Developing skills for school and for life -- Black United Fund

Chess for Success
is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to help children develop skills necessary for success in school and life through learning chess. Originally formed in 1992 as the Portland Chess Project, Chess for Success (originally Portland Chess Project) was established in 1992 by a group of three friends who had seen firsthand the power that chess has to change young people’s lives. Chess for Success works with low-income K-8th grade students to teach them critical thinking, good decision making, patience, and understanding of the consequences of their actions through the game of chess. I take a quote from their website: Every day the students in our clubs face the very real challenges of living in poverty. And because they attend schools in low-income areas, they face low expectations and lack of opportunities that can be devastating. Chess can change both. Chess, they say, not only is fun and challenging for students, but also produces in-class results and increases self-confidence as students begin to recognize their own abilities. According to their numbers, students who participate in Chess for Success score 17% higher in math and 10% higher in reading.
BUFOR had the pleasure of attending Chess for Success’ State Championship Tournament “Battle on the Board” on Friday, March 15th, 2013 at the Oregon Convention Center. We loved having the opportunity to talk to some of the different schools’ teams and the dedicated volunteers that help run them. We learned that some of the volunteers have been with the program for more than ten years, a testimony to the faith that they have in and the joy that they get from the program. The competition rooms were intense: rows and rows of elementary and middle school students silently focused on the boards ahead of them, so much so that not even the sound of our camera snapping a photo (which seemed rudely loud in the absolute quiet of the room) fazed them in the slightest. Overall, we had a great time at the event and are so thankful for the work of all the staff and volunteers that make such programs and events possible.
We at the Black United Fund of Oregon are proud to support Chess for Success in their mission and inspirational work with youth. Learn more about Chess for Success at