Cleveland Alphas host Colas, Black

Founding Jewels of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

At last year’s Scholastic Open in Cleveland, Tony Dunlap had a vision to make his chess initiative into a national program. Last year, he invited Grandmaster Maurice Ashley who was able to give more legitimacy to such an idea.

This year, Alpha Phi Alpha hosted the 3rd Scholastic Open and also invited two more special guests to participate and inspire others. Both National Master before the age of 13, Josh Colas and James Black came to Cleveland with the idea of telling the youth how chess has played such a big role in their lives.

In an interview conducted before the tournament both players had a chance to discuss how they gained an interest in chess, what it has done for them and what their future goals are. Both are outstanding role models with a long list of accomplishments at such a young age. As expected both players shined in the competition, but the message was clear to those who attended.

Open Section. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Josh Colas and James Black, Jr. conferring at 2012 World Open.
Always looking to improve!

Tony Dunlap is clear on what his overall mission is…

Many people believe competitive chess directly contributes to academic performance. Chess truly makes kids smart because it teaches and enhances skills like planning, visualizing, and focusing. That being said, I would like to share a testimonial to the benefits of chess from a friend of mine. In 2012, my nine year old son and seven year old daughter were introduced to chess by Mr. Tony Dunlap. Since they have started playing chess, I have noticed that their mathematical aptitude has increased significantly and that they are both more attentive and careful in their school work—I attribute these improvements to chess. Everything taken to consideration, if the aforementioned skills are truly a benefit of playing competitive chess, then why aren’t more kids playing? Why aren’t there more chess programs in the school systems across the country? That is the question—a question that I am working to address and a question that I am sure that Invest in Chess will do its best to address as well.

Read exclusive interview with Josh Colas and James Black
by Invest in Chess!!

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Contact Tony Dunlap at

Cuyahoga Community College, Metro Campus
2900 Community College Avenue,
Cleveland, OH 44115 or call 440-339-6340


  1. Shout out to Tony Dunlap and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity for the forward looking movement they have in place to help lead the younger generation into becoming altruistic and successful adults. Tony is mindful of this tiny secret, invite kids to talk if you want kids to listen, and so he did just that. He summoned the two young masters to come down to Cleveland to communicate with some young aspiring chess masters. The two low key masters assuredly did not disappoint. Tony Dunlap ran a suave tournament and he is a very generous person.

  2. Alpha Phi Alpha
    2014 Cleveland Scholastic Chess Open

    We were fortunate to have participating in this year’s tournament two outstanding young African American chess masters from the state of New York, James Black Jr and Joshua Colas. Chess Masters Joshua Colas and James Black Jr are from the New York City area. Each achieved chess master status at the age of 12 making them the youngest African American players to ever achieve that rank. While both young men took turns holding that title, Joshua was the first of the two to be recognized as the youngest African American chess master. Now at the age of 16 and 15 these young men are good role models to other youth. They are outstanding students in the classroom and accomplished in scholastic chess. Their accomplishments has taken them to other countries throughout the world representing the United States in chess competition.

    NM Joshua Colas winner of tournament.

    One hundred Sixty three students registered for the chess tournament. While the Cleveland Scholastic Chess Tournament was designed to attract more students in northeast Ohio to participate in scholastic chess tournaments about 42 students from Detroit Michigan chartered a bus to participate in the tournament. I am very thankful to Mr. Kevin Fite and the families from his Detroit city chess club for supporting our event. Scholastic chess isn’t an activity that African Americans normal participate in so it was refreshing to see more than of half of the students in this year’s tournament were African American. The composition of the African American students came from Detroit, charter school Heritage Middle School, Warrensville Heights Middle school, HBCU preparatory and Cleveland Metropolitan School District. We would like to see more participation from other school districts in northeast Ohio.

    Scholastic from throughout the Midwest battle for prizes and scholarships. Kevin Fite (middle back) brought 42 players from Detroit.

    One of the highlights of the Cleveland Scholastic Chess Open is the college scholarships available to the high school section winner and the job internships available to the college section winner.

    The colleges and universities that are offering the scholarships; University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Akron, Alabama A&M University and the Cleveland Alumni Group of Hampton University. The administrators at these universities have been outstanding they understand that if a young person is good enough to win a scholastic chess event there are probably and excellent student as well. By providing a scholarship to the high school winner they may attract an outstanding student to their institution at no cost to them, receive free advertising and exhibit great community public relations by support such a worthy activity.

    Winner of Jennifer Shahade’s “Play Like a Girl”

    The University of Maryland Baltimore County is American public research university, located in Baltimore County, the university specializes in the natural sciences and engineering trying to provide more scientist, their scholarship offer was added this year while the others have been on board for two year. Alabama A&M University added an additional scholarship offer; a scholarship to the highest finishing female (senior) in the high school section, that offer is outstanding. The University of Akron was the first to support us last year. The support of these institutions reflect the outside the box thinking of its administrators and leaders. We wish the other universities in Cleveland like Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State would consider supporting our students, community and scholastic chess tournament.

    Cuyahoga Community College is a very progressive thinking institution when it comes to providing opportunities to our community. Serving as the host of the Cleveland Scholastic Chess Tournament is only one small service, they have provide several chess training and teaching opportunities to youth and adults over the last three years. They are truly living up to their mission to promote individual development and improve the overall quality of life in a multicultural community. We anticipate having the 4th annual Cleveland Scholastic Chess Tournament October 17, 2015 again at Tri-C Metro campus.

    Diamond Shakoor shined in Cleveland! Tony Dunlap (right) was the organizer of the event.

    Other scholastic chess events have provided the opportunity for a scholarship to a section winner no one has provided a job internship until GE corporation partnered with us last year and this year. A job for playing chess? Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has always supported education we have taken a step forward by arranging the ultimate reason for a young person to go to school, stay in school and finish school and that is the opportunity to be employed. We believe that the youth in our community need opportunities to change their situation, opportunity to a better life and scholastic chess is one of those available opportunities.

    Chess Master Joshua Colas won the high school section and Chess Master James Black Jr finished second they had to play against each other with Joshua winning. However, they had strong stiff competition from top rated chess players in northeast Ohio; Jonny Botek of Gilmore Academy, Joel Jaffe & Ian Golias of Solon High School, Brennen Keuchel of Hawkens Middle School, Kent Lui of Mayfield High School. Gabriel Ewing of Case Western Reserve won the College Section and opportunity for a job Internship with GE.

    James Black, Jr. of the “Brooklyn Castle” fame
    was edged by Josh Colas for the title.

    Jason Clinton (1944), Jonathan Clinton (2170), Diamond Shakoor (1789), NM Joshua Colas (2400), NM James Black (2320)

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    Tony Dunlap, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

  3. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. founded in 1906 at Cornell University by seven men with the ideas of promoting more intimate contacts between Black men at the Ivy league campus. Its membership stretches across the globe with the idea of providing a vehicle for self-improvement, upliftment of the youth and in general, betterment of all mankind. One of the fraternity’s national program is “Go to High School, Go to College”.

  4. Grettings chessdrummers, In an earlier post concerning young J.Colas he was expressing some issues with going beyond the 2400 level in chess. Adia why havent you givin this child my Phone Number so he an Learn ULTRAMODERNISM? Hi Sophia!!!

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