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Checkmates: Teens Mentoring Kids in Florida Chess Club

Diana Pagano-Diaz


What makes a chess club hip? Could it be that watching hours of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit made it more popular, or is it simply because of the players and facilitators involved?

At the Miami-Dade Public Library System’s South Dade Regional Library, it is more of the latter. The library’s weekly Chess Club program has been offered for nearly a decade, but in March 2020 it came to a halt when in-library programming was suspended due to COVID-19. When the club resumed at the beginning of 2022, turnout was lower than it had been in the past. We had a low turnout of about five kids when we started after COVID, but it steadily increased to about fifteen to twenty kids weekly, not including the teen interns.

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