Chess is a big deal in this town on the edge of the
Everglades, right up there with Panthers games and shopping at the Sawgrass
You heard right.
Sunrise, a suburban enclave that happens to be home
to the mega shopping mall and Florida hockey team, was recently named
"Chess City of the Year" by the United States Chess Federation — the
only city in Broward County to earn the title. Sunrise joins a long list
of cities recognized in previous years for their commitment to the game,
including Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York City and
Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan is on a mission to bring chess to young
players as a way to help them use logic and learn to think ahead.
The honor, a salute to the city's
scholastic chess initiative, has put Sunrise on the map as the county's chess
The man leading the charge is none
other than Mayor Mike Ryan, a chess aficionado who helped start a chess program
in Broward County schools and just this summer earned an Outstanding Achievement
Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors for his role in bringing chess to the
Magic 102.7, read about the chess initiatives in Sunrise
spontaneously gave a shout-out to Sunrise | Runtime 1.55
Sunrise City Manager Richard Salamon, a chess player himself,
says other cities are looking to get their own chess programs going.
"Our mayor started this and it has just taken off like
wildfire in Broward County," Salamon said. "It's turned into this big movement."
Ryan hopes his mission is to bring chess to young players
will end up helping them at school and beyond.
Every Saturday, Sunrise offers free, openplay chess sessions
at its Civic Center at 10610 West Oakland Park Blvd.
Hikaru Nakamura now
calls Sunrise home
The city also helped bring a "First Move" chess program to
Sunrise elementary schools. That pilot program led to the introduction of
classroom chess for 30,000 second and third graders throughout Broward.
In a twist of fate, America's top chess player Hikaru
Nakamura now calls Sunrise home.
Nakamura bought a place in Sunrise last year after winning a
key to the city for his work in promoting the game. The world-renowned chess
champ has even attended events at Ryan's invitation to give the kids pointers.
"Chess teaches you to think ahead," he said. "It teaches you
to be patient and not rush ahead just to make a move."
Nakamura, who began playing at 7, says Ryan has done what
others could not by getting elected officials in on the game.
In addition to Saturday's 10 Oct event in Sunrise, other Mayors'
Chess Challenges are scheduled at the following locations:
Tamarac: Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon, Ballroom Community
Center, 8601 West Commercial Blvd.
Lauderhill: Dec. 5 at 9:30 a.m., Lauderhill City Hall, 5581
West Oakland Park Blvd.
Coral Springs: Jan. 23 from 9 to 11 a.m., Mullins Hall at
Mullins Park, 10000 NW 29th St (Ben Geiger Drive).
Cooper City: Feb. 27 from 9 to 11 a.m., Pool & Tennis Center,
11600 Stonebridge Parkway.
Wilton Manors: March 19 from 2 to 4 p.m., Hagen Park
Community Center, 2020 Wilton Drive.
The Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, showed off his chess moves in a special
online game against an American mayor as part of an initiative showcasing the
benefits the game has on childrens’ education.
Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin
Sir Robin pitted his wits against
Mike Ryan, the Mayor of Sunrise in Florida, in a match over Skype at the Gate
Community Neighbourhood Centre.
The event, supported by Chess in Schools and
Communities, was part of the Mayors’ Chess Challenge being run across
Florida’s Broward County, including the city of Sunrise. The city has
recently been named as Chess City of the Year by the United States Chess
As part of the initiative mayors
from across the county invite their counterparts from other parts of the world
to take part in a chess game. Schoolchildren from the respective areas also take
on each other.
Pupils from Park Primary, Keir
Hardie Primary and Ravenscroft Primary Schools joined Sir Robin at the event and
played against children from Sunrise.
The aims of the Mayors’ Chess
Challenge mirror those of Newham Council’s Every Child a Chess Player - giving
children in the borough’s state schools the opportunity to learn the game to
help them develop skills outside of traditional learning. Chess helps children
develop concentration, logical thinking, numeracy, problem solving and enhance
their social skills.
Sir Robin said: “I believe that
every Newham child matters and I want to give them the same chances to develop
academically and socially as children in wealthier parts of the country.
“Chess is a fantastic way of
developing childrens’ focus and discipline that can then translate into their
“I have never played chess against
someone on the other side of the world before but events like this are a fun and
great way of showcasing the benefits of the game.”
Mayor Mike Ryan said: “I was
delighted the Mayor of Newham also recognises the values of chess and was able
to take part in out initiative. “The Mayors’ Chess Challenge is really about
exposing chess to as many people as possible. Chess crosses all boundaries – on
the board everybody’s equal.”
The match was declared a draw.
Anyone wanting more information
about Every Child a Chess Player and the other Newham Council’s Every Child
initiatives should see
Sir Robin Wales photo | Ray Morris-Hill
Gallery photos | Tereza Pribanova