Glenn Bady becomes FIDE Trainer!

Life Master Glenn Bady has been involved in chess for nearly 50 years and was part of the contingent of Philadelphia-area masters from the Black community. Bady paired with the late Wilbert Paige at West Philadelphia High School to match rival Bartram High, which fielded Norman Rogers and Raymond Robinson. Over the years, Bady has focused more on coaching than playing and recently became certified as a FIDE Trainer.

Glenn Bady analyzing at World Open
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Posting on his blog, he wrote his motivation…

The reason I pursued the FIDE Trainer title was to demonstrate what Black chess players can do to advance and earn titles. I believe older players must lead by example for younger Black chess enthusiasts. Obtaining the FIDE Title indicates a commitment to enhancing chess within your community. That’s how I viewed it.

There has been much talk about how to advance the chess agenda in the Black community, but there have never been any coherent solutions. Numerous members of the community are engaged in various aspects of chess, including directing, organizing, coaching, and writing. However, there remains a shortage of trainers within the Black community to spur interest in the game and help propel promising players forward.

“Through chess, a child develops math, reading, and analytical skills which will serve them in future academic endeavors.”

There was an important meeting at the 2002 World Open about charting a path for Black success in chess. However, the conversation seemed to center around funding, but a larger issue may be establishing a sustainable subculture for chess that doesn’t evolve around blitz. Many players seem to lack access to top trainers, but with the online platform, these resources are available. However, costs are still an impediment. Bady spoke further on this point.

I feel it’s my responsibility to support the next generation of chess players, especially within the Black community, where the costs of hiring a trainer are often prohibitive for most children. We possess the talent but lack the guidance to enhance our skills.

Philadelphia has long had a rich chess history in the Black community, and the interest is everpresent. The legacy of Vaux winning seven national championships remains a footnote in history. Some of the aforementioned players were influential in establishing the chess culture and assisted in the success of local schools. While there exists a demand, Bady sees a shortage of chess training in the Black community and seeks to fill that demand.

Bady created Challenging Heads in 1996 with the mission of “spreading his love of chess to students in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.” Today, his mission is being realized, and he seeks to establish a chess academy catering to children and adults, rated 1200 and above. According to his LinkedIn page, Bady asserts, “Through chess, a child develops math, reading, and analytical skills which will serve them in future academic endeavors.” We have seen this in practice as African-Americans have traditionally used chess as a platform for academic excellence. Bady is hoping to maintain this tradition.


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