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On Saturday, May 11, The NSCF’s Sunrise Center for Excellence in Chess hosted its annual Champions of Chess Tournament at the Sunrise Athletic Complex. The fourth and final event in Sunrise for the 2023-24 school year, the free tournament saw 103 players compete in two sections: Elementary and Middle-High. For many of our players this was their first-ever chess tournament with several winning prizes. Impressively, we had a record number of girls participate.

In addition to the competition, the trophies, and a free pizza lunch, Coaches Quintin Tanksley and Georges Saba provided game analysis between rounds so our players could learn from their mistakes and improve right away!

Special thanks to the city’s photographer, Jared Blaut for most of these pictures. Thanks always to the City of Sunrise Commission and the Leisure Services Department who support us in bringing chess to the community.

Mayors' chess challenge SUNRISE - SEPTEMBER 2023

On Saturday, September 30, the City of Sunrise hosted its annual Mayors’ Chess Challenge at the Sunrise Athletic Complex. The idea originated with Mayor Mike Ryan who invited a few local mayors and other elected officials to come out and play chess as a way to show support for the educational benefits of the game. Every year new cities have joined us and events are now held in over 20 cities across South Florida.

Most of our NSCF/Sunrise instructor team (Coaches Robert, Amelia, Nicky, Lior, and McKhaila) were on hand, as well as Quintin and Quan Tanksley and Jacorey Bynum. Nicky played a simul, Lior gave an intro lesson, and our Exec Director FM Sunil Weeramantry flew in from New York. Of course, a surprise guest appearance by GM Hikaru Nakamura added to the excitement.

Special thanks to the city’s photographer, Jill Gehring for the beautiful pictures.


On Sunday, November 20, the NSCF, in partnership with the City of Miami Beach Parks & Recreation Department, produced the first Commissioner Mark Samuelian Memorial Chess Tournament.  A National Master chess player, Commissioner Samuelian opened the doors for the NSCF to bring a robust community-focused chess program to the city he loved and served. Sadly, Mark passed away before he could see any of these efforts come to fruition.

Mayor Dan Gelber paid tribute to his colleague at the opening of the tournament and also introduced Mark’s life partner, Laura Dominguez; Laura stayed to speak to parents and cheer on the players.  Despite torrential rains and high winds, 78 aspiring chess players competed in two sections: Elementary and Middle-High School. Some fantastic chess was played and the top section even went into a sudden-death armageddon match to determine first place! Special thanks to the city’s photographer, Jackie Gonzalez for the first 34 beautiful pictures, the rest are from NSCF. 

The second annual Commissioner Mark Samuelian Memorial tournament was held on Sunday, November 5 with 91 players competing. You can see photos on our Florida programs Facebook page.

Community Chess in Miami Beach - May 2022

The NSCF is excited to be partnering with Miami Beach Parks & Recreation Department to launch a community and scholastic chess initiative to the city. Championed by Commissioner Mark Samuelian who earned his National Master title in high school, the effort includes free open play chess every Saturday and Sunday, plus chess instruction to almost 400 students in the city’s summer camp programs.

Our partnership kick-off was a Mayors’ Chess Challenge on Sunday, May 15 at Scott Rakow Youth Center hosted by Mayor Dan Gelber. Our special guests included Elizabeth Tejada, the chess coordinator for Miami-Dade Public Schools, and most of our NSCF Florida staff were on hand to teach and play. (MCC Photos courtesy of Aaron McLellan.)

Community Chess in Sunrise - May 2022

Another successful year for chess in education and in the community was given a special recognition when Mayor Michael Ryan and the Commission declared Saturday, May 14 as Dr. Amelia Hernandez Chess Day in the City of Sunrise. May 14 was also the day for our annual Champions of Chess Tournament. Of course, our Open Play Chess on Saturdays and our special events with Leisure Services continue all year round! (Photos courtesy of the City of Sunrise and Aaron McLellan.)