UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — More than 200 students played in an online chess tournament funded by an Upper East Side lawmaker over the weekend, marking the first time the annual event was played virtually.
A total of 235 student participated in this year's Council Member Ben Kallos Chess Challenge, a spokesman for the lawmaker told Patch. The tournament, originally set to take place at the Upper East Side's Eleanor Roosevelt High School, was played online because New York City school are shut down as the city deals with the outbreak of coronavirus.
Kallos sponsored the event with chess non-profit Chess in the Schools, which is dedicated to providing low-income students with chess lessons and other developmental programs. Chess in the Schools
"I love chess and I love computers, what better way to practice 'social distancing' than playing chess from home... This online chess tournament will go a long way in helping keep children busy and doing something productive while they have to stay indoors," Kallos said in a statement.
The Upper East Side lawmaker also thanks Chess in the Schools CEO Debbie Eastburn for working with the online chess site chess24.com to move the annual tournament to an online venue.
"We have long believed that chess is an important part of a young person's education and life, providing lessons that go far beyond the chessboard," Eastburn said in a statement. "Those lessons must not stop simply because coronavirus has fundamentally disrupted our lives, and we must work hard to ensure that these essential opportunities remain for our young people."
The event's move online also allowed students from outside of New York City to participate in this year's event, a spokesman for Kallos' office said.