Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Montgomery County Chess Movement!

One of the most memorable and inspirational events that I’ve seen in many years in Silver Spring took place on Friday, May 8, 2009 on Ellsworth Drive in Downtown Silver Spring.

It was the inaugural program of the new Montgomery County “chess movement,” organized by Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, and inspired by the life and death of Montgomery Blair High School student, Tai Lam, a chess enthusiast.

Girls and boys, men and women of all ages, races and national origins gathered to play chess near the Silver Fountain in Downtown Silver Spring. On a center stage, on a giant chess board, with giant pieces, passers-by could play chess with an authentic international chess master: Allan Savage, a FIDE Master, U.S. Chess Life Master, and International Master in Correspondence Chess, who is supporting the expansion of chess in Montgomery County. Also in attendance and taking on all challengers was Scott Lowe, a 16 year old Kennedy student and a US Chess Master!

It was really very inspiring to see so many Silver Spring residents so enthusiastically and intently engaged in this centuries’ old game of strategy, recreation and competition.

At the event, Senator Raskin announced that the First Annual Tai Lam Invitation Chess Tournament would be held at the end of May. Tai Lam was the popular Montgomery Blair High School student who was shot and killed on a Montgomery County Ride-On bus in November 2008. His murderer was subsequently arrested and has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Said State Senator Jamie Raskin: "Chess brings people of all ages and places together. It's a universal language. It trains your mind to think ahead, to be confident, to be creative, to be strategic. We are very excited about the Tai Lam Chess Invitational Tournament for kids which will be right back here on Ellsworth in the heart of Silver Spring on Saturday, May 30 from 1:30 to 4:30. The death of Tai Lam was a trauma to our community. It could have been any of our kids lost to the random savagery of gang violence. Fernando Moreno was Tai's chess teacher and a leader for chess in our community and he is really working hard to get all our kids playing. Now we have a movement behind him. Chess should be as big and important to our community as soccer, that other universal game."

Check out the new website for "All the Right Moves" - Montgomery County , Maryland's exciting new chess movement, launched in May of 2009. Its objectives are to build thriving chess clubs in every elementary, middle and high school in the county and to create a vibrant chess culture for our young people. ATRM is convinced that learning to play and master chess will help our children to develop strategic thinking skills and crucial habits of non-violence, mental focus and creativity. is the website for “All the Right Moves”

For more about chess, check out

More pictures from the Downtown Silver Spring Chess event at

1 comment:

Thomas Nephew said...

Thanks for the wonderful write-up, Alan! Hope you'll be at the tournament too.