Lindsay Martin, Academy Prep Center of Tampa
Chess presents a realm of infinite possibilities for the minds of Academy Prep students. Weekly chess class is a requirement for every enrolled student, where learners develop skills in the categories of concentration, critical thinking, abstract reasoning, problem solving, pattern recognition, creativity, analysis, and evaluation, to name a few. Headed by Coach Michael Young, the chess program teaches students to create solutions and put a plan into action. Additionally, students very interested in chess can elect to take additional, advanced classes during enrichment throughout the week. Because of his enthusiasm in the classroom, Coach Young has created a devoted group of students eager to improve and even more eager to win. Preparing for a chess tournament is a very demanding and rigorous process at Academy Prep. The students who wish to represent us give up their recess time during lunch in order to compete for much coveted spots on the chess team. Multiple matches are played over several days, as Coach Young watches over the students, keeping his eye out for our school’s next chess stars. Once the team is selected, the students truly begin to focus on the details, practicing opening moves and counter moves over and over again. “I looked up more openings. I needed to expand my knowledge of how to plan my beginning,” said Dameer, Academy Prep Class of 2019. The National Scholastic K-12 Championship was his first time representing APT at a national tournament. “I practiced the Evans Gambit and the Candidate Method which is used to evaluate what moves can be played and what you shouldn’t play.” Through chess, our students learn how to analyze a given situation, focus on relevant factors and, in turn, eliminate distractions. As one of our Centers of Excellence, chess is a capstone program fostering a competitive chess culture on our campus.