By Robert Sitt
The U.S. Chess Federation (US Chess) is a nonprofit organization for chess players and supporters. The group has over 85,000 members in over 2,000 clubs, sanctions over 10,000 tournaments and upwards of 500,000 games every year, including 25 national championship events, and represents the United States in the World Chess Federation. This year, the group also hosted an essay contest on how a players’ club activities advance the purpose of US Chess, which is “to empower people through chess one move at a time” and their vision, which is “to enrich the lives of all persons and communities through increasing the play, study, and appreciation of the game of chess.”
In 2015, the inaugural essay contest was won by Orrin Hudson from Stone Mountain, Georgia. The prize: the cover of the magazine “Chess Life.” No, you don’t get the cover; you are the cover. This historic cover can be picked up at bookstores around the country or viewed at www.uschess.org.
According to EurWeb, Hudson is more than just an essay writer. He is a chess champion, a community activist, and motivational speaker. His entry for the contest reads as follows:
“Chess saved my life and I’m using it to both save and change the lives of young people who need guidance and direction. Am I being overly dramatic here? In my case, absolutely not. In the cases of the thousands of young people I have touched and influenced through this wonderful game, I am on solid ground. I was an inner city youth in Birmingham in 1978 and I was on a dead-end road. My heroes were not pillars of the community.
They were cool and “important” but not for the right reasons. That’s who I wanted to be. I expected no more of myself. But a teacher did. Using the game of chess, he unlocked my sleeping potential. He, through the game, empowered me to truly “Be Someone,” which is now my organization’s name. He taught me there is a consequence for every move we make whether it is playing chess or on the street. He taught me to think it out, don’t shoot it out. Now I have debt to pay and I’m doing it with my chessboard. I am reaching young people through chess. I speak their language and they listen. And watch. And learn. And change.”
Hudson’s philanthropic efforts are based in Atlanta, Georgia. The essay is not his first foray into the literary arts. His book “One Move at a Time: How to Play and Win at Chess and Life” can be found on Amazon.com. He has also been on “Good Morning America, CNN, and featured in “People” magazine.
EurWeb noted that Hudson has taught over 20,000 urban youth his motto, “think it out, not shoot it out,” and uses chess to teach them how to make better life decisions. He is the founder of the non-profit Be Someone which can be found at www.besomeone.org.