Youth Chess in Fullerton.
Overview of Lions Chess Programs
The Fullerton Host Lions club
has offered a variety of chess programs for the benefit of students of the
Fullerton Community. A summary of these programs over the years, and
the schools at which they were offered, is shown at (Fullerton Host Lions History).
Chess is a great game which, in addition to providing
intellectual stimulus and training, it also enhances life skills of
concentration, tactical and strategic planning, competitive
skills and attitude, and sportsmanship. All told the Fullerton Host
Lions, with leadership from Lion Pete Baron, contributed over 5000
hours of volunteer effort to provide opportunities to Fullerton students to play
this great game.
- Weekly chess clubs. These were
either lunch time or after-school programs for 4th grade and above
students lasting typically 45 minutes, or 1 to 1.5 hours,
respectively. Clubs were offered at both elementary and junior
high schools. Lunch hour clubs typically spent most of their time
playing, with only limited opportunity for instruction.
After-school club meetings featured casual play, instruction, pussle
solving, competitive play and preparation for upcoming
tournaments. Chess clubs were offered at up to nine campuses on a given
year, with as many as five (though typically 3-4) at any given
time. Chess programs lasted from 3 months to the full school year
starting the second month of the year.
- Chess Workshops. These were 1.5 to 2.0
hour sessions, featuring the same activities as after-school chess
clubs. The workshops were open to schools that did not have a
chess club, and also allowed students from K through 3d grade to
participate. At different times, workshops were held once, twice or four times a month
- Junior High School Team Tournaments.
From 2003 through 2011 a team tournament was held to crown the
best Junior High/Middle School chess team in the Fullerton School
District. A traveling plaque, naming the winning team and its
members, is now residing at Parks Jr. High in perpetuity: they won the
city championship 5 out of the 8 times the tournament was held!
- The Lions-sponsored Fullerton City Chess
Championship Tournaments were held in May of every year since
2006. Each grade had its own tournament, with the winner emerging as
the Fullerton City Champion for that grade. (Note: generally, for
grades 8 and up several grades were combined to yield an adequate
number of players (5-6). Initially only 40 students participated; but
the tournament quickly grew to 55-65 participants. Winners were
recognized by photos and articles in Fullerton Observer (photos 3 times
making the front page!), and also received recognitions from either the
Fullerton City Council or the FSD board of Trustees (see trophy winners
for the past nine tournament (City chess Championship
- In 2009 the Host Lions initiated, along with the Fullerton
School District, co-sponsorship of the popular Morrison
Scholastic Chess tournament. This sponsorship brought the
tournament, which typically attracted110 to 170 participants from all
over Orange County and environs, to Fullerton. This tournament has been
planned, organized and funded since 1973 by (now retired) junior high
school teacher Dewain Barber, whose significant contributions to
scholastic chess were recognized by the Lions on the occasion of the
- Special events (simultaneous exhibitions,
among others by 4-tim women’s world-champion Susan Polgar) and
mini-tournaments were also held at irregular intervals.
Click here for "Tips" from Susan
Polgar on Chess Basics
Importance of Chess:
Chess is one of the oldest games in the world, it is globally the
most universally played game, and
| has been played in the U.S. by some of our great statesmen (Franklin,
Jefferson and Lincoln) as
well as some current ones (Governor Schwarzenegger, who routinely
played on sets waiting for the
next film shoot, and had his children take chess lessons). It is a game
for all ages: last year the L.A.
Times reported the youngest "expert" ranking ever, an 8 year-old, while
at the other end of the spectrum, my brother in law at 81 still plays well enough to beat one out of two.
At its best chess is a game which teaches not only quick thinking, but
also concentration, good
sportsmanship* and, very importantly, learning from your mistakes.
At intermediate and advanced
levels one must learn to think both stategically and tactically**.
These are life skills that will stand any student in good stead, no matter that he or she gives up playing
the game as other priorities intrude!
Pete Baron, Coordinator of Chess Activities
Fullerton Host Lions Club
Susan Polgar's motto: "Win with grace, lose with dignity
** Here is a wonderful commentary on the game of chess
by America's greatest statesman:
In "Benjamin Franklin, an American
Life" Walter Isaacson writes: "One of Franklin's famous
passions was chess,... He saw the game as a metaphor for both diplomacy
and life, a point
he made explicit in a bagatelle he wrote in 1779 on "The Morals of
Chess" ..."The game of
chess is not merely an idle amusement, several
valuable qualities of the mind, useful in
the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it.
For life is a kind of chess, in which we have often points to gain and
competitors or adversaries
to contend with". Chess, he said, "taught foresight, circumspection,
caution, and the importance
of not being discouraged. There was also an important etiquette to be
practiced: never hurry your
opponent, do not try to deceive by pretending to have made a bad move,
and never gloat in victory:
"Moderate your desire of victory over our adversary,and
be pleased with the one over yourself."
3) A Thumbnail History of Chess
Quotes from IM GM Arthur Bisguier “Ten Tips to Winning Chess”
Chess has a longer and richer
history than any other game. Historians are uncertain of the
exact details, but most agree that it was invented about 1,400 years
ago in India. Although this early version, called chaturanga, has
changed through the centuries, today’s chess players would find
it remarkably similar to the game we play today*. More than 13
centuries after its invention chess continues to fascinate everyone who
enjoys an exciting mental challenge. The “Game of
Kings” has become the “King of Games”.
In the middle ages, chess was
known as the “Game of Kings”
and the “Royal Game”, because it was mainly played by
nobility. That changed, however, as its popularity spread in the
mid-1800’s. Today the World Chess Federation (FIDE) brings
together millions of chess players from nearly 150 nations.
Modern chess enthusiasts thus share a rich heritage. Among their number
they can count such famous personalities as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas
Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Pope John Paul II.
In America more than 100,000
chess players, from beginner to
grandmaster, enjoy the benefits offered by the US Chess
Federation. Members include people from all walks of life –
school children and retired people, musicians and computer scientists,
politicians and professional athletes.
game was popularized in the
US by a brilliant tactician, Paul
Morphy around 1860. Germans and English dominated the game until
the early thirties, when the Russians made it their national game, and
dominated the scene thereafter. The only non-Russian world champion in
the last 70 years was Bobby Fischer**, who won the title in 1972, only
to forfeit it by refusing to defend it. However the strength of
US chess is on the rise - there are at least two American players among
the elite top fifteen
players in the world.
* It is worth noting
that the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans all
have their own version of chess, more or less similar to international
chess. Many men and women Chinese players have risen to the top
of international chess in the past two decades
** Bobby has not played competitive chess since 1972.
in Japan for a while, then found refuge in Iceland, the scene of his 1972 triumph, where he passed away in early 2008.
for Lion's "Tips" for effective Chess Tournament Play