Checkmate: A Chess Program for African-American Male Adolescents

Mikhail Korenman, Tamara Korenman, Elena Lyutykh


This investigation looked at the influence of a chess program on adolescents’ attitudes towards schooling at an alternative charter school in a high-risk urban context. Participants included school administrators, subject teachers, and 15 chess players, all of whom were African American male students from low-income backgrounds. Interview data revealed that the game of chess had a positive impact on the adolescents’ attitudes toward schooling in a number of ways by: (1) engaging these adolescents in interactions with a supportive school professional, (2) having the students socialize in a violence-free environment, and (3) providing students with opportunities to explore life beyond their neighborhood.


culturally responsive teaching; chess; African-American male

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