The Case for Senior Chess

Photo (L-R): Cole Erskine, Jim Eade, Tracy McCloud and Bill Lee at the Avenidas Center in Palo Alto.

Cole Erskine, the late Art Wang, and I used to hold regular classes at the Avenidas Center in Palo Alto, which is devoted to seniors. It was a very heart warming experience. Some were interested in improving their play, some wanted simply to keep their minds working, but whatever the reason for their participation, it was always a pleasure to interact with them. After the city of Palo Alto poured 14 million dollars into a remodeling project, the Center reopened on April 1st, of this year.

Bill Lee is now in charge of the chess activity there. He sets up boards and clocks every week, arranges for simuls, guest speakers, or whatever else he can come up with. Tracy McCloud is the Avenidas Center’s director, and it was a pleasure to meet with her. She is totally supportive of the chess program there, and we always need an internal champion, if we hope to achieve sustainability.

In the picture, we are holding a board and demo board provided by the US Chess Trust. Our original primary mission was to provide sets and boards to Title 1 schools across the nation. Last you we did so at 72 schools across 29 states. Now, we want to expand our mission to include senior centers around the country.

Based on my work with Checkmating Dementia, I have learned that although chess play cannot prevent the debilitating effects of age related illness, it can delay the onset of symptoms. Helping these centers by providing chess sets and boards to them seems consistent with our mission.

The US Chess Trust ( a 501c3 organization, which means donations are tax deductable) needs help to meet the challenges of today. We believe that chess serves a useful purpose helping to educate the young, provide a pleasant pastime for adults, and a solace in old age. Help us to help them.

Jim Eade
U.S. Chess Trust

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