Some Anchorage students are spending their summer strategizing the game of chess with the group Alaska Kings and Queens.
When you're mapping out the blueprint for success, it's not all fun and games. Just ask 9-year-old Christopher Toscano, part of a group of 15 to 20 kids who play chess year-round. Like the game's best players, Toscano looks at a chessboard and sees not just the next move but also the ones which follow.
"If I come here, then he takes (a piece); I take, he takes, I take and it's check and nobody's attacking," Toscano said during one game.
Teacher Jerod Redwine helped start the program more than a year ago. Through constant instruction and strategy, his approach is simple.
"Just kids playing over the board every day," Redwine said. "Wherever you are in that learning phase, then that's what we will teach you next."
By practicing moves, the idea behind Alaska Kings and Queens is to teach them some chess, as well as making sure they get some life lessons out it too. Focus and patience are required, starting with a game plan and continuing on into the ability to adapt -- an approach Toscano says he uses in his everyday life.
"When I first started chess I couldn't see a bunch of things at the same time, because you have to look at every single piece: where is it attacking, if it moves there, what are the possibilities," Toscano said.
In addition to a summer camp that meets three times a week at Changepoint Church, the Alaska Kings and Queens offer after-school instruction in four Anchorage schools with future plans to expand.