A new season of Broward County’s Mayors’ Chess Challenges is underway! Spearheaded by Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan, these free and friendly events are held monthly during the school year, drawing attention to the benefits of chess for both schools and community.Sunrise hosted this month’s event, drawing a record crowd of over 300 from across Broward County.“We were overwhelmed by the community’s support,” said Mayor Ryan. “It speaks volumes for the public’s understanding of the academic and social benefits of chess.”More than 50 chess sets were in play during the Mayors’ Chess Challenge at Sunrise City Hall. The event also featured giveaways, refreshments, and a giant outdoor chess set (courtesy of the Florida Renaissance Festival). Instructional videos played in the background, with plenty of opportunities for hands-on coaching.The Mayors’ Chess Challenge also went international, as Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, England, joined the festivities via Skype and played a friendly match against Mayor Ryan. Schoolchildren from the UK also faced off against students at the Sunrise event.Though the event was full of fun and games, Mayor Ryan believes in the overall benefits of the sport.“Our focus must not be exclusively on tournaments and trophies, but instead on developing in the academic environment the critical thinking skills necessary for the next generation of scientists, doctors, educators, entrepreneurs, thinkers and leaders,” explained Mayor Ryan. “Through our collective efforts, we are seeing young minds develop confidence in their abilities.”The next Mayors Chess Challenges heads to Tamarac on November 14, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Ballroom Community Center. Participants will receive a “Mayors’ Chess Challenge Passport” that can be stamped at each event they attend over the coming school year.To learn more about chess programming in Sunrise – including the City’s free, weekly, open-play sessions – visit www.sunrisefl.gov/chess.