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With online chess catching on in this pandemic now might be a good time to sign your child up for a lesson. Photo Credit: Courtesy of
Students compete in a statewide chess tournament held at Roosevelt School in Bridgeport where the city's Mayor Joe Ganim sits in for a round. Photo Credit: Courtesy of City of Bridgeport

Online Chess Popular In Pandemic. Here's Where Your Child Can Learn.

Online chess has become so popular in this pandemic fetching the interest of budding young players so beginner lessons fill up quickly. One example is this week's beginner class offered to students at Toquam Elementary School Students.

"We have 20 students on the waiting list," said the president of the National Education Chess Association, Alex Eydelman,  instructor of the complimentary Zoom-based 30-minute virtual chess class.

Among the world's oldest games, chess which originated in India more than 2,000 years ago, is a great game for anyone, any age, he said. Eydelman implements daily chess lessons for young people in over 40 different chess programs throughout Connecticut and Westchester County since the school year began.

"The current situation is changing daily, but the opportunity to learn virtually has had an extremely positive impact and outcome. Students are adapting to online chess lessons and enjoy it just as much," Eydelman related.

As NECA president he conducts up to 10 online lessons for children and adults every day. Players only need a computer and Zoom to take part, and any child may sign up for online chess classes through NECA.

"The chessboard is integrated on the screen through a variety of other resources. The students are learning strategies and solving chess problems virtually and it is fascinating. The interest is growing and I have had a tremendous amount of parents reaching out with positive comments about the online learning of chess with an instructor guiding instruction," Eydelman explained.

Also in Stamford, Eydelman teaches students virtually at The Children's School and he offers similar services to students in Darien Public Schools. The instruction involves Eydelman recording a short chess lesson, which he sends to the schools for teachers to implement in their curriculum.

Since remote learning began, not only children but also their parents have found their way into his virtual instruction.

"I am finding that although we cannot meet in person for chess lessons and games, the opportunity for learning is still there. Many families are enjoying this time at home with their children and even some parents are learning how. Chess is a wonderful game and it teaches many life lessons as well."

The global online chess website Chess.com anticipates 10 years of growth on its site over the next three months. Right now, a huge percentage of the world's population is staying home and playing games due to COVID-19, and a LOT of people are choosing chess.

Not long before homeschooling began there was a statewide chess tournament held at a school in Bridgeport. Young players from the region under the direction of Coach Dan Starbuck Pelletier of Dig USA Chess assembled for the 2020 Connecticut State Grade Championships hosted at Roosevelt School.

One-hundred student players from grades kindergarten through twelfth grade competed in five rounds of chess at varying levels of skill. Bridgeport students from Central High School won the Unrated 5- 12 Division, while Roosevelt School took home the Unrated K-4 Division. 

The Tournament was mediated by International Master Jan Van de Mortal — the third highest-rated chess player in Connecticut.

“There’s a lot of beginners from Bridgeport who are getting their opportunity to break into the chess world,” stated Coach Dan. “We’re hoping this ignites a fire in them for chess which teaches them how to play the game and to think strategically in life while having fun."

For information about NECA, email Alex Eydelman at necachess@gmail.com or visit the website here.

For information about Dig USA Chess visit the website here.