In 2003, while discussing the lack of African Americans participating at the tournament level of chess, Ted Fagan thought it would be great to have an organization that could groom strong chess talent for tournament play. At this point in the MD/DC metropolitan area, there were only a few places for youth to play chess and very few chess clubs in the Prince George’s County. Also, there were very few strong African American chess players able to regularly participate in high-level tournaments.
Ted, who has a strong passion for chess and an even stronger desire for youth to acquire the skills chess promotes, decided to get the ball rolling. To start, he spoke with county officials, the local school board, educators, parents, and met with members of the community to introduce this concept of teaching value life skills through the game of chess while developing, building, and nurturing relationships. The concept was well received and Ted moved forward.
In February 2004, EAGLE Chess Academy was incorporated. It obtain 501(c)(3) status approval in June 2004. EAGLE Chess Academy, Inc. is dedicated to teaching children how to think, using the game of chess as a primary educational tool. Our instructional process was developed to focus on the specifics of the thinking process in a way that allows children to see how the thinking process works in terms of how to consider options, consequences, planning, and implementation. Chess seminars are held weekly at many local libraries. Established chess clubs meet regularly to engage in recreational games. Chess class during the school year are taught at many local private and public schools, in addition to homeschool groups gatherings and community centers. Our summer months are filled with classes offered as curriculum through summer camps that have partnered with the Academy. In the past, we’ve been proud to partner with a variety of community programs.
As word spreads throughout the chess community and the youth educational arena, the organization continues to grow. In sitting down with participants of the Academy’s programs, one gathers not only great stories, but also learns to think strategically on many levels. In birthing and nurturing many champions, at some point we hope to provide opportunities for youth to travel around the country and earned national recognition from the U.S.C.F.
EAGLE Chess Academy has initiated in-class chess programs in several schools and camps in the Prince George’s County area and more than 700 students are actively learning and playing chess. Next year, the number will be close to 1200. Through our programs, EAGLE Chess Academy instructors and classroom teachers work together to build chess into existing curricula so that the benefits of the game carry over into other aspects of the students’ learning experience.