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MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 Club Spotlight - NESSP Kids’ Chess
 Nagendranath Natti
  December 2015

When the SCS made its debut in the 2013-2014 season, I noticed a surge in activity from an affiliate I did not recognize. What was NESSP, and how was it putting together so many successful events? Now, chess parent and organizer Nagendranath Natti tells the story of chess at the New England Shirdi Sai Parivaar temple, an exemplar of local youth-oriented programming.  

NESSP Kids’ Chess was started in June 2013, to provide a playground for elementary school chess players in Chelmsford and neighboring towns. This is part of the many charity activities led by NESSP. Registration is open to all, and there is no entry fee. Participating players can choose to make a voluntary contribution of any charity item like food or clothing which are donated to various organizations in need, or to area schools.

In its early days, as interest levels grew, the group began getting help from some of the older / higher rated players. And then we felt the need for a regular trainer, and to offer training programs. The group currently holds two meetings a week, on Friday nights and on Sunday mornings.

Training programs are offered round the school year for players of all levels, again on an entirely non-profit basis. Some of our trainer profiles include a former US Amateur Women’s Champion, a Class A player. The training programs include classroom lessons, puzzle sessions, and mini tournaments.

To provide a forum for the players who got training in the NESSP programs, the concept of starting USCF rated tournaments took shape. At the time of writing, on average, NESSP has been conducting one rated tournament per month, attended by around 30 players on average.

The unique feature of NESSP tournaments is that each and every event is volunteer-driven, and non-profit. Right from setting up chairs and tables, to post-event cleanup, all event-tasks are handled by players’ parents. All the entry fees collected (after deducting costs), are redistributed to the players in terms of school supplies, gifts, chess equipment or free entries to upcoming events. We even serve a free pizza lunch to all the players and accompanying family members, at no extra charge, for all our events.

NESSP’s chess kids have been consistently playing and winning trophies in many of New England’s prestigious scholastic events, including the Hurvitz Cup, MA Open, NE Open, Spiegel Cup, etc. Internally, we run an annual chess Grand Prix, awarding trophies to the top three players in NESSP events.

NESSP also holds a Kids.vs.SeniFors Chess event at a nearby senior center, which has been successfully running since April 2014. The center supports the kids’ interest in chess and the parents make a contribution the Senior center. This is one chess tournament where the whole town wins!

NESSP’s temple plans for the future include moving to a fully owned premises in Littleton by summer 2016. The new location will be a $ 10 million, 28-acre facility, including a 500 seat hall, which obviously means a lot more chess to come.

NESSP is all about kids, having fun, playing chess…. don’t move until you see it!

More info can be found at