Youngest-ever African American chess master Joshua Colas to mentor Sunrise kids

Joshua Colas

Sunrise, Florida – On Friday, March 15, International Chess Master Joshua Colas will host two seminars for South Florida children on the power of chess. Following a morning session at the Broward Youth Treatment Center, Mr. Colas will meet with the students of Bair Middle School. The public is then invited to join Mr. Colas at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 16 for a three hour open play chess meetup at the Sunrise Civic Center located at 10610 W Oakland Park Blvd.

National Master at age-12

The son of Haitian immigrants, Joshua Colas learned chess from his father at age 7 and became the youngest ever African American to achieve the rank of National Master at 12. An active player in National Scholastic Chess Foundation (NSCF) tournaments, he went on to represent Team USA in World Youth Chess Championships from Greece to Brazil.

 On this visit to South Florida, Mr. Colas will partner with the Sunrise Center for Excellence in Chess—a community development project of the NSCF that was founded in December 2013—to support the educational and community impact of scholastic chess programs in the area. Among many other initiatives, the Sunrise Center for Excellence in Chess provides instruction and help at the ongoing Mayors’ Chess Challenge—a countywide series of free chess meet-ups spearheaded by Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan.

 “We want to celebrate Joshua’s high level of play and encourage kids to see the academic and social benefits of chess in their own lives,” said NCSF Program Director Robert McLellan. “His story and success illustrate beautifully how chess players of all ages, including those just learning, often see their investment in the game mirrored in communication, literacy, and strategy, among many other facets of life. Chess has given Josh a great head start including university scholarships and opportunities to travel the world.”

 Mr. Colas grew up in White Plains, New York and as a freshman won the coveted New York City High School Chess Championship on his path to winning 6 national championships and being named to the All-American Scholastic Chess Team every year since 2009. He recently achieved the rank of International Master-elect and is currently on a full scholarship at Webster University in St. Louis, where he plays on the most successful college chess team in US history under the tutelage of chess Grandmaster Susan Polgár.

Encourage after-school chess clubs

In addition to the Mayors’ Chess Challenge, Sunrise has encouraged the development of after-school chess clubs in all schools and developed an annual Chess Calendar that showcases students’ creativity. The 2019 calendar, themed “Chess Queens Rule”, focuses on encouraging young women in chess. 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.

 To learn more about chess programming in Sunrise, including the City’s free weekly open-play sessions, visit www.sunrisefl.gov/chess.

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