Young chess players raising money to travel to state, national championships

February 11, 2015


Members of the Minor Threats Chess Club.

The Minor Threats chess club whose members are West Philly schoolkids in grades 3 through 8, is preparing again this year for a series of important competitions. Coach Jason Bui is planning to take his pupils, about 15 kids, to the following events happening in the next few of months: PA State Scholastic Chess Championships in Lancaster, Pa., the High School National Championships in Columbus, Ohio, the Junior High National Championships in Louisville, and the Elementary National Championships in Nashville.

“These trips make a huge difference in these kids lives. They experience so many “firsts” in life through chess. They learn so much about themselves and the world though chess,” Jason says.

This year, Minor Threats will be partnering with the Paul Robeson Chess Club and probably a few other teams on these trips. “We hope to take about 30/40 kids to each tournament. I’m trying to take more kids to more tournaments than ever before,” Jason said. However, most of the families Jason works with can not afford the cost of attending these trips. “Without the help of the community we will not be able to go,” he said.

Thanks to community support, in 2013 Jason was able to take 10 kids to the State Championships and eight kids to SuperNationals in Nashville, TN. In 2014, 14 kids were able to travel to the State Championships, 10 kids went to Junior High Nationals in Atlanta, GA, and six kids went to Elementary Nationals in Dallas, TX.

If you would like to help these young chess players again, please follow this link to the club’s fundraising page on

3 Comments For This Post

  1. Garetha Hughes Says:

    I am the mother of Tahvon Hughes, age 11, a member of the Minor Threats Chess Club. Tahvon has been playing chess with the Minor Threats for approximately 3 1/2 years. He was first introduced to chess by his coach Jason Bui who was also Tahvon’s third grade teacher at the time. Chess is a very challenging strategic game that causes you to think ahead, hard and fast sometimes. It also requires patience. Since Tahvon has been playing chess he has become more proficient in all school subjects, he loves to figure things out, his confidence level have grown, his communication and people skills are becoming more developed and its giving Tahvon a boldness in a positive way. He competes in competitions where there are just a handful of people to ones with hundreds or thousands, all ages and ethnicities. During matches or competitions they are never scolded for losing. Instead, they are taught to identify and accept their mistake, figure out what they should/could have done(either on their own, with the help of teammates or others at times), refocus then prepare for their next match. No one is ever allowed to mope for too long. Our children are able to utilize these strategies in their everyday life. If you fail or make a mistake in life don’t waste time blaming yourself or others, look at it for what it is, figure out what you need to do differently, don’t be afraid to ask for help maybe get a different perspective, refocus and get back in the game. Keep a positive attitude! Chess is also teaching Tahvon to think ahead and to have multiple back up plans. My family as well as many others are suffering from some financial hurdles and so traveling was not really an option but through donations, fundraisers, payment plans, etc., our children have been able to travel to places they only heard about. These experiences have opened Tahvon’s mind and left an imprint that there is so much more out there than what he sees around him “A whole new world”. Not only is chess helping Tahvon but it is opening my eyes to greater possibilities. I am also implementing these strategies in my life. I will forever be grateful to Coach Bui for introducing my son to chess. He has imparted lessons that will last Tahvon a lifetime. Lessons that encourage him not to settle in life. Coach Bui is very consistent with his passion for helping our children excel. He has a sincere heart and goes beyond himself continuously to make sure each child is exposed to endless opportunities. In other words it isn’t just about chess with him. Coach Jason Bui is a great rolemodel and parent partner. I pray that the Minor Threats Chess Club will continue on and be exposed to even more greatness.

  2. Jason Bui Says:

    Thank you Ms. G. for the kind words. Thank you for putting into words what I don’t always know how to. Tahvon is a lucky to have you. Thank you for believing him. Thank you for believing in me. The kids in the Minor Threats have changed my life. They are going to go on and change their communities and the world.

  3. Jason myer Says:

    Mrs. Garetha Hughes, what a great comment you made! I’m in Dallas and just started teaching my son.

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