Philadelphia All-Stars Mentors Cross Virtual Borders

Philadelphia All-Stars vs Exeter Juniors


 Pictured: Shira, Jamal, Lind and Amy



1 Srisa (White) v Nick (Black)

2 Shira (Black) v Vignesh (White)

3 Elijah (White) v Reese (Black)

4 Manas (Black) v Agnes (White

5 Sammy (White) v Josh (Black

6 Linda (Black) v Quillan (White)

7 Amy (White) v Ned (Black)

8 Jamal (Black) v David (White)


This past weekend, eight members of the Philadelphia All-Star Chess Mentor Program had the unique opportunity to cross international, virtual borders by participating as a team in an online chess-brigade versus the U.K. The match was against the Exeter Juniors Chess team from Exeter, England, organized by MindSports International. If these mentors felt their neighborhood competition was tough—the U.K. would be a battle unlike any other—and they weren’t even face to face!



Pictured: Linda and Srise focusing on their games

The mentors met on Saturday morning at Drexel’s STEAM focused ExCITe Center that supports initiatives at the intersection of science, art, and design on both university-wide and city-wide levels. There, our mentors were paired against their opponents on MindSports Academy site where the Philadelphia All-Star team triumphed with a 6-2 victory in a series of highly contested matches, proving neck-and-beck the entire day. Perhaps the most exhilarating moment was when Nick from Exeter won with a single second remaining on his clock after Srisa’s time ran out.


 Pictured: Shima Seiki Textile Lab- used to infuse technology with fashion

After the match, mentors were guided on a special tour of the ExCITe Center that included a Magnetic Resonator Piano which uses electromagnets to induce the strings to vibration and Express Robotics which can respond to the environment in a way that a human being might.


 Pictured: Jamal, Amy, Elijah, Sammy, Srisa, Linda and HUBO the robot


However, still lingering for our team was the one opponent left to defeat…and he was no novice.

To finish off the day, the mentors participated in an online simul against Grandmaster Keith Arkell. Several of the All-Stars were excited to test their mettle against a grandmaster, especially when he shared encouragement after their close defeats. Arkell commented: "I found the simul I performed afterwards to be extremely tough. Everybody really dug in against me, and while only one player took half a point off me, others might think themselves unlucky not to have done the same.”

All participants were enthused by this opportunity to test their prowess, oceans away from their competitors. Exeter Chess Club Match Supervisor commented, “I’m really pleased we did this. We had the whole range of skills and ages represented, and the atmosphere all day was just great—cheerful and relaxed, despite the intellectual pressure.” The Philadelphia all-Star Chess Mentors are all too familiar with high tension matches and the intellectual stamina that is required to overcome these tournaments, despite the results.

On behalf of ASAP/ After School Activities Partnerships, we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to engage in a game that has brought such joyous adversity to our team with Exeter Chess Club. We are also thankful for the space provided by Drexel, and the organizing led by MindSports International. We look forward to another face-off soon! 


To read about The Exeter Chess match and their experience competing with ASAP chess, click here.


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After School Activities Partnerships
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