Spring Appeal Story: ASAP Chess Veteran

ASAP Chess veteran & alum helps “propel” new program in the Northeast

Northeast Community Propel Academy (NCPA), a newly built K-8 neighborhood public school kicked off the 2021-2022 school year with a brand-new ASAP Chess club lead by none other than veteran, Mr. Andrew Skopp. Andrew is a longstanding ASAP Chess coach who has taught the game to hundreds of students. He first started back in 2004 at Austin Meehan School. Recently, Coach Skopp has quickly made chess a major part of his new school’s extracurricular culture with nearly two dozen students joining the start-up club.

ASAP Chess Alum Ta’Dacia Pinkey

To help get his team in top shape, veteran Coach Skopp enlisted the help of another veteran, familiar face – ASAP Chess alum Ta’Dacia Pinkey. Ta’Dacia flew back from her new home in California to share some tactics and strategies with the NCPA students. She got her start playing chess at Meehan back in the late 2000s before moving on to Franklin Towne Charter; it’s there where she started her own ASAP Chess club as a sophomore. During this time, alum Ta’Dacia distinguished herself as a fierce competitor and great advocate for the game. In fact, she is known for famously beating Philadelphia Mayor Mike Nutter in an exhibition match at the ASAP-PECO Checkmate Violence Marathon back in 2013.

Where is veteran chess player Ta’Dacia now?

In addition to showing the NCPA students some pointers, veteran Ta’Dacia has much to share about how chess can help broaden young people’s horizons. For example, in 2013 she was selected as one of ASAP’s ambassadors for the Asomugha College Tours for Scholars. There, she toured different colleges and universities in California alongside former Philadelphia Eagle Nnamdi Asomugha. This experience the alum to enroll at the University of California-Irvine, using the lessons she learned through chess to propel her on her way to receiving a degree in computer science.

Did you know 89% of ASAP club leaders agreed or strongly agreed that ASAP clubs have helped them develop strong relationships with their students?

New team on the block

As for veteran Coach Skopp’s current team, they are just getting the feel of real tournament play. Most recently, his students expressed one of their favorite experiences this year was an in-person 1v1 match with Tacony Academy Charter School. Almost all the students were new to chess, competing against another team for the very first time. This event really generated a sense of enthusiasm among participating students. Consequently, they cannot wait for more opportunities next year to play chess under their favorite coach, Mr. Skopp!

How you can help!

ASAP is privileged to work with so many exceptional educators and alum like veteran Coach Skopp and Ta’Dacia, who are committed to fostering a community of students with an activity that helps them prepare both for school and beyond.  Furthermore, we celebrate the Northeast Community Propel Academy team for giving it their all in their very first season. We cannot wait to see what they do next year!

If you’d like to help ASAP create more opportunities for youth in Philadelphia, we hope you will consider making a donation!