District of Columbia City Council Recognizes
The Work of the U.S. Chess Center.
The District of Columbia City Council unanimously passed a ceremonial resolution on April 3, 2013, affirming the goals of the U.S. Chess Center and praising us for teaching more than 30,000 students the game of chess. The text of the resolution may be read by clicking here.
The resolution proclaimed April 18, 2013, "Chess in the Schools Day" in honor of the visit of Rochelle Ballantyne, the strongest African-American female chess player in history. The U.S. Chess Center invited Ms. Ballantyne to Washington to meet students at some of the schools where we teach the game, to play a simultaneous exhibition at THEARC in Anacostia and to headline a fund-raising reception.
Councilmember Tommy Wells met with Marc Rotenberg, the Chairman of the U.S. Chess Center Board of Directors, to learn about the work we have been doing since 1992. Hearing about the thousands of children we teach and the upcoming visit of Rochelle Ballantyne, he offered to sponsor the ceremonial resolution and present it to us at a reception where Ms. Ballantyne would be present.
Ms. Ballantyne had a very busy day on April 18. She visited the William E. Doar Public Charter School for the Performing Arts (WEDJ) where chess is part of the curriculum for all students in grades three through eight. She spoke with teachers and students, explaining the important role chess has had in her life and how the lessons learned from chess have resulted in her receiving a scholarship to Stanford University, where she will be a freshman in the fall. She exhorted them to never give up and played chess with a lucky few.
From WEDJ, Ms. Ballantyne went to THEARC to perform a twenty-board simultaneous chess exhibition. There were many extra students so she allowed two additional children to participate that afternoon, and her final score was 22 - 0.
She played students from the following schools: Ballou High School, Tyler Elementary, Bancroft Elementary, Taylor Elementary, WEDJ, Leckie Elementary, Langdon Educational Campus, Duke Ellington High School, Tech Prep, Jamestown Elementary and Washington Waldorf School. The last player to finish was Tai'Lon Jackson of Ballou High School, the 2012 District of Columbia High School Champion.
After the exhibition, Ms. Ballantyne spoke to some of the players and their families before coming to a reception to meet Councilmember Wells and participate in the resolution presentation ceremony.
The next day, Ms. Ballantyne visited students and teachers at BASIS DC Public Charter School and McKinley Tech High School before returning to her home in Brooklyn, New York.