I’m Sharan Subramanian, a student at the University of Chicago and the Founder and President of Invest in Chess, a service-based chess advocacy initiative. The Invest in Chess mission is not only to spread, teach, and promote chess, but also to raise awareness of its numerous practical and educational benefits. We hope to make it easier for more people to have access to chess because it is, truly, more than a game.
I started the organization in 2014, and since inception, my peers and I have engaged in a variety of projects, such as partnering with Chance the Rapper’s nonprofit organization, organizing the first-ever exhibition chess tournament between two Chicago Public Schools, and establishing a youth chess club on the South Side of Chicago. Additionally, we currently teach chess at Andrew Carnegie Elementary School (where we’ve been teaching since January 2015); here, we lead the chess club comprised primarily of third through fifth graders.
We organized tournaments on June 2016, and most recently on May 18, 2017 at the Gordon Center for Integrative Science, located on the University of Chicago campus. These were our first Invest in Chess tournaments for CPS students. It was a match between the chess teams of Andrew Carnegie Elementary School and Pershing Elementary School. The children in attendance at this tournament received snacks, participation medals, and trophies, and at the conclusion of the tournament, they received a tour of the University of Chicago campus.
Our main goal was to introduce the children to playing chess in a competitive manner. We also wanted to promote chess in Chicago. Finally, we want children to develop their skills in a new setting. Many of the children in attendance had never been on a college campus before, and hosting the chess tournament at the University of Chicago was important to us because exposing children to new opportunities can expand their horizons.
Invest in Chess has been our way of making a difference in the lives of children here in Chicago through our passion, and we are incredibly excited to continue making progress with Chicago Public Schools. Stay tuned!