Chess champion makes senior classes his next move

As a young man Orrin Hudson became passionate about chess. He began seeing the board game as a metaphor for life with each move having positive or negative consequences—sometimes immediately, sometimes much later. The observation has become the theme of his work as founder and CEO of the nonprofit Be Someone Inc., which includes his “Get In the Game” chess classes.

The classes normally are taught to young people 8 to 18 years old, but recently he began a series of classes for a different age group—senior citizens. “I know children are our future and I can never stop working with them—I teach children as though my life depends on it—but we can’t forget our seniors either,” said Hudson, whose life has become so closely associated with chess that the often includes the nickname “Checkmate” in his name. He said the game has the same benefits for older adults as it has for youngsters—teaching the ability to strategize and think ahead—but for seniors, there are the additional benefits.

“Let’s start with the obvious,” Hudson said, “chess is mentally stimulating. This game exercises the brain and that’s especially important for seniors so that they can stay mentally sharp; chess improves cognition. All you need to play is an affordable chess set—a board and pieces. Playing the game connects seniors with others, young and old alike; it relieves stress.

Learning something new is good for the health at any age. It provides self-confidence and that is important for seniors. Besides,” he added, “it’s great fun.”

Hudson said no one should dismiss opportunities to learn new things because of their age. He jokes that he’s been in pre-K for 40 years and observed, “School is never out. We should be learning every day we live. If you stop being active, learning new things and taking an interest in what’s going on around you, you die.” He said his oldest student was 93.

At any age, Hudson said, people should remember that they can do hard things. “Life is chess, not checkers,” he said, comparing chess to a far simpler board game. “You have to keep looking at the big picture. Never do the first thing that comes into your head. Study the board until you see everything that’s going on. Your next move should be your best move.”

Hudson said he likes the late Congressman John Lewis’ admonition to get in “good trouble” but added that he has something even stronger: “Listen to good voices; make good moves and get good results.”

Working with the DeKalb Human Services Department, Hudson began Sept. 1 teaching virtual classes for seniors Tuesdays and Thursdays in a program that is to continue for six weeks. He noted that he has taught seniors in the past and found them to be enthusiastic and eager learners. “A 73-year-old man told me, ‘I’m going to beat you.’ He thought he would win because he had been playing longer. I took him out in short order. It’s not quantity, it’s quality.”

Hudson, who has won international chess championships, said playing against someone is not about “besting” them; it should be a positive experience for both players. “I call the chess board ‘the board of education,’ because when you play, you learn.”

The online chess program for seniors is similar to a virtual program through which he has worked with scores of DeKalb youngsters through the county’s Virtual Village summer program. “I expect this program to be every bit as exciting. I have worked before with older folks and I know they have a zest for living and they are eager to learn something new,” he said.

Hudson has taken his Stone Mountain-based Be Someone program across America and has appeared on Good Morning America, the CBS Early Morning Show, CNN and FOX & Friends. He has appeared on the cover of Chess Life and People magazine and been featured in other publications, including USA Today, Essence Magazine, Sports Illustrated for Teens, Jet, Black Enterprise and Time Magazine for Kids. His celebrity supporters have included Jane Fonda, Tyler Perry and Steve Harvey.

The Virtual Chess and Leadership Zoom classes for seniors will be held every Tuesday and Thursday, 1 until 1:50 p.m. through Oct. 8. For more information, contact


2 thoughts on “Chess champion makes senior classes his next move

  • September 17, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Orrin C Hudson is a fraud. His United States Chess Federation rating is 1572, which is leagues below the rating of a chess master, which is 2200, and light years away from grandmaster status of 2500. He is not even on the FIDE international chess rating system, so he never played in any international tournaments, let alone win any. His website mentions that he won two Birmingham City Championships for 1999 and 2000, when in fact he only won the 1999 tournament, and the 2000 Birmingham Championship was won by a candidate master. Even the 1999 tournament included a preliminary qualification tournament among 16 non-master players, in which he got 3rd to qualify for the finals. He’s not a good player. Also, he used his self-proclaimed and fake status to sell his book “One Move at a Time, How to win at Chess and Life”, which is an insult to the chess world. His website also mentions that it is a #1 Amazon Best Seller. I checked amazon. It’s ranking is 1,017,646th in amazon kindle and 1,997,495 ranking on amazon books. Those do not look like the stats of a #1 Best seller. You can check everything that I have listed to be true yourself. Please help me reveal this fraud because he has swindled everyone to receive business and recognition. Now I understand he may have tutored kids in chess, but what he’s doing is not right. He can promote chess among kids and elderly without lying. So please help me because he’s been doing this for a while now.

  • May 27, 2024 at 11:39 pm

    Erm askually 🤓☝️


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *