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The University of Alabama

UA Center Co-Sponsors ‘Brooklyn Castle’ Screening

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama Every Move Counts chess in education initiative is co-sponsoring, with The Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa, the documentary “Brooklyn Castle,” which will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa.

“Brooklyn Castle” tells the stories of five chess-team members at an inner-city junior high school. The team has won more national chess championships than any other in the country. The film follows the challenges these children face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard. The screening is part of The Arts Council’s Bama Art House film series.

A UA student teaches chess in the Every Move Counts program.

A UA student teaches chess in the Every Move Counts program.

Every Move Counts is an initiative of the UA Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility. Through the program, honors students enrolled in a service-learning course explore the academic and social benefits of chess for children while teaching the game in public schools. Educational research shows chess improves critical-thinking, problem-solving and concentration skills as well as math, reading and English scores. The game also teaches such life skills as patience, responsibility, independence, self-discipline, sportsmanship and planning.

Every Move Counts has grown since spring 2010, when three UA students taught chess to 12 sixth graders. During Spring 2013, 48 UA students are teaching chess to approximately 230 second- through 12th-graders at Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Elementary, Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Middle, Alberta Elementary School, Central Elementary School and Oak Hill School. At the principal’s request, all second- through fifth-graders at Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Elementary learn to play the game through Every Move Counts.

“I am completely sold on chess integrated into the school day,” said Jeanne Burkhalter, principal.

Through Every Move Counts’ sponsorship of “Brooklyn Castle,” children from Alberta Elementary, Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Elementary and Oak Hill School will see the film during a private showing the morning of Jan. 29.

Although education communities in the United States have begun to recognize the benefits of chess and the number of chess programs in schools is growing, Every Move Counts is unique in using college students to teach chess lessons in schools.

“Chess is increasingly popular among college students, and the proven educational benefits of the game for school-age children are remarkable,” said Stephen Black, director of the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility. “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.”

Learn more about Every Move Counts by clicking “Initiatives” at or contacting CESR at or 205/348-6490.

Created in 2005, the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility established university-wide programming supporting the study of ethics and the development of projects that nurture social responsibility and reflective, thoughtful citizenship. UA’s strong commitment to civic engagement and its history of community-university partnerships also serve as a foundation for the center. CESR staff develop – and assist faculty members in developing – service-learning courses that engage community organizations in partnerships designed to both enhance academic goals and apply scholarly learning to salient community issues. The service experiences are integrated into the students’ academic curriculum, providing structured time for students to think, talk and write about what they did and observed.

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.