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Perrymont Elementary School Chess Club Keeps Students in Check

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Lynchburg, VA - Life is like a game of chess, and a Lynchburg man is making the first move to teach a group of elementary students about the game.

When the bell rings on Fridays at 3:45, most students at Perrymont elementary sprint for front door.

But not the kids in the Chess Club, they analyze, strategize and attack. Brett Matthews is not a teacher, nor does he claim to be an avid chess player. He's just a parent, who wanted to give students something to do after school. "And chess seemed like a great game, cause it is a thinking game" said Matthews.

Administrators were on board from the start and so were the kids. "Especially on a Friday afternoon, you would think that most kids are ready to go after a long week, but they are always eager to come" said Matthews.

Matthews says the centuries old game does more than keep the kids occupied, it also allows them to develop valuable life skills. "Confidence to overcome ambiguity and apply some reasoning skills to make decisions where there is not a clear answer" said Matthews.

Matthews says his vision is a scholastic chess program in every Lynchburg school. "We have a few kids in the program who that I'd say are quite talented and have potential" said Matthews.

But he is taking it one move at a time.

Matthews' GoFundMe goal was to raise $500 dollars to buy each Chess Club student a set to take home. He met that goal and last Friday he was able to give them their own set.

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Through a 21st century grant, administrators are able to provide snacks and rides after every meeting.

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