Don't think chess is a sport? Our Jay Warren (politely) disagrees

Posted at 7:01 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 06:59:32-04

CINCINNATI -- Watch out, Bengals fans. Paul Brown Stadium doesn’t just house football.

There’s another sport played at Paul Brown; the stadium has hosted the Queen City Classic, a youth chess tournament, for 16 years. 

Perhaps no one on your staff knows more about the sport of chess than our own Jay Warren. When he’s not covering Butler and Warren counties, you can find him with a chessboard, teaching young people the tricks and strategies behind the game.

Warren founded the chess program at the Greater Cincinnati Chinese School four years ago, and he has taken several teams to the Queen City Classic.

This year, he said, 650 kids participated in the tournament. He brought 25.

Maggie Fennell is the executive director of Cris Collinsworth Proscan Fund, an organization that works to promote childhood development. She said the chess programs grow each year.  

“We've grown to six hundred and fifty players this year,” Fennell said. “We've had as many as 10 states represented.”

Like Warren, Chess Grandmaster Gregory Kaidanov believes the game introduces powerful life lessons.

"It teaches them so many things, some of them are obvious, like logic, ability to see ahead be responsible for your actions,” Kaidanov said.

Third-grader Andrew Zhou likes the sport for a different reason.

“It's very social, and you can make lots of friends with chess,” Zhou said.

Maurice Ashley, also a Chess Grandmaster, said chess requires training and a level of devotion to improve.

"It demands focus and concentration,” Ashley said. “It demands intensity. Chess may not be a physical sport, but you're definitely sweating when you play."