We are a group of individuals united in our passionate belief in the benefits of chess.
Chess trains minds in critical cognitive skills. We are volunteers who enjoy watching children come to realize the power of their minds, first to achieve results on the chess board, and then subtly in their academic focus, and everyday lives. For adults chess is both an engaging pastime and a way of keeping the mind sharp.
History tells us that chess had its origins around 600 a.d. in what is now India. Chess in its modern form has remained virtually unchanged since the 1400s and maintains its global popularity. Such a history of survival and popularity across time, countries, and cultures speaks volumes about its success both as entertainment and in developing the human mind.
We are volunteers dedicated to carrying forward that tradition.
Freedom Chess Academy is a non-profit [501(c)(3)] organization whose mission is to promote chess training and play in Tuscaloosa and western Alabama. We offer a variety of free events for chess players of all levels. Classes are held at the Tuscaloosa Public Library, FOCUS on Senior Citizens, and Veterans Memorial Hospital. We also work with the University of Alabama's 'Every Move Counts' initiative to support chess training within public schools.
Our US Chess Federation accredited instructors use the Scholastic Chess Series curriculum, which allows students to learn quickly learn chess basics while having fun. Beginners receive instruction that interweaves chess instruction with math, history, and language lessons supporting school curricula. Once players have learned the basics, we augment our in-class instruction with Internet-based study options appropriate to different skill levels. As students progress and compete against better players, the demands of the game lead to significant improvements in focus and concentration.
As an affiliate of the United States and Alabama chess federations, we periodically organize chess tournaments including the 2010 Alabama State Chess Championship and the 2012 Tuscaloosa Scholastic Championship.
Board of Directors
Founder, Director of Education, Chess Instructor Rose Marie Stutts, Ed.D
- Founded Freedom Chess Academy in 2000
- Award-winning poet, author and playwright of children's stories
- Tuscaloosa resident since 1973 when she came to the Univerity of Alabama for a masters degree
- Retired 32-year employee of the University of Alabama working in computer operations and as a part-time adjunct instructor
- United States Chess Federation-certified Level III Advanced Chess Coach and Local Tournament Director
- Oblate of St. Bernard Benedictine Abbey which is a major inspiration for her many years of community service
President, Chess Instructor - Neil Dietsch
- President of the Alabama Chess Federation
- Retired information technology consultant, manager, and senior project manager for various Fortune 500 companies/clients
- Webmaster for this site
- Freelance editor for International Chess School
- Tuscaloosa resident since 2000
- USCF-certified Level III Advanced Chess Coach and Local Tournament Director
- Tournament organizer
- Co-author of "Alabama Chess in Schools Initiative"; Advisor/steering committe member to Alabama State Department of Education
- Education: MBA, University of Michigan; BS cum laude - Bowling Green State University
Vice President - Denise Hills
- Director of Energy Investigations, Geological Survey of Alabama
- Worked professionally as an science educator in museums and a college instructor
- Currently serves on the Alabama State PTA Board of Directors; has also served on local and city PTA boards as well as been an active PTA member
- Experience serving on professional organization boards, including the National Association for Geoscience Teachers, the Alabama Geological Society and the Association for Women Geoscientists
- Educational advocate with two children in the Tuscaloosa City School system
Secretary - Chuck Markin
- Software developer at Insuresoft
- Husband and homeschool father of four children, including two avid chess-playing sons
- Life-long resident of Tuscaloosa and Northport
- Education: B.A. in History - University of Alabama
Treasurer - Junsheng (Rocky) Guo
- Accountant at the Center for Business and Economic Research, the University of Alabama
- Tuscaloosa resident since 2008
- Education: B.S. in accounting and finance, summa cum laude, the University of Alabama
- Son and daughter are learning chess at FCA