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The University of Alabama

Every Move Counts – UA Students Teaching Chess in New School Program

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – University of Alabama students are teaching chess to sixth graders at the Tuscaloosa City School’s magnet school through a new initiative called Every Move Counts: A Chess in Education Project.

The initiative includes a service-learning course and a partnership between the UA Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility and Freedom Chess Academy, a local nonprofit group.

CE&SR launched Every Move Counts in January. UA students in the course attend a weekly class in which members of Freedom Chess Academy instruct them on teaching chess to children.  Freedom Chess Academy’s mission is to promote chess training and playing in West Alabama. UA students also learn about the positive role chess can play in education. Two mornings a week, students teach chess to a group of 12 sixth graders as part of club-day activities at Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Middle, which opened in August.

“This is one of the first programs of its kind in the country, and we’re excited about its potential,” said Stephen Black, CE&SR director. “Chess is increasingly popular among college students, and the proven educational benefits of the game for school-age children are remarkable. Bringing these two groups together provides advantages for both: through mentoring young chess players, college students establish a tie with the community while teaching a game they enjoy, and children have fun while reaping educational and social rewards.”

Besides training college students, Freedom Chess Academy also provides chess boards/pieces and other teaching/instructor-training materials used in the UA and magnet school classes. CE&SR oversees the class and is helping to update Freedom Chess Academy’s logo and Web site.

“I am thrilled the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama is partnering with Freedom Chess Academy to teach chess at the Tuscaloosa City magnet school,” says Dr. Rose Marie Stutts, who founded FCA in 2000 and is the UA course facilitator. “I have two dreams for chess in Alabama. My first dream is that chess may become a part of the education curriculum to enhance our state’s ability to educate all of our children. School systems in Washington state, New Jersey, New York and Texas are accomplishing this in public schools. My second dream is that someday we will have enough coaches for all the students who want to play on chess teams.”

As Every Move Counts grows, the Center and FCA hope to expand participation at the magnet school and engage other schools in the Tuscaloosa area.

Learn more about Every Move Counts by clicking “Programs & Activities” at cesr.ua.edu or contacting CESR at cesr@ua.edu or 348-6490.

Created in 2005, CE&SR established university wide programming supporting the development of projects that nurture social responsibility and reflective, thoughtful citizenship. The University of Alabama’s strong commitment to civic engagement and its history of community-university partnerships also serve as a foundation for the center.

Freedom Chess Academy is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote chess training and play in Tuscaloosa and West Alabama. FCA offers a variety of free events for chess players of all levels. Classes are held at the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Alabama, Tuscaloosa Public Library, FOCUS on Senior Citizens, the Tuscaloosa Salvation Army Shelter and at the Veterans Administration Hospital.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.