SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Chess Club is about to begin the 15 season of competition. Each of the Sparta schools has a club that meets weekly to practice and learn the game of chess. The students at all levels will be together for the extended season that runs from September 26 through April, according to coach Tom Murray.
- Alpine Elementary School meets on Wednesdays at 8 a.m. in the All Purpose Room,
- Mohawk Avenue School meets on Fridays after school in the auditorium,
- Helen Morgan meets on Thursdays after school in the library,
- Sparta Middle School meets on Tuesdays after school in room 271
- Sparta High School meets on Wednesdays after school in the media center
The Sparta club has a history of success with 21 New Jersey grade level Championships, three middle school Championships, eight regional Championships. The 10 grade team is the 10 Grade National Public School Champions.
“Chess helps students develop intellectual, sporting, decision making, concentration and perseverance skills,” Murray said. The Sparta Chess Club is a 501c3 non-profit and does not receive funding from the schools or the Sparta Board of Education, according to Murray. “Donations are tax deductible and gratefully appreciated.”
The Sparta Chess Club is comprised of players of all abilities including those with autism, ADHD, visual impairment and mental challenges, according to Murray. Murray volunteers his time coaching the students, approximately 280 hours a year.
In June Murray was honored with a Patriot Award from the Sparta Township Council, nominated by Weichert realtor Dawn Corbo.
In an effort to give the young players the experience of playing against strong competition Murray has taken the teams to play in cities all over the country. They have traveled to Pittsburg, Hershey, Nashville, Louisville, Kansas City, Atlanta, Sacramento, Mount Snow, Dallas, Minneapolis, Columbus, San Diego, Stamford, Orlando and Baltimore. According to Murray, the trips while focused on chess, allowed the players and their families to “experience the diversity of this country.”
They went to major league baseball games, “dined on the cliffs of La Jolla and visited Dealey Plaza, along with many other museums and attractions.”
“Come and join the best K-12 public school program in the state of New Jersey,” Murray said.