The Franklin Chess Program has a new home at the Whittington/Nigel Zachary Wentworth Building which has recently been renovated.
Learning and playing chess has increased exponentially in Franklin County for children and adults alike. In June 2015 veteran chess instructor Dr. Jeff Bulington, formerly of Memphis, joined the newly formed Southwest Mississippi Chess Foundation (SMCF) to lead a chess program in county schools. Assistant chess coach Bobby Poole, who is also a United Methodist pastor, joined SMCF after he retired from C Spire in 2015. Since then as executive director of SMCF, Dr. Bulington and Mr. Poole have introduced chess to over 150 students in lower and upper elementary schools in Franklin County, as well as teaching adult classes.
The new program is privately funded. The chess program has the potential to improve analytical thinking and academic achievement for participating students for years to come. Currently, the elective program is offered to students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Their goal is to add a grade each year to the school chess program.
Due to the success and popularity of the program, the SMCF has set up the Franklin Chess Center in downtown Meadville at the Whittington Building, now also known as the Nigel Zachary Wentworth building, a spacious two-story brick building which was originally built in 1913. The renovated building is dedicated to the memory of the late son of Hal (Wimpy) Wentworth and Joann Seale Wentworth. The schedule of the Franklin Chess Center is posted on this website and accommodates up to 100 students at a time.