SILICON VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- How will Magnus Carlsen top 2013, the history-making year he became World Chess Champion and holds the highest rating of all time? He's joining forces with America's Foundation for Chess (AF4C) to bring the First Move chess program into elementary school classrooms as a tool for enhancing critical and creative thinking skills.
As part of this effort, Magnus Carlsen has agreed to be Honorary Chairman for the non-profit joining a prestigious group of sponsors including Paul Tudor Jones, Silicon Valley Bank, Concur, Qualcomm, ZMD and Two Sigma. This initial grant is the first step toward raising $5M to bring the First Move program to half a million students by 2017. Optimized for second and third grade classrooms, this formal and interactive chess curriculum gives teachers a powerful tool to engage children in learning chess while providing critical skills that will benefit them for years to come.
Carlsen has seen first-hand how First Move engages students, regardless of gender or background. He also recognizes the importance of teaching chess during the school day to give every student the opportunity to learn and benefit from the centuries old game.
"I love the way chess empowers kids," said Carlsen. "I consider First Move to be the most strategic way to give kids an advantage and help them live up to their full potential."
As Honorary Chairman, Carlsen will announce his partnership with America's Foundation for Chess tonight at a special event hosted by Silicon Valley Bank and the Churchill Club, sponsored by Innovation Norway. Magnus will play six people simultaneously while blindfolded followed by an interview with avid chess player Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Facebook investor, to talk about Magnus' rise in the chess world, the value of chess and the impact on kids.
About Magnus Carlsen: At age 23, Carlsen's already storied career makes him a dream champion for the cause. Born in 1990 in Norway, Magnus became a Grandmaster at thirteen years and four months. He was the youngest player ever to be ranked number one in the world at the age of 19. In January 2013, he achieved the highest rating in the history of chess beating Garry Kasparov's legendary record from 1999. In November 2013, he became the World Chess Champion making him the first World Champion from a Western country since Bobby Fischer in 1972. His many accolades extend beyond the chess world; but the game remains his passion, and he welcomes the chance to share it.
About First Move: America's Foundation for Chess developed the First Move curriculum based on the belief that chess is good for kids and schools need powerful tools to engage students and teach critical thinking skills. The interactive program currently reaches over 80,000 students in 24 states and four countries, and builds coveted skills both on and beyond the chess board, including concentration and focus, self-motivation, memory-building and the ability to analyze, plan and execute.
"We worked hard to develop an engaging and turnkey program that helps teachers inspire new avenues of thinking, levels the playing field and builds confidence," said Erik Anderson, Founder of America's Foundation for Chess. "The program has been a great success; we have schools on a wait list and over 300,000 kids in line to receive First Move."
America's Foundation for Chess encourages districts and elementary schools that are interested in First Move and the Magnus Carlsen Critical Thinking Grant to contact them at [email protected] or to visit http://af4c.org.