NEWBURGH – Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) recently presented a Senate Commendation Award to Matthew Tether, an architect by trade and co-founder of Newburgh Chess Kids!, a group started in 2015 to help the children of Newburgh build confidence through chess, as well as certificates to six of Tether’s student chess players. Senate Commendations are one of the highest honors presented to exceptional New Yorkers who have shown a dedication to, and made lasting contributions within, their communities.
Born on the steps of Newburgh’s Baptist Temple Church, Newburgh Chess Kids! found a more permanent home at the Armory Unity Center for its roster of 40+ kids before the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined in-person play. Throughout the pandemic, Tether helped the group’s members continue playing and practicing online, offering them a respite from remote learning and other day-to-day stressors. Over the years, Newburgh Chess Kids! has competed against other student chess teams throughout the state, consistently ranking among the best.
“It’s my pleasure to recognize Mr. Tether with this well-deserved award,” said Senator Skoufis. “By sharing his passion for chess, Matthew has encouraged many young Newburgh residents to build confidence, sportsmanship, leadership, and mentorship skills over the years, and will no doubt continue to do so. Thank you, Matthew, for all you’ve done to give our kids this outlet for play.”
“Newburgh Chess Kids! isn’t about my experience, but about these young players,” said Mr. Tether. “They aren’t just learning to play chess; they’re learning to teach each other because the only way to master something is by teaching it to someone else. I thank Senator Skoufis for recognizing the importance of our group.”
Newburgh Chess Kids! plans to return to in-person play soon.