The Chess-for-Pittsburgh-Youth program is administered by Jerry Meyers, chessmaster and
scholastic director of the Pittsburgh Chess Club and operated in conjunction with the
Pittsburgh School District. The main goal of the program is to bring the benefits of chess to students
in the Pittsburgh Public School System. Over the past several years, scholastic chess programs have
become very popular in Western Pennsylvania. Dozens of private and suburban schools
and around 30 City of Pittsburgh public schools are currently offering chess classes to their students.
More than 3000 children in Western PA play chess, and a typical youth
chess tournament in our area draws 175 to 250 student participants.
Thanks to generous funding from The Buhl Foundation's Frick Educational Fund, The Grable
Foundation, and The Heinz Endowments, The Chess for Pittsburgh Youth program allows students
in Pittsburgh public schools to receive chess instruction free of charge. At the suburban and private
schools mentioned above, each 6 week set of classes is paid for by parents, at the cost of $30
per child. When economics is not a problem, most parents consider this a relatively minor
investment to see their children challenged intellectually. From move one, chess places each
child in the role of independent thinker and creative problem solver. At every tournament we
hold, you can look around the room and see children deep in thought, pondering, puzzling,
strategizing--putting their minds to work. Chess exercises their imaginations and teaches
them the benefits of being attentive, while helping them increase their ability to concentrate.
According to educational researchers, chess also leads to improved math and reading scores.
The basic format of our program is as follows. We generally run two sets of classes a year at each school. The first set usually takes place between September and December, and the second set is scheduled for sometime between January and May. Typically we take around 20 to 25 students in a class.
Each set of classes lasts either six weeks, meeting once a week for an hour, or seven weeks, meeting once a week for approximately 1 classroom period. Some schools use lunch plus recess as a meeting time, with the students eating lunch during class.
A set of classes cost $550, although half the cost is paid by the Chess for Pittsburgh Youth program. Since you will
receive two sets of classes a year, this means that your school should expect to pay $275 in the Fall and $275 in the
Spring to be involved in the program. The Foundations that fund the Chess for Pittsburgh Youth program match
what your school pays to cover the total cost. New schools joining the program will receive free chess equipment for use
in the classes.
The students at your school could be enjoying this great program! To sign up, your principal need only send
a letter on school stationary expressing in interest in chess and requesting to be included in
the Chess for Pittsburgh Youth program. The letter should be mailed to: Jerry Meyers,
Scholastic director, Pittsburgh Chess Club, 4101 Windsor St., Pittsburgh, PA 15217.
April 1 is the deadline to apply for next school year. Only ten new schools per year will
be admitted to the program. For further information, you may call Mr. Meyers at (412) 422-1770.
I will be happy to discuss the benefits with you and your principal and help your school get
To find out how to get your school involved, call Jerry Meyers at (412) 422-1770.