In the summer of 2011, a number of BASIS-OV parents have approached me to help them getting up and running a Chess Club at the school. Our collective effort was highly successful. Chess parents (especially Jenny Watson and Hun-Seng Thompson) together with one of the teachers (Brenda Bonine), with support from school’s administration have allocated resources and advertised the upcoming program. I brought in the attitude of a Champion, the knowledge of the Chess Grandmaster and years of chess teaching experience, that incorporated chess training and exercises from the famous Botvinnik-Kasparov Chess Academy in the former Soviet Union, and five years of extensively tested program designed and implemented by me in the New York City Public Schools.
At the beginning of the school year we had a “Chess Corner” at the “After School Activities Fair” and had over 40 sign-ups! This was a great accomplishment for the brand new activity at the school. Then, the hard part started – only 3 students out of 40 had previous tournament experience – yet our goal was to design a highly competitive Chess Team that would be able to qualify and compete in the State and National tournaments. This process is usually takes years to achieve and my original time frame was within 3 to 5 years. However, our first accomplishments came quite soon – BASIS-OV team, comprised of many beginners won the first 3 SACA League Matches (!). Moreover, through the whole year we had a blast playing chess and 9 students (2 Teams!) Qualified for 2012 AZ State Championship.