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Troubled Ferguson Schools Try Something New: Chess04:52Download

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Chess Grand Master Maurice Ashley, right, shakes the hand of his opponent, a student from Walnut Grove Elementary School, after defeating him in a friendly match at a news conference to announce an initiative by Ascension and the St. Louis Chess club to start chess clubs in the schools of the Ferguson-Florissant school district, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 at Walnut Grove Elementary School in Ferguson, Missouri. (Tom Gannam/Invision for The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis via AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Chess Grand Master Maurice Ashley, right, shakes the hand of his opponent, a student from Walnut Grove Elementary School, after defeating him in a friendly match at a news conference to announce an initiative by Ascension and the St. Louis Chess club to start chess clubs in the schools of the Ferguson-Florissant school district, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 at Walnut Grove Elementary School in Ferguson, Missouri. (Tom Gannam/Invision for The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis via AP)

The fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last year - and the riots and protests that followed - drew attention to the city's problems, including a lack of opportunities and a school system where students are suspended more often and graduate less frequently than any other district in Missouri.

This fall, the city decided to try to do something to help students improve their academic performance and reading skills. With private funding, the district's 20 elementary and middle schools, with the help of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, implemented an after-school chess club.

Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, talks with Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson about how the program is doing and why chess helps young people.

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This segment aired on November 5, 2015.

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