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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Five questions with … President of Florida Scholastic Chess League

Today we chat with Willard Taylor of Temple Terrace, president of the Florida Scholastic Chess League. Taylor has been a chess instructor in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Florida for more than 35 years, teaching roughly 6,000 children how to play what he calls “the great sport of chess.” Greatest moments: Coaching the 2001 National Championship Team: Tampa’s Berkeley Preparatory School; and his 3-year-old grandson, Ethan James Taylor, boasting he has learned the names of all the chess pieces. Is there an ideal age to begin learning chess?
I guess the answer is when they first become interested. Remember, kids will do anything that interests them. Chess is more than a board game; how does it teach concentration, strategy, etc.? Yes, more than a board game. Funny, the NFL is always saying, “There's a real chess game going on between coaches and players,” but chess also teaches responsibility more than anything. What chess events are going on in Tampa at this time? The Florida Scholastic Chess Championship is being held April 16-28th at the Hilton Westshore. There will be 350 of Florida's elite players descending on Tampa for this yearly event. Tampa has many individuals and teams that are favored. What about online chess? Do most devotees of the ancient game prefer playing with actual chess pieces? We all like online; you don't have to set up the pieces at the end of the game, LOL. But OTB (over the board) is the most fun. You get to see your opponent squirm. What is the last book you read (not about chess)? “Finding Florida, The True History of the Sunshine State” by T.D. Allman.

George Wilkens

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