Standing on the left is Fr. Michael Pfleger, Senior Pastor of St. Sabina, in Chicago, behind the podium stands Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, standing, with the microphone, Ralph Jones CEO of Youth Development Systems, Inc.  (YDS)

Ralph Jones stated that Youth Development Systems, Inc. helps young people increase their decision-making, focus, concentration and critical thinking skills through Chess training.  He explained that YDS considers poor decision-making skill a major factor determining the dire circumstances in which many young black men find themselves.

At his last news conference as Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan agreed that Chess was an excellent vehicle for developing critical thinking, focus and concentration skills.  However, the Secretary indicated that developing these skills was only part of the solution.  Secretary Duncan said that in his opinion, the most import issue is that black youth see no opportunities, no future and often, at very early ages, don’t believe they will live to see their 23rd birthdays.

After hearing the Secretary’s persuasive discussion of the issues and possible solutions, YDS is re-doubling its efforts to relate Chess strategies with real life situations.  YDS is developing instructional content that shows how planning two and three steps, or more, ahead and analyzing all alternatives and before making decisions can help create a safer and brighter academic, career and social future, even in rough urban environments.

YDS created the Fun with Chess Learning System (FWC).  Which uses instructor led classes and proprietary online software with videos to explain Chess piece movements and strategies.  The videos use avatars to explain the strategies and tell how the strategies relate to situations outside of Chess.  The FWC curriculum aligns with Common Core and College & Career Readiness standards and objectives.  FWC captures detail data so that metrics such as time on system, Chess puzzles solved and matches won can be reported for each student.

If you have a background in psychology, social science or child development and can help us develop content described above or if you would like more information at FWC, please call 800-906-9759 Ext 1 or email