Boy Scouts of America Chess Merit Badge Launch!
On Saturday, September 10, 2011, the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hosted the launching of the Boy Scouts of America Chess Merit Badge. Twenty scouts earned the brand-new badge from merit badge counselor and founder of the Chess Club, Jeanne Sinquefield and the special guest, NASA Astronaut Greg Chamitoff passed out the award to fifteen of the scouts who were able to attend the event.
The day’s events included a human chess match played by local scouts, which depicted the most recent Earth verus Space match hosted on uschess.org/nasa2011. The original game was was declared a win for Earth after 22 moves, but the new finale, as reinterpreted by GM Yasser Seirawan and WGM Jennifer Shahade, played the game out to a draw.
In addition to the honor of having Greg Chamitoff as a special guest and awarding chess merit badges to the scouts, he also presented a chessboard that flew with him on the last launch of the Endeavor Space Shuttle during Mission STS-134. Last winter, the Hall of Fame sent a chess board signed by all players in the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship to Greg to be a part of the STS-134 Official Space Kit. The board flew on the mission and was brought back with a certificate. It is currently on display at the World Chess Hall of Fame.
This video produced by Spectrum Studios gives a great overview of the event:
Requirements for achieving the Chess merit badge include things such 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.
For more information about the Chess Merit Badge visit the Boy Scouts of America website. You can also learn about the Chess Merit Badge requirements by clicking here to visit the Chess Club’s website. The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is seeking current Boy Scouts to fulfill the Chess Merit Badge requirements.
Pamphlets are available for sale at the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Special thanks to Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield for their role in making the chess merit badge possible!
Read a great story about the event here.