play chess.
The large turnout to play chess at the Mayor’s Chess Challenge caught everyone off guard, so much so, that extra tables had to be set up.
“I think it’s fantastic, we had no idea what to expect with the turnout,” said Greg Warner Director of Parks and Recreation. “We would have been happy with 75 players but we ended up with a capacity of 110 players.”
He said that people were lining up before the event began at 10 a.m. and that they had to pull out more tables to accommodate them. Fortunately, they had enough chess boards thanks to the City of Sunrise and Cooper City.
The event was hosted by Tamarac Mayor Harry Dressler who played a game with Mayor Greg Ross of Cooper City. Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan, the creator of the event, was also on hand playing with students from various Sunrise schools.
Also in attendance were students from various chess clubs in Coral Springs including Sawgrass Springs Middle School.
Carlos Jusino, 9, a resident of Woodmont who attends Riverside Elementary in Coral Springs said he learned how to play chess in second grade. Deep in thought during his game, he said, “I like that you have to think before you move.” He said he’d definitely come back if the City held it again.
Jayda Washington, 7, who has been playing for two years said, “I love how the queen can move anywhere.”
Her mother Annejeanette Washington a Coral Springs resident and fifth-grade teacher at Manatee Bay in Weston said one of the things she has seen personally with her daughter Jayda is her ability to think critically.
“It has improved her skills with processing word problems all because of her involvement with chess. I strongly believe children should be exposed to chess and definitely the open play that the City mayors have been doing.”
Jayda, who received straight A’s on her report card, said she loved events like this and has even been to one in Sunrise. “It helps you think,” she said.