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The MasterMinds Chess Club was founded in 2001 as an outgrowth of a beginner’s & intermediate chess class held at Temple University’s PASCEP program (Pan African Studies Community Education Program). The club’s name came about as a result of the children participating in the class. The name, “MasterMinds Chess Club,” was presented to the club as a possible name by a young girl and chess student, voted upon by the members present, and carried with a majority vote. Hence a name was born.
The PASCEP chess instructors at that time were Ernest Moore and Elvin Wilson.
Mr. Moore has taught many chess classes across the city. He has conducted chess classes for people of all ages at various community centers throughout Philadelphia for over 30 years. They include the Nicetown Boys & Girls Club and the Mennonite Church Community Center in North Philadelphia. He has also taught many students while sitting on the steps outside his North Philadelphia home.
For several years, it has been Mr. Moore’s dream to establish a chess club that would serve the needs of the African-American community in Philadelphia. With the MasterMinds, his dream has come into fruition.
A native of Philadelphia, Elvin Wilson is one of only two active African-American chess masters in Philadelphia. He achieved the title of National Master in May of 1990, at the age of eighteen. Mr. Wilson is also the current Philadelphia Chess Champion.
Elvin was introduced to the game through the chess program at Cooke Junior High. He continued his chess career at George Washington High School, which had one of the best ess programs in the country, at the time.
After high school, he enlisted into the Air Force where he traveled and competed all over the world. Currently, he is majoring in Computer Information Science (CIS) at Temple University.
Elvin feels that chess has definitely paid dividends in all areas of his life. Now that he’s back in Philly he’s made a point of giving back some of what chess has given to him. In addition to the MasterMinds, he teaches chess at John R. Reynolds and Frederick Douglass Elementary Schools.
Mr. Wilson demonstrates and models the best of what chess has to offer. He is a National Master, an outstanding teacher, a compassionate community member, and a humble human being. We at MasterMinds are fortunate and blessed to have him as one of our instructors.