ASAP Chess is ASAP’s centerpiece initiative, with more than 200 chess clubs throughout Philadelphia offering a safe and engaging activity for 3,500 of the city’s youth (grades K-12). ASAP’s chess clubs meet in schools, community and recreation centers, libraries, places of worship, and other after school programs. The students range in age from Kindergarten to 12th grade.
ASAP Chess immerses students in a positive peer group centered on an activity that fosters creativity and develops decision-making skills. Scientific support for chess is extremely strong. The U.S. Chess Federation (2007) cites numerous research studies on the importance of chess as a means to improving academic achievement, and increasing patience, self-control, and sportsmanship among school-aged kids.
Beyond weekly clubs, ASAP organizes over twenty free chess events per year for youth. These range from informal small group lessons to formal tournaments for 250 people. ASAP sponsors tournaments and events to promote socialization, engender a deeper understanding of the rules of the game, offer youth opportunities to achieve, and celebrate the accomplishments of ASAP Chess kids. The Community College of Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute, Temple University, National Constitution Center, the African American Museum of Philadelphia, Drexel University, the Please Touch Museum, and the Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field have all been hosts to Chess Challenge events, which include: