With some Kasparovian play, and a little help from ALTOUR, the South Bronx could be home to a future United States Chess Federation champion. That’s the hope for the WHEDCO (Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation) Chess Team, and its 8 players aged 9-13, when they travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota to compete in the United States Chess Federation chess championships April 13-15th.
WHEDCO started working in the South Bronx some 20 years ago to provide affordable, energy efficient housing to the nation’s poorest Congressional District, CD 16, where 38% of all residents and 49% of children live in poverty. They support some 30,000 people annually having built 260 apartments for low-income families in the South Bronx with another 293 apartments in the pipeline. The chess team is an extension of WHEDCO’s youth development program. Led by coach John Godoy and Raphy Sanchez, this is the team’s first year competing in the Chess In The Schools tournaments. The hard work is paying off with an invitation to the prestigious US Chess Federation national tournament. ALTOUR is showing its support for the team by providing them airfare to the championships.
Winning chess championships is of course one goal, but these players are also learning valuable life lessons that are bigger than taking someone’s queen. In the words of Christopher R. an 8th grader, “One thing I have learned about chess is to always think before you move.” That is a philosophy we can stand by at ALTOUR.
The team has launched a Youtube campaign to help spread the word. Click below to hear what the team has to say.
Good luck to the team as they display their skills on the national level. For more information about WHEDCO go to their website http://whedco.org