Success Academy kids compete in chess tournament

March 15, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Students and teachers from several Success Academy Charter Schools proudly display the trophies they earned at a recent chess tournament in Saratoga Springs. Photo courtesy of Success Academy
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Students who attend Success Academy Charter Schools learn all about queens, knights and bishops along with their ABC’s.

Success Academy, which operates dozens of charter schools in New York City, including one in Bedford-Stuyvesant, teaches students as young as kindergarten how to play chess.  When youngsters reach the third grade, they get the chance to join one of the chess teams that compete in tournaments around the city.

“Early exposure, excellent instruction and a proactive recruitment strategy are key to getting students from all backgrounds passionate about the sport,” said Sean O’Hanlon, director of the Success Academy chess program.

The budding chess stars also benefit from the expertise of coaches at afterschool and summer programs.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Nearly 9,000 Success Academy students are currently learning to play chess or are improving the chess skills they have learned, according to charter school officials, who pointed out that the majority of the students hail from low-income families and do not have the financial resources to afford private lessons.

The chess program has spawned fearless students who have no qualms about going up against the best and the brightest from other schools.

More than 130 students from 14 Success Academy Charter School teams from around the city recently traveled to Saratoga Springs to take part in the 51st Annual New York State Scholastic Championships, which took place on March 10-11.

The kids did their teachers and coaches proud, earning several trophies for their chess prowess.

The winners included Tabia Davis, who attends the Success Academy Charter School in Bedford-Stuyvesant and who earned second place in the K-5 Intermediate Division.

Founded in 2006 by former City Councilmember Eva Moskowitz, Success Academy operates 41 charter schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. Currently, 14,000 students are enrolled in Success Academies.

Applications are filed each year from parents hoping to enroll their children, according to Success Academy, who said 17,000 applicants were competing for 3,200 open seats this school year.  

For more information about Success Academy Charter Schools, visit

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