SHELBY LYMAN ON CHESS
In the ’80s, a spectacular breakthrough occurred in scholastic chess when inner-city elementary and middle school teams from Philadelphia won the national championships. “The Mighty Pawns” and “The Bad Bishops” were received with heroes’ welcomes on their return home.
Their achievement had been spearheaded by a teacher, Steve Shutt, who ran a disciplined program of chess, study, physical conditioning and diet. Over the years, the much-heralded chess program petered out.
But, in 2013, the “Minor Threats” a team of 10 2nd to 6th grade students from four schools in West and Southwest Philly picked up seven trophies in the state championships.
Again, the response was heartening. Their teacher and coach, Jason Bui, appeared on the Today Show in October of this year and received a surprise $10,000 award for the team. In these troubled times, it is heartening to see chess play a progressive social role.
Below is a win by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave against Nikolas Lubbe from the Chess.com IoM Masters in Douglas, England.