Boy Scouts of America Introduces New Merit Badge… With Roots That Date Back to 600 AD

By | September 8, 2011

DALLAS, Sept. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Scouts will be able to add a new patch to their merit badge sash—a patch for playing a game. However, it’s a game that requires critical thinking skills, deep concentration, and abstract reasoning. The Boy Scouts of America will introduce the Chess merit badge in September encouraging Scouts to enjoy an ancient game while acquiring life skills necessary for today.

Requirements for achieving the chess merit badge include such things as learning scorekeeping using the algebraic system of chess notation and explaining the four rules for castling. Additionally, Scouts must teach someone else how to play chess, play in a chess tournament, or organize a competition.

“The chess community is excited about this new merit badge from the Boy Scouts of America,” statedBill Hall, Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation (USCF). “We believe that chess has the potential to positively impact young people from every background.”

The Chess merit badge requirements, along with the pamphlet, emerged through a cooperative effort between the organizations and members of the USCF, led by committee chair Ralph Bowman. The USCF offers annual national competitions that attract thousands of students involved in local chess programs.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis will host the official launch of the merit badge in conjunction with the grand opening of the World Chess Hall of Fame. To kick off the launch, Scouts will play in a live human chess match on Sept. 10.  Anyone can join the fun by clicking on the link between1:05-1:25 pm CST on 9/10 to view the live link for the Human Chess match at: www.livestream.com/uschess

“The BSA has had a long history related to the game of chess. Noted chess champion Bobby Fischerwrote articles for Boys’ Life magazine for several years during the early 70s,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “I can think of no better way to introduce the new Chess merit badge to the world than through the activities planned during the World Chess Hall of Fame.”

The United States Chess Federation (USCF), founded in 1939, serves as the governing body for chess inthe United States and is now headquartered in Crossville, Tennessee. The USCF is devoted to extending the role of chess in American society. It promotes the study and knowledge of chess, for its own sake as an art and enjoyment, and as a means for the improvement of society. The USCF is a not-for-profit membership organization with more than 80,000 members. For additional information on the USCF, see http://www.uschess.org.

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