Students shook hands with their opponent before diving into their chess game, competing in four rounds total and against a new partner each time. Parents and families silently watched while chess instructors from Chess Masters roam the room to help answer any questions, settle any debates and tally scores at the end of each round.
Chess Masters is a program funded through Expanded Learning Opportunities Programs (ELOP), that teaches students the fundamentals of the game, as well as providing classes for intermediate and advanced pupils.
Over the last 10 weeks, Think Together students in transitional kindergarten through eighth grade studied and practiced the strategies of chess and prepared to show off their knowledge during the culminating tournament. Chess Masters was also offered as a pilot program at Geddes and Tracy elementary schools for students not enrolled in after-school care, with more than 80 students participating every week.
“This is a great space where our students can enjoy themselves, try something new and dedicate time to learn new skills,” District Coordinator of Support Services Dr. Maria Alonso said. “We are so grateful to the instructors of Chess Masters and Think Together for helping make this event a great time for everyone.”
At the conclusion of the four rounds, Chess Masters instructors tallied up total scores while Think Together teachers and BPUSD administrators awarded medals and certificates to all competitors.
Trophies were given to the top scorers in the following grades levels: first/second; third/fourth; fifth/sixth; and seventh/eighth. Tournament trophies went to Olive Middle School eighth-grader Daniel Zhang, Sierra Vista Middle School sixth-grader Qinyan Wang, Central Elementary fourth-grader Matthew Godinez Martinez, and Geddes Elementary second-grader Alexander Xavier Sandoval.
“I play chess every day, and when I heard about Chess Masters, I knew I wanted to sign up,” Zhang said. “Today was really fun.”
BPUSD_Chess Masters_1: Students competing in the District’s inaugural Chess Tournament on November 8 at the Elwin Professional Development Center.
BPUSD_Chess Masters_2: BPUSD students were awarded medals and certificates at the culminating Chess Masters’ event and tournament on November 8 for participating in the 10-week program. Students pictured from left to right: Olive Middle School eighth-grader Daniel Zhang, Geddes Elementary second-grader Alexander Xavier Sandoval, Central Elementary fourth-grader Matthew Godinez Martinez, and Sierra Vista Middle School sixth-grader Qinyan Wang.
BPUSD_Chess Masters_3: Students award winners pose for a picture, from left to right: The Mayor of Baldwin Park Emmanuel J. Estrada, BPUSD Board of Education member Santos Hernandez, Jr., Board Clerk/Vice President Christina Lucero, Board President Diana E. Miranda-Dzib, J.D., and Superintendent Froilan N. Mendoza.