Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, has played a lot of football games at Lincoln Financial Field. However, Vick made a special appearance at the Linc earlier this week not to play football, but to play chess against some of Philadelphia’s most talented chess players.
Vick competed against some great young chess players as part of the Eagles Chess day sponsored by ASAP/After School Activities Partnership and the Eagles Youth Partnership.
“It’s really nice to play chess with the kids to see how much they’ve learned and how much they know,” Vick said. “Any time you have a chess game, you have fun doing it. You’re trying to outplay your opponent. You’re trying to take more pieces from them. These kids can play. They’re real good. I’m proud of them. It’s good to see how much they’ve learned.”
The Eagles Chess Day is an invitation only event for 225 of the strongest and most dedicated young chess players (grades 2–12) from ASAP’s Philadelphia Youth Chess Challenge — a community of 3,000 students playing in 230 afterschool clubs in schools, libraries and community and recreation centers across the city. In addition to meeting and competing against Eagles like Vick, these outstanding students went head-to-head in four rounds of competition. After that, there was an awards ceremony in the Eagles locker room.
Jowel Ammons, a student from PMA at Leeds, had a chance to play chess against Vick. Ammons is a big Eagles fan. He was excited to face the Eagles signal caller.
“Playing chess against one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL was absolutely the best,” said Ammons, who will attend Penn State in the fall. “Michael Vick knows how to play chess. I was a little intimidated at first from the moves he was making. I said, ‘Wow, he knows how to play chess. I might be in for some trouble. But down the road, I got my confidence up. I gave it everything I got and won the game.”
Since 2002, ASAP has worked to increase the number of after school enrichment programs for school-aged youth in an effort to improve academic achievement and decrease the incidences of youth violence, and to provide information on these programs to parents, caregivers and youth-workers. ASAP’s programs complement classroom-learning and are correlated with academic achievement.
The Eagles Youth Partnership (EYP) has been a key supporter of ASAP and the Chess Challenge since its inception. Established in 1995, EYP is the charitable wing of the Eagles, focusing on health and education initiatives for children throughout the Philadelphia Region. EYP and ASAP share in their missions to improve opportunities and enhance the quality of life for children and youth in Philadelphia. Sarah Martinez-Helfman, executive director of EYP, has been very impressed with Vick’s community involvement with the youth.
“It’s great,” Martinez-Helfman said. “Ever since Michael got to the team, he’s been a great example. He’s been involved with the schools and the community. This is another example of that. He loves to play chess. This was a perfect match.”
Vick continues to make good moves on and off the field.