The chess program established a tradition of bringing high quality chess education to the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Since its inception ten years ago GM Shulman has brought world class Grandmasters to the area to teach at summer chess camp. Other Grandmasters such as the US Woman’s Chess Champion Anna Zotonskih and World Woman’s Chess Champion Susan Polgar have volunteered as guest artists at chess clubs. This powerful cultural and educational  experience has excited students to excel and be proud of their skills.

Picture of GM Alex Onishuk the 2006 US Champion with students at the camp.

Chess Without Borders has also established itself as a force in the world of Youth Service of America Students have attended the UN Youth Assembly in new York and 50 students have received Presidential Service Awards for volunteering over 100 hours in one year. Through their participation in learning at the chess program students will make a donation possible towards the technology center at Project Why. This is an organization that brings education to families living in the Govindpuri slums of Delhi, India. The documentary, A Future for Meher was entered in the 2011 Emmy Awards showing the impact of the humanitarian work done through the chess program.

Students are learning chess while serving as leaders in the program becoming stars at the Youth Service of America. Their efforts are recognized through the many scholarships, honors and awards they continue to win each year.

Picture of students at the Quest Academy camp with GM Shulman


Longstanding CWB volunteer Sujit Johnston travelled to India to spend time with Meher and other children from Project Why in the Govindpuri slum in Delhi, India. Sujit along with other students at CWB has been helping to raise funds for Meher’s surgery and education for these last 4 years so it was a fulfilling trip to witness the impact of his work firsthand.

Picture of Sujit giving Meher a check of $100 for Project Why 

Picture of other students at Project Why

We are grateful for the enthusiasm and drive of our volunteers who continue to surprise us with their amazing journeys of self discovery and creativity in their volunteerism.


Ms Sudha Dang, from India was one of the adult volunteers who had come to the Barbara Rose Chess Tournament to check out the special Middle Eastern food. She was impressed by the attendance and the work ethic of the volunteers. She saw the enthusiasm, different roles played by the group of volunteers and the remarkable collaborative effort it took to raise funds. Ms Dang quickly became part of the group as she helped serve food and inspire our youth.


Above is a picture of Ms Sudha Dang encouraging 13 -year-old Toby Schwartz who was the Accountant for the project. The youth volunteers thrive as leaders during these humanitarian projects as they hold important roles and own the projects. When they are successful in performing their roles they gain confidence and are filled with pride at the impact of their efforts. Adult volunteers like Ms Dang are vital in encouraging our students in their unique efforts because very often these young volunteers create more projects for the next time.

We are grateful for Ms Dang’s contribution of $90 which will be used towards developing a technology center at Project Why, which is an NGO providing educational services for families living in the slums of Delhi, India.


The Barbara Rose School Chess Tournament was held on June 9th 2012 at the Barbara Rose Elementary Chess School in Barrington, Illinois. There were 92 players who competed in the tournament, over 100 visitors and another 10 students and 10 adults who volunteered in a variety of roles to make the tournament an educational success. Four sections in the tournament were USCF rated but there was also a non rated section for new players to be introduced to chess tournaments. It was exciting for the players to be able to go over their games with special guest Woman’s Grandmaster Anna Sharevich from Belarus and Woman’s International Master Viktoria Ni.

Another star attraction to the tournament was Gourmet Cook Rima Said from Amman, Jordan who led the volunteer team as they served homemade Middle Eastern food. The mission of Chess Without Borders is to combine chess education with service and philanthropy and this was well served by the team of ten student and ten adult helpers. Students were exposed to the rich world of service and philanthropy by learning valuable skills such as public speaking, hospitality, leadership, organization, cooperation, accounting, cooking and most importantly cleaning up. The tournament raised $700 for the King Hussein Cancer Foundation in Jordan and proudly submitted the check to Ms Rima Said from Jordan.

Local businesses Bertacchi Builders and Nature’s Farm generously donated supplies for the tournament.

Picture of some of the volunteers donating the money to Ms Rima Said for the King Hussein Cancer Foundation.

Students develop confidence and create their own projects as a direct result of the social entrepreneurship fostered through the program.  An example of  this was 2nd  grader Ethan Gagliano who donated $50 at the tournament for sending a little girl living in the slums of India to summer school. Ethan addressed the crowd telling them that he wanted to keep aside some of the money he was given at his 1st communion for this little girl with very few opportunities.

Picture of Ethan speaking to the crowd with Ms Gruber and CEO of the tournament Zachary George (in the red shirt) looking on.


Congratulations to Hough Street School and teacher Maggie Gruber on their outstanding presentation on “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”. Chess Without Borders will further honor their study of Jordan with a service learning exercise serving homemade Middle Eastern food at the Barbara Rose School chess tournament on June 9th. 100% of the funds raised will be donated to The King Hussein Cancer Foundation that treats cancer patients for free.

CEO of this special project will be our chess player and Hough School students, Zachary George. Zachary will head a special team of volunteers including Rima Said and our very own award-winning cook Zein Bertacchi who has cooked up many dishes at our tournament allowing Chess Without Borders to raise hundreds of dollars.

Please also welcome Rima Said, the grandmother of Robert Said both of whom were special guests at Hough Street School. Rima lives in Jordan and is currently visiting Barrington.  Also volunteering will be Gagan Dang from India who will join other volunteers at Chess Without Borders.

We will also have special music provided by Ron Swanson and his student Toby Schwartz.

Please email if you are able to volunteer.

The Jane Goodall Institute has honored Chess Without Borders with a Certificate of Recognition for the humanitarian work we have done last year. We are proud to be able to work together to accomplish many unique humanitarian projects benefiting both the givers and receivers. A copy of this honor can be picked up at GM Shulman’s office for your records and college applications.


VIII Baltic School Chess Festival

VIII Baltic School Chess Festival will be held in 5 star Radisson Blu Daugava Hotel, 24 Kugu street, Riga, Latvia, (Europe) from August 27 (day of  arrival) until September 1 (day of departure) 2012. Opening ceremony takes place on the August 28th at 14.00,  followed by round 1 at 14.30. The last round 7 will be on the September 1st at 10.00.

Everyone is welcome to participate in our festival. We already have confirmation of participation of chessplayers from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Poland and some Scandinavian countries. Each team shall consist of 4 participants:  3 boys and 1 girl, born in 1995 or younger. All participants must have category 1 or higher.

The tournament will be played according to the Swiss System in 7 rounds. Only FIDE ratings will be used for the pairings.
Chess program of the festival, as always, full of interesting and exciting  events: Team Tournament – 7 round ELO rated Swiss, simultaneous exhibition with International Grandmaster, International ELO rated blitz-tournament.

Download PDF flyer here.

Tournament system and rate of game:

The team tournament will be played according to the Swiss System in 7 rounds.

Only FIDE ratings will be used for the pairings.

Time schedule:

August 27th (Monday) – arrivals of the teams.

August 28th (Tuesday)

630 am – 1030 am – the breakfast in restaurant “Panorama”

200 pm - opening ceremony of the Festival, 230 pm - start of the tournament (1st round)

700 pm - session of simultaneous game.

August 29th (Wednesday)

630 am – 1030 am – the breakfast in restaurant “Panorama”

1000 am - the tournament (2nd round)

230 pm - excursion to LIDO Recreation centre.

500 pm - the tournament (3rd round)

August 30th (Thursday)

630 am – 1030 am – the breakfast in restaurant “Panorama”

1000 am - the tournament (4th round)

500 pm - blitz – tournament (11 rounds)

Tournament Fee: to festival participants – 1 LVL, to other chess players – 2 LVL.

August 31st (Friday)

630 am – 1030 am – the breakfast in restaurant “Panorama”

1000 am - the tournament (5th round)

500 pm - the tournament (6th round)

 September 1st (Saturday)

630 am – 1030 am – the breakfast in restaurant “Panorama”

1000 am - the tournament (7th round)

230 pm - evaluation of the tournament and presentation of prizes

after 300 pm - departures of teams.

The address: Radisson Blu Daugava Hotel, 24 Kugu street, Riga.

Contact phone +371 29653095, Polina Ni or +13125470020 WIM Viktoria Ni.


Zein Bertacchi, a passionate and gourmet cook who is often seen as the chief volunteer at the food counter during chess tournaments won a ” Best Cook” Award at the Beit Sitti Kitchen in Amman, Jordan. Zein is a Microbiologist who works at Good Shepherd Hospital in Infection Control. Through her passion and talent for cooking she has helped Chess Without Borders raise over $70,000 by selling, organizing and preparing food at Chess Tournaments along with other volunteers. Zein was one of the founders of the philanthropic movement for the chess program since its inception in 2003 when Rishi Sethi invited her to help raise funds for various charities around the world while students played in chess tournaments.Through the creative use of  her talent and spirit of service she has inspired many young students and parent volunteers to join in this venture enabling the organization to win awards.

Zein is affectionately called the “Falafel Lady” by students and their parents because of the delicious Falafels she serves at the tournaments.

Above is a picture of Zein on the left seen receiving her award from Maria Haddad at the Beit Sitti restaurant in Amman, Jordan.

Zein and many of the volunteers are featured in the Documentary ” A Future for Meher” that was entered in the Emmy Awards last year.


Quentin, a student at North Barrington Elementary School found out that he would not be able to attend the tournament at Quest Academy this Saturday so he thoughtfully donated his entry fee of $25 to be used for Meher’s education. We are proud of students like Quentin who support the mission of Chess Without Borders in their generosity of spirit and their desire to continue learning and enjoying this magnificent game.


Quentin is seen playing chess with his dad while on vacation. We hope they both learned from each other. We are grateful for Quentin’s contribution in promoting chess and positive values for others to follow.


Ron Swanson, a local businessman and musician who has been volunteering with Chess Without Borders has invented an object that can be fitted on string instruments to make them more personal. Ron has a Patent pending and some investors have already made an investment in his product. Ron has called his invention Tuneroos.

Ron is an inspiration to so many chess students as he volunteers with them expressing ideas and demonstrates the connection between art and service. The rich diversity of volunteers from all age groups and ethnicities promotes an environment of learning and ideas as each one interacts with each other. Ron has introduced new methods of fund raising to students and they have responded with enthusiasm and  followed his example. Zander and Aidan Kitchen along with Madison Rossi will be spearheading Marketing for the documentary “A Future for Meher” with the ideas that Ron has shared with them.

We congratulate Ron on his accomplishment.


Herb Munstermann, the father of Jared Munstermann joined in the spirit of service by performing for the crowd of chess parents at the Hough School Chess Tournament. Herb (seen on the right in the photo below) sang and played his guitar along with Ron Swanson (on the left).


By the nature of service students are introduced to the arts, social and educational values and parents like Herb inspire others to follow through their example. Scientific studies have found a strong correlation between math, chess and music and many of our chess students in the program are also talented musicians. We welcome the collaboration between chess and music and invite other musicians to play as well at our tournaments. Jared Munstermann played in the tournament helping us raise $5100 for charity.

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.”  Sally Koch

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