Many New Year’s resolutions involve bettering ourselves. Sharon Middle School seventh grader Jordan Shapiro started his new year improving other people’s lives, hosting a fundraising chess tournament at Temple Sinai on Sunday.
With his twin sister, Sarah, the two will celebrate a B’nai Mitzvah in March. Hosting the chess tournament was Shapiro’s way of completing his mitzvah project, which requires him to perform a good deed to help others.
Proceeds from Sunday’s tournament benefited the Living Memorial Chess Fund of the Massachusetts Chess Association (MACA). All levels and ages of chess players were welcome to participate.
MACA is an educational non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote chess in Massachusetts and represent the interest of chess players within the state. The Living Memorial Fund, through MACA, provides chess sets and boards to schools, libraries, junior chess clubs and other community groups.
According to Ken Ballou, Sunday’s official tournament director, Shapiro’s efforts yielded $400 dollars that will be placed in the Living Memorial Fund.
Ballou serves on the Board of Directors of the Metro West Chess Club in Natick, considered the largest chess club in New England and one of the biggest in the country.
â€œI’m incredibly proud, this is quite an accomplishment for Jordan,â€ said Ballou. â€œIt’s very unusual for a young man his age to organize a tournament. He loves chess and this is his way of giving back. I think it’s a brilliant idea for a mitzvah project.â€
Shapiro learned the game of chess as a five-years-old when his father, Jonathan, taught him while on a family ski vacation and having some down time. â€œHe surpassed me when he was probably six,â€ said Susan Shapiro, his mother, who herself admits she can move the pieces around but gets lost in the strategy of the game.
â€œChess has been an important part of his life,â€ Susan Shapiro added. â€œWhen talking about his Mitzvah project he wanted to incorporate chess. This is his way to give back to kids that don’t have the same opportunities.â€
A member of Sharon High School’s chess club, Shapiro has competed in many tournaments throughout Massachusetts. According to Susan Shapiro, he also plays Tuesday nights in Natick with the Metro West Chess Club where on average 70-80 players come to compete each week.
Fellow Sharon High chess club member Alec Hirsh, 17 came out to play and raise money for the cause.
â€œChess is a game of strategy,â€ he said. Adding that he loved to play the game because, â€œI have a strategic mind.â€
Chess has become a passion for Shapiro. â€œOver time, chess helps develop patience and thoughtfulness,â€ he said. â€œIt is a great hobby, it makes you think. This project will benefit the community because it will generate an interest in chess for children and young adults.â€
His friend, Rohan Krishnan, 8, of Hopkinton came out to support his friend and is equally excited about the benefits of chess. â€œI like math and chess is about strategy,â€ he said. â€œIt helps kids learn how to do math and concentrate.â€
Shapiro believes the benefits from playing chess include; focusing, visualizing, and thinking ahead.
â€œJordan has become more deliberate. Chess has been great and become an important part of his life,â€ Susan Shapiro said
To learn more about chess in Massachusetts visit, www.masschess.org