Creating a Chess Movement

My name is TC Ball aka the Black Knight, I am the Founder and Director of the West Coast Chess Alliance in 2009. The West Coast Chess Alliance is a not-for-profit chess advocacy organization, under the Fiscal sponsorship of the EdFund. Our mission is to utilize the many educational benefits of playing chess to engage, enrich and empower young minds living in at-risk communities.  We are an official affiliate of the US Chess Federation, the governing body for chess in the USA. We believe playing chess if taught properly can promote self-esteem, develop critical thinking and problem solving skill sets for young minds.

I have been playing chess for over 40 years.  I have been involved with community chess outreach reach for 34 years. I am a member of the United State Chess Federation (USCF) since 1984, achieving an official rating of 1795.  I am a currently certified USCF Tournament Director and a certified USCF Chess Instructor.

I started playing chess in college after the post Bobby Fisher years. Thinking back, my reasoning for learning the game was because all the “cool guys” were playing chess. I developed a passion for the game, I saw so many parallels to life. It was a game where your wit, tenacity and game was all you needed to win. I enjoyed the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, knowing they both can be, just one move away.

After returning to Richmond, I decided to start a community chess club in the early 80’s. I remember something my Mother would say to me. She said son, there are a lot of things going on in our community that we have no control of, but one thing we do have control of is the positive things not happening.  Chess is my positive thing, my way of giving back, my way of paying forward.

It has become my passion, seeing young minds develop round the Royal Game of Chess. Our motto is to, “always thinking before you make a move”.  It is our goal to become chess an important part of the Richmond, CA community.

We provide affordable, fun and high quality chess education through school and community based programs. The most important aspect of our mission is to develop in-school and after-school scholastic chess programs.   In addition to our school programs we organize tournaments, offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Chess teaches valuable lessons for developing students like problem solving, critical thinking, spatial awareness and goal setting. Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, it is an enrichment activity used in many affluent school districts.

The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions.” Benjamin Franklin (On the Morals of Chess)

"Chess is a good game for everybody,"