Ballantyne Performs Simul in DC for Chess-in-the-Schools Day
|By Gavin Francis|
| April 23, 2013|
The Council of the District of Columbia passed a resolution this month proclaiming April 18, 2013, to be “Chess in the Schools Day” in the District. Councilmember Tommy Wells presented a copy of the proclamation to U.S. Chess Center president David Mehler at a reception honoring Rochelle Ballantyne, the 17-year-old chess star from New York City who was featured in the documentary film Brooklyn Castle.
While in Washington, Ballantyne, played a 20-board simul against D.C. public school students at the Town Hall Education Arts and Recreation Center. She also met with students and educators at local schools to promote the benefits of learning chess. Her visit to the nation's capital was co-sponsored by the Washington Teachers' Union, whose president, USCF member Nathan Saunders, supports using chess as a tool to promote higher academic achievement.
Ballantyne is graduating this year from Brooklyn Tech High School this year and will attend Stanford University on a full scholarship in the fall. Her recent performance at Super Nationals puts her rating at just over 2100, pushing her closer to her goal of becoming the first African-American female master.
Ballantyne's appearance and the District Council's proclamation were part of a larger initiative by the U.S. Chess Center, a local nonprofit charity that teaches chess to at-risk children as a means of improving their academic and social skills. The Chess Center has initiated chess programs in more than 80 D.C. public schools and taught approximately 30,000 children the rules, strategy, and etiquette of the game since its founding in 1992.