54th Street Elementary School Won 3rd Place at the Chess Tutors 12th  Annual Grand Match Gala (GMG) Tournament of Champions, held at the University of Southern California (USC). The GMG is an end of the elementary school year invitation only event wherein the best players from all of the Chess Tutor after school programs compete for individual trophies and medals as well as the coveted GMG Team Championship.

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The nearly 300 entrants and their participating schools hailed from several LA metro districts including: Beverly Hills Unified, Burbank, Culver City, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Inglewood, Lakewood, La Mirada, LA Unified, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance and Wiseburn Unified, as well as several charter and private schools.

Most of the participating schools have been a part of the Chess Tutor program for many years—and have several seasoned chess players to show for it. For this reason, the 54th Street Elementary School students’ third place finish is all the more remarkable, given this was the school’s very first year in the Chess Tutor program.  Indeed, only a handful of their students had ever played chess before the program arrived.

Despite facing considerably more experienced players, this spirited team of young upstarts never wavered. They supported and encouraged each other throughout the long and arduous rounds of the tourney.  54th Street Elementary School powered their way into the top placements led by stellar performances from: 1st grader Jonathan Lee with a perfect score of 9-0-0 (9 wins, 0 losses and 0 draws); 4th grader Amiri Obaid (7-0-2); 3rd grader Uleses Henderson (5-0-1); 2nd grader Kade Clark (5-0-0) and 5th graders William Lee (5-0-1), Bryan Garcia (4-0-1) and Idris Enigbokan (4-3-0) placing 1st, 2nd & 3rd respectively in the 5th grade division. Other notable performers were 3rd grader Kiros Nzuriwatu (3-0-0); Vince Avery (4-2-1) and 4th grader Alexander Naranjo (3-2-1). In the 12 years of the GMG Tourney, theirs was truly an unprecedented team performance.

Coach Derek Richardson, a 19 year veteran NBA Referee and Executive Director of the Why Can’t We Make A Difference foundation, (WCWMAD) in coordination with 54th Street Elementary School Principal Haywood Thompson, sponsored the Chess Tutors program for the entire 54th Street Elementary School student body.  The goal of the Why Can’t We Make A Difference Foundation is to increase students’ academic and emotional interest in school through academic and social enrichment programs for elementary students in underserved school communities of Los Angeles. WCWMAD uses chess as one of many tools to help meet the desired outcome of its program.   The Why Can’t We Make A Difference motto is, “We are here to serve!” (Photo Credit: Charles Ryan Photographer)

Chess Tutors

Derek Richardson

3651S. La Brea Avenue, Suite 767

Los Angeles, California 90016

Telephone: 213-944-2028

Fax: 323-296-0467

Instructor: Chess Tutors
The goal of our Chess Program taught by is to develop academic readiness; improve areas of growth in memory, logic, observation, analysis, theory and concept conditioning. This is achieved by Chess instruction that informs the mind and the emotions in such a way as to structure an emergent mental circuit where motivation and ability multiply to produce achievement in chess and school and life.
The curriculum teaches methods in interactive participation.  Provides each student with a chess set.   Participation in chess tournaments every 8 weeks moving toward increased levels. Finalists are invited to Grand Match Gala on the campus of the University of Southern California.  (USC)
The anticipated Outcomes for our students is to gain greater confidence & strong character.  To  develop sharp memory, problem-solving, logic & reasoning skills.  Develop mental discipline & strong concentration skills.  Develops analytical skills and understanding that certain behaviors carry consequences or reward.  Build patience by developing an aptitude of understanding the time it takes to get a good outcome.  Learn that hard work pays off.  Learn social skills & the importance of good sportsmanship. Increase self-esteem & strengthen rudimentary skills.  To test significantly higher than non-chess participants.
The Chess Program will measure success in a tournament style with all students moving through increased levels of competence.  Mastery of skills is measured by in-class performance and completion of performance booklets.
Performance booklets lead to distinguishing each student by advancing them to the next level: beginner, intermediate, advance, junior expert and junior chess tutor. Results will also be measured by, Academic Performance,  School Engagement and Indices of Student Well Being.