Checkmate! First-ever chess event comes to Promenade Park

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – The city of Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, TakeAStan Chess, FortChess, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne have teamed up to bring the first-ever community chess event to Promenade Park on Sunday, June 13 from noon-6:00 pm.

Rochelle Ballantyne:
An American chess player. She is best known for appearing in the 2012 documentary Brooklyn Castle.

The chess day, open to all ages and skill levels, will also feature special guest chess master Rochelle Ballantyne from Brooklyn, New York who was featured in the popular 2012 documentary “Brooklyn Castle”.

It is available to rent or buy on several streaming sites.

From a difficult childhood, Ballantyne rose through chess to national prominence and earned a full scholarship to Stanford University, graduating in 2017 before earning an MA in education policy from Columbia University last year. In the fall of last year, she began law school at New York University Law School fully funded by the AnBryce Scholarship.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Rochelles’ skill and notoriety attend as a role model for overcoming the challenges of chess and life. Our kids share many of those same challenges,” said Joe Jordan, president, and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne.

Nika Arnold:
Raised in Fort Wayne, Nika Arnold was introduced to chess by her mother when she was very young. She later took full interest in the game and started playing competitively in 2012.

In addition, local talent and nationally ranked player Nika Arnold will provide free workshops for those wanting to learn the game and/or sharpen their skills. Arnolds’ mother introduced her to chess and she joined the chess club at Canterbury School and currently has a USCF rating of 1674. She is three-time girls Indiana state chess champion and is a sophomore at Davidson
College in North Carolina

“Nika Arnold is one of many hidden chess talents in Fort Wayne and we appreciate her contributions to this event. With Nika’s free learning workshops and the planned tournament, we hope to shine light on all the chess skills that Fort Wayne possesses,” said Eli Paulk with Fort Chess.

“When I was asked to help with this event, I agreed without any hesitation,” said Arnold. “It brings me so much joy to be able to show people how special this game is. Chess has made such a positive impact on my life, and I want to share that with as many people as possible. I am so grateful to Brian (Walker) and Eli (Paulk) for bringing chess back to Fort Wayne.”

About 400 players from around the country are expected to learn and play including some beginners for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne. Prizes will be awarded.

We had a chance to talk to Brian Walker – he is the founder of TakeAStan Chess. He shared what they hope to accomplish with the event. But most importantly, what kids can learn from the game of Chess that can carry with them their entire lives.

Walker founded the group after losing his son, Stanford, tragically to gun violence. He and his son used to share the love of the game and play frequently. Walker now teaches Chess, along with other talented instructors, at the Boys and Girls Club for TakeAStan.

He was recently profiled by WANE 15 for the good they are doing with local youth.
(watch below or in this link)

Brian’s love of chess, his son, and teaching children how to play chess while learning valuable life skills is nothing short of inspiring.

Walker says that the event this weekend at Promenade Park will be one for everyone.

So, whether you haven’t played in a while, you are a complete novice, or maybe you just started watching “The Queen’s Gambit” – he is encouraging you to come and see what the game is all about.


You can get more on the TakeAStan Chess Club here