What do you get when you pair up a Westchester teen with an older adult who’s looking for a weekly chess game?

The new Intergenerational Chess Program – starting this September at the Solomon Schechter School in Hartsdale. Modeled after its highly successful Manhattan-based sister program and originally inspired by a friendship between the generations that formed over the game, the program only requires participants have the desire to socialize and maybe even bond over a chess board.

Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Seitz has been playing intergenerational chess through the program for the past two years and will continue during the upcoming school year. He’s seen first-hand generations come together, share stories and learn from each other. Some “opponents” engage in conversation with him, while others are more focused on the game at hand. But either way, he always learns a little bit about them each time he plays. His chess game has even improved.

chess-matesThe new program comes to Westchester through social services agency Dorot. With its mission of “innovatively bringing generations together,” Dorot is non-denominational and welcomes anyone interested in playing or learning to play chess. The older and younger generations will come together from 4 to 6pm on a designated weekday to be determined, at the Solomon Schecter School. Snacks will be served, and Dorot will help orchestrate transportation to ensure participants can attend regularly.

Ever since she was a young girl, Shirley Katz-Cohen has wanted to learn chess, but the board was reserved for her brothers. Now, with the program which has been in place on the Upper West Side, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to learn something new. At this [older] stage of life, she says, “I love the challenge and feel a great sense of accomplishment.” Shirley knew nothing about the game other than being able to identify pawns. And she has some serious opponents, playing against kids who’ve been at the game since they were 3 or 4 years old. She’s so intent on learning that she’s enlisted the help of a young teen, William, who comes to her home for extra lessons. Even more impressive is that everyone who started with the program is still attending.

Visit DorotUSA.org/westchesterchess or call Cippi Harte at 914-573-8906.

ZUGZWANG: A situation in a chess game in which a player is forced to make an undesirable or disadvantageous move. (as defined by TheFreeDictionary.com)

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Susan E. Ross is founder/publisher/curator of Westchester Senior Voice print magazine and its accompanying website. She is a Certified Senior Advisor and part of the boomer generation. She is committed to informing and connecting readers to their community as they navigate their 55+ lives while sometimes also helping their aging parents- all with a tone of positivity, and the pursuit and expectation of successful aging.