The Chess Club and Scholastic Center is proud of its association with the Boy Scouts of America, and this year’s first Boy Scout Merit Badge Day, held on January 18th, was a great example of the mutual respect and support between the two organizations. The January event handed out 52 new Chess Merit Badges to Scouts, making it one of the largest sessions since the CCSCSL held the initial launch event in September 2011. Since then, more than 60,000 Chess Merit Badges have been awarded nationally.
Instruction focuses around the basic requirements needed to earn the Chess Merit Badge, but the Chess Club instructors are equipped to teach players of all skill levels -- and to challenge even the most-astute chess Scouts. CCSCSL Scholastic Coordinator Matt Barrett has been instrumental in developing materials for use in instruction and testing, while lead instructor Ryan Chester, along with certified staff members Adam Gnuse and Nic Weiss, insured that the event was both instructive and enjoyable by breaking the session down into smaller units for plenty of individual attention.
It’s true that the Boy Scouts always come prepared: Prior to the event, participants were encouraged to review the badge requirements with Scout Masters and other Scout Members who had already earned their Chess Merit Badge. And on the day of the event, each of the 50+ Scouts came with all the knowledge and practice necessary to complete those requirements within the day’s sessions. Such early preparation not only allowed a complete review, with additional time to expand on particular topics, but also provided an excellent opportunity to practice this newfound knowledge through actual chess play during the 5-hour session.
The CCSCSL is certainly a unique chess environment, with boards and sets already in place in our classroom, and playing halls lined with pictures of World Champions past and present -- a great setting for learning such an important set of life skills. The Club has hosted several free Chess Merit Badge Events since its launch and has several additional sessions planned for 2015. The next event, scheduled for February 28, has already approached its registration limit -- but sign up now to guarantee your Scout’s spot in the next available session, on May 9.