Chess is Centerpiece of New St. Louis School Founded by Juvenile Judge Jimmie Edwards
Edwards launched the academy in response to the number of student troublemakers who, once expelled from school, would end up in his courtroom. Innovative Concept Academy occupies the old Blewett Middle School on Cass and 19th street and currently serves 97 students grade 6-12 who've been kicked out of other city schools
The students attend mandatory chess classes twice a week, with their instruction paid for by financier Rex Sinquefield's Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.
The St. Louis school district pays for the building and teachers. The students also can take lessons in golf, ballroom dancing and creative writing.
"Most of my kids are impulsive, reactionary and they lash out without thinking through the consequences," Edwards tells the Journal. "Chess teaches them patience and teaches them that there are consequences to bad decisions. In chess, you can lose your queen. In life, you can lose your life."