By Andria Barrios

What is the trick to helping children gain confidence, improve in problem-solving skills and ultimately become better citizens of society? Statistics show it lies in teaching the game of chess, and Chess for Success Incorporated of Brandon does just that.

“The business was created because of my passion for teaching and to help kids understand knowledge about their own thinking, which is not taught in traditional educational settings,” explained founder and head director, Cedric Alexander, of Brandon. Alexander and three additional directors Kellie Alexander, Ted McNair and Yvonne Montell all work together to further instill the ability to play chess into the youth of the greater Brandon area.

“Chess links to solving a variety of life problems,” said Alexander, and this company intends to help children progress to greater levels of critical thinking and analysis. This intellectual game is not merely a pastime or hobby for the people of Chess for Success, it is a way to enhance students in their everyday academic lives, as well as in their future.

This beneficial program’s mission is to teach kids of all ages to develop the basic skills of playing chess, and then eventually move on to more rigorous programs and tournaments. Although it was established only three months ago, Chess for Success has been 41 years in the making, as Alexander has played chess the majority of his lifetime.

Presently, this company holds classes at four schools, including First Baptist Christian Academy and Literacy Leadership Technology. Chess for Success Inc. also hopes to expand its outreach and bring awareness to the citizens of Brandon about the benefits of teaching children chess. Although chess is not currently considered a part of the traditional public school extra- curricular curriculum, Alexander and his organization believe it should be.

For $70 per month, students can receive four sessions lasting two hours and incorporate fun into learning through interactive chess competitions and tournaments. Located at 322 W. Robertson St., this company is open for registration through September, come in Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Two ches­­­s sessions are also held on Saturdays 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.