Alpha Phi Alpha promotes Scholastic Chess

Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Incorporated is the first collegiate fraternity founded by seven Black men at Cornell University on December 4, 1906. The idea was to build an organization in which these students (and those like them) could maintain more intimate contacts in order to pursue scholarly endeavors.

The foundations of the fraternity is based on the ancient Egypt mystery system with the Sphinx of Giza being the icon exemplifying strength and nobility. The organization boasts 290,000 members since its founding with chapters in the continental U.S. as well as chapters in the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. It boasts a number of famous members and the organization is known for their civic activities and quest for scholarly excellence.

“Our vision is to make a chess tournament something more than displaying one’s skills and kids having fun. It’s about opportunities for a better life.”

~Tony Dunlap

Part of the aims of the organization is to not only serve the larger community, but to place special emphasis on the uplift of the youth. Tony Dunlap, a member since 1980, spearheaded a chess initiative after having volunteered as a chess coach for youth in the Cleveland, Ohio area. He learned chess at age 12 and years later after becoming a parent he saw chess as a vehicle for helping his children develop social and analytical skills.

Dr. Martin Luther King with fellow Alpha Phi Alpha members.

Last year, he launched a scholastic tournament and enlisted the sponsorship of multinational corporations such as General Electric (GE). The event drew 118 students from around Ohio and there were several benefactors such as RPM Inc., Farris Management, Susan & Angelo Stames and of course the members from Delta Alpha Lambda chapter. This year the event will retain these sponsors as well as attract additional sponsorship from Cuyahoga Community College and fast-food giant, McDonalds.

Two participants in Delta Alpha Lambda’s chess program.

This year there will be scholarship offered as University of Akron, Alabama A&M University and Hampton University have pledged to be possible donors. The new innovation this year is to offer job internships for the collegiate participants. This may be the first time that a scholastic tournament has offered such an opportunity as a reward for chess excellence.

GM Maurice Ashley

The 2013 Cleveland Scholastic Open will feature GM Maurice Ashley and will be hosted by Dunlap’s Delta Alpha Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. From October 24-26, Ashley will visit schools, conduct a simultaneous exhibition at Cuyahoga Community College and hold analysis sessions during the tournament. There will also be a number of trophies and prizes (including iPads, Kindles and scholarships).

Dunlap told The Chess Drum’s Daaim Shabazz that he hopes to have the fraternity take this on as a national project with tournaments in all regions. Currently the fraternity has ongoing national youth programs such as “Go-to-High School, Go-to-College” and “Project Alpha”, but chess would provide an avenue for critical thinking. Alpha Phi Alpha is one of many civic groups attempting to solve the social malaise of the Black youth with positive programs. According to Ashley, the initiative is one he firmly supports.

“When I heard about what the chapter was doing, it was a no-brainer for me. Their main mission is to serve kids and that’s what I’m about.”

(Article: International chess champ coming to Cleveland,, 29 September 2013.)

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated
Delta Alpha Lambda Chapter (Cleveland, Ohio)

presents the

The 2013 Cleveland Scholastic Open

Saturday, October 26th, 2013
Cleveland State University, Student Center, Ballroom
2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115

Registration begins at 8:00am…
call Tony Dunlap 440.339.6340 for more information!



  1. On October 26, 2013 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Delta Alpha Lambda Chapter will host the 2nd Annual Cleveland Scholastic Chess Open on the campus of Cleveland State University. Last October we issued; a $4,000 scholarship, $500 in college tuition stipends, $1,300 in educational tools like iPads & Kindles, $400 towards saving bonds, the traditional trophies and medals as awards to the winners and participants in the scholastic chess tournament.

    Delta Alpha Lambda Chapter plans on offering the same type of awards this year with a little twist. This year we hope to offer the winner of the high school section the opportunity to select from a list scholarships (currently on the list is the University of Akron, Alabama A&M and Hampton University Alumni as possible donors). We hope for the winner of the college section to have the opportunity to select from a list of job internships (currently GE Corporation is on the list as possible donors). We are expecting to add more colleges and corporations to both list.

    We are developing a list of colleges offering scholarships and companies offering internships. To my knowledge no other scholastic chess event has offered job internships. This is huge for the community, participants, the corporation and all involved. Our vision is to make a chess tournament something more than displaying one’s skills and kids having fun it’s about opportunities for a better life.

    The Delta Alpha Lambda chess program committee is working hard at trying to establish an educational program for our youth that would

    • develop or enhance their academic skills
    • provide an activity that would occupy their time and minds
    • offer an alternative to being in the streets
    • make available scholarship dollars to help further their education
    • provide avenues for job opportunities
    • let kids have fun

    Tony Dunlap
    Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

  2. Pingback: Daily Chess News Links October 11, 2013 |
  3. Congratulations to Jonathan Clinton on Winning the Collegiate section of this Tournament! We are very proud of you and your brother; Jason! You are both very humble champions! Keep leading by example!!! Peace and Blessings from The Shakoor Family! TURN UP! Started from the Bottom; now we HERE! Yes Sir! Salute!!!

  4. I wish the City of Cleveland had a chess club for youths 11-18 years old. The chess clubs in the surrounding suburbs strongly prefer their residence partake, otherwise, a non-residential fee is posted. The Cleveland Metro School District has a chess club, but it’s during homework weekdays and far from where I live. There is chess club at the JFK Recreation Center – the focus is basketball, basketball, and more basketball. The Harvard Community Center – no chess club. The youths around this area speak and say they’re bored, bored, bored… Please have something… if not Cleveland, why not our local YMCA or YWCA in Cuyahoga county.

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