Sunrise Launches Fifth Annual “Mayors’ Chess Challenge” Series

Mayors across Broward show their support for scholastic and community-based chess programs

A new school year is underway – and communities across Broward County are gearing up for a fresh season of Mayors’ Chess Challenges. Sunrise will launch the fifth-annual edition of the series on Saturday, September 29, from 10:00 a.m. to noon at in the Grand Ballroom of the Sunrise Civic Center (10610 West Oakland Park Boulevard, Sunrise 33351).   

The Mayors’ Chess Challenge – spearheaded by Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan in cooperation with Mayors from throughout Broward County – is a series of free and friendly meet-ups hosted on a rotating basis by cities countywide. During the 2018-2019 season, a record 19 Broward municipalities will participate!

Unifying element

Each Mayors’ Chess Challenge event unites elected officials, community leaders, families, and students in support and celebration of the benefits of scholastic and community-based chess programs.

The series provides an opportunity for players of all ages, novices and experts alike, to join in the fun. Instructors from the Sunrise Center for Excellence in Chess are always on hand to help those new to the game.

Ancillary events

The September 29th event in Sunrise will also feature refreshments, a display of exotic chess sets, and an appearance by Florida Panthers mascot Stanley C. Panther. Sunil Weeramantry – renowned chess coach and author of “Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History” – will attend, and all participating students will receive a free membership. Participants will receive a Mayors’ Chess Challenge Passport that can be stamped at each event they attend during the school year. Those with perfect attendance will receive a prize at the end of the season. 

Benefits of chess

“There is compelling research and plenty of stories from teachers and parents that supports the correlation between learning to play chess, development of critical thinking and concentration skills and personal and academic achievement,” says Sunrise Mayor Ryan.

“Chess also teaches important life skills like thinking before you act, increased patience in making decisions, and good sportsmanship. Sunrise has been working collaboratively with partners from throughout the community to develop chess programs and to foster an appreciation for the game among residents of all ages.” 

Sunrise has encouraged the development of after-school chess clubs in all schools; developed an annual Chess Calendar that showcases students’ creativity; established weekly, supervised open-play chess sessions; and worked with the National Scholastic Chess Foundation (NSCF) and the Broward Education Foundation to implement community-based chess training.

Best practices in chess

In 2016, Sunrise partnered with the NSCF to create the Sunrise Center for Excellence in Chess – a central clearinghouse for best practices in chess instruction that also serves to develop new and aid existing chess programs. This coming year, the Sunrise Center for Excellence in Chess will continue its “Chess for Vets” program; expand into Assisted Living Facilities to provide cognitive activity and socialization benefits; and focus on young women in chess through the “Year of the Chess Queens” initiative. 


Former Chess City of the Year

Sunrise was named “Chess City of the Year” for 2015 by the United States Chess Federation (USCF), joining New York City, San Francisco, and other large communities that have earned the prestigious title. Sunrise has also been prominently featured in the USCF’s annual report and its “Chess Life” magazine.


The U.S. Conference of Mayors named Sunrise one of “Most Livable” Cities in America for 2015 on the strength of its scholastic chess programs and Mayor Ryan’s support of community-based chess.


The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance – Broward County’s leading economic development organization – presented Sunrise with its 2016 Education Partnership Award in recognition of the role of chess as an economic development tool.

“Our focus must be on developing the critical thinking skills necessary for the next generation of scientists, doctors, educators, entrepreneurs, thinkers and leaders because they face some daunting global challenges,” explains Mayor Ryan. “Through the vision of the Commission, City staff, and our collective efforts, we are seeing young minds develop confidence in their abilities and build upon inspirational dreams by becoming great thinkers. Along the way, this cross-generational effort is resulting in more chess play in our parks, restaurants and homes, and throughout the entire county.” 

For the full schedule of dates of the Mayors’ Chess Challenge or more information on the City’s free open-play sessions, please


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