“Taking Life One Move at a Time”: Bright Minds RVA Chess Club Launches This Month | Latest Richmond News

Theodore Andrews (left to right), Bernice Travers, Fleming E. Samuels and Denise Lewis launch Bright Minds RVA Chess Club, which will host free classes for teens at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.

Mark Robinson/times-dispatch

The goal is bigger than the game, say the co-founders of Richmond’s newest chess club.

Bright Minds RVA Chess Club launches this month with a series of free lessons and an inaugural tournament for teens living in the city. Beyond friendly competition, organizers say the club’s aim is to instill essential life skills in youngsters that youngsters can take with them, long after someone has checked and mate.

“Strategizing, creative thinking, taking life one step at a time — I think that’s all really important,” said Bernice Travers, former president of the Richmond Crusade for Voters and co-founder of the initiative.

The COVID-19 pandemic thwarted an initial plan to launch the club last year, but Travers and co-founder Fleming E. Samuels reignited the idea this summer to provide a different outlet for youngsters. Samuels, a retired Richmond Public Schools administrator, helped start two previous clubs at Franklin Military Institute in the East End and George Wythe High School in South Richmond.

Samuels said the game can be a way for youngsters to attend tournaments in places they’ve never been, or even graduate school for players who show an aptitude.

“It opens doors,” Samuels said. “We want these children to look to the future.”

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