Kids Fight Stereotypes Using Chess in Rural Mississippi

03.26.17 Tonight on CBS, 60 Minutes correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reports on how chess is transforming a county in rural Mississippi. Dr. Jeff Burlington, a burley six-foot-six outsider, has come to Franklin County with a belief that the game can transform a community. With a state championship under their belt, 8th place at the Nationals, and a new Chess Center built in the center of town, he may just be right.

Dr. Jeff Bulington teaches chess to Franklin County, Mississippi students.

Thanks to Steve Wong for contributing to this report.

Chess has been around for 1,500 years but until a couple of summers ago the ancient game was still mostly a mystery to the folks of rural Franklin County, Mississippi. Few had ever played chess before, many confused it with checkers. A chess board was as out of place in the county as a skyscraper, but that all changed when a tall stranger arrived from Memphis to bring chess to the country with a belief that the game could transform a community.

60 Minutes: Kids Fight Stereotypes Using Chess in Rural Mississippi


Dear Dr. Jeff Bulington,
As I watched the CBS 60 Minutes broadcast about you teaching chess to children in rural Franklin County Mississippi, I smiled, my heart was encouraged and my spirits were lifted. Then I cried after I heard the children and parents speak with hope, faith and possibilities.
Thank you so much for doing what so many of my trained and certified colleagues across this nation have been unable to do - teach and inspire children. Thank you for believing that children are able to learn no matter their zip code, socio-economic status or lineage.
I pray that every teacher in America views this interview and is inspired.
With appreciation,
Lauretta Williams

This reminds me of the NZ true story of Genesis Potai portrayed in the film The Dark Horse. Anyone touched by the story of Dr B and the children in Franklin will identify with this great film on how Chess can transform lives. To Watch film

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