Sarasota Scholastic Chess is a volunteer group of parents, coaches, and chess enthusiasts dedicated to bringing the intellectual discipline and competitive joy of playing chess to elementary through high school students in the Sarasota area (Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and Desoto Counties). We are a collaborative organization for many individual Sarasota school chess clubs. We help students in our own school clubs and collaborate for everyone's benefit, exchanging teaching methods and organizing fun tournaments. Our combined experience can also help other schools develop chess programs for their students.
We organized our first tournament in May 2012. This first tournament was open to all area elementary school players, K-5, and was free, thanks to sponsorship by The NewGate-Field School and Selby Library for the use of their facility. In the 2012-13 school year we expanded the age range to include K-8 in our November tournament and to K-12 at our February 2013 tournament. We switched to Sundays in order to accommodate more families with restrictions or other commitments on Saturdays. The number of participating players and schools is increasing with each tournament, as word spreads. Our February 2013 tournament had 60 participants. We remain nonprofit, and charge entry fees only to offset costs, primarily for the trophies and medals we award to the participants.
Our tournaments are not official US Chess Federation (USCF) tournaments, which removes an added cost that participants would have to incur. We do create an experience very close to that of USCF tournaments, including the same tournament structure and ongoing player ratings that closely approximate those of the USCF system. Some of our tournament players also travel to participate in official USCF tournaments in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and beyond.
We encourage all Sarasota school clubs to join us in this communal effort. Membership is free. If a student's school does not have a chess club, they are still very welcome to participate in our events and activities.
Please join us if you would like to colloborate with our efforts. We could use help with organization, community outreach, and web building/design (particularly if you are familiar with php and Drupal). You can email us by clicking here.
If you are interested in chess for adults in the Sarasota area, check out the Sarasota/Venice Chess Club.
For official US Chess Federation events, see their website: www.uschess.org
Principal organizers of Sarasota Scholastic Chess are Dan and Heidi Bodor, Wolf Weinhold, Rick Knowlton, and Mark Hamel. Special thanks to Tom Fraser, Bob Bayer, Bob Schleppi, Kim Probus, Lennart and Nadine Lopin, and all the parents who also have given their assistance and support through the years.