First Move engages young minds and teaches critical and creative thinking skills through the game of chess. While chess can be used at any age, First Move is not a “one size fits all” program. First Move is targeted to the academic standards of 2nd and 3rd grade students. Taught one hour per week by The Chess Lady (via video), classroom teachers facilitate the exercises; no chess experience is necessary.

How First Move works

It Teaches

STEM skills; critical and creative thinking. Students learn to analyze, plan and execute.

It's Targeted

To 2nd and 3rd grade students, helping develop cognitive thinking skills.

It Creates

Intellectual self-esteem and positive social behavior.

It Provides

An academic and social advantage to all kids in every sub-group.

It's Proven

Research and standards based, “First Move increases math and reading aptitude.”

It Engages

Students in fun, hands-on learning while connecting them to core subjects.

It's Simple

Our Chess Lady teaches, classroom teachers facilitate, one 50 minute lesson per week.

It Prepares

Students for success in school, the workplace and throughout life.


* photos of us when we were each in 2nd grade.

Erik Anderson


Wendi Fischer

Executive Director

Trent Dawson

Chief Financial Officer

Kathi Cirar

Director of Program Development

Michelle Auster

Executive Assistant-Development

Caitlyn Anderson

Administrative Assistant

Board Members

Erik Anderson

President WestRiver Capital, LLC

Gary P. Brinson

The Brinson Foundation

Espen Tøndel

Partner Simonsen Vogt Wiig

Alan Heuberger

Portfolio Manager BGI/Cascade Investments, Inc.

John Meisenbach

President MCM Financial

Doug Hirsch

Managing Partner Seneca Capital

Salome Thomas-EL

Principal, Thomas Edison Charter School

Thilo von Selchow

President and CEO ZMD AG Dresden

Aaron Gershenberg

Managing Partner SVB Capital Funds

Logan Allin

VP of Business Development, OneHope

Barron Wall

Managing Associate, ICA Risk Management Consultants

John Thain

Chairman and CEO, CIT Group, Inc.

Advisory Board

Mark Dalton

Tudor Investment Corporation

Richard Conn

Principal and Managing partner

Education Advisors

Dr. Mark Strauss

Broward Public County Schools

STEM Council

The following companies support First Move and our efforts to help kids learn the critical thinking skills used in science, technology, engineering and math careers.