Black businessmen use chess app to help students

Ralph Jones Chief Executive Officer, Doug Jackson Vice President of Sales, and Andre Dickerson Chief Service Administrative Officer

By Joseph Phillips

When it comes to chess masters, few can compete with the likes, ranks and royalties of Grandmaster, World Chess Champion and legend Bobby Fischer.

But when it comes to the business of chess, three visionaries from Hyde Park hope to challenge that perception by investing in the many lives of the youth residing in the areas of Hyde Park, Kenwood and Washington Park.

Ralph Jones, Andre Dickerson and Doug Jackson are three Hyde Park businessmen with a vision and over 40 years of experience in corporate America, who are now changing the landscape of how the game of chess is played, both on the board and off the board, through education apps.

The men formed the organization Youth Development Systems Inc. about six years ago. Jones, the CEO of Youth Development Systems (YDS), said the organization specializes in the areas of education, business and the service sector.

The men partner with the local schools, businesses, educators and nonprofits in the community to provide online educational help for youth in grades 3-12, by improving their critical thinking and concentration skills through a chess training app.

“Our program is not only designed to provide kids with critical thinking skills through the game of chess but allows them to apply those same critical thinking skills to everyday life,” said Dickerson, chief service administrative officer of YDS.

“Our mission is to design innovative curriculum solutions and provide professional development options to create transformative learning experiences that meet the demands of the 21st century learner,” Dickerson said.

The men have obtained partnerships and financial support from business leaders and have reached their financial goals through grassroots marketing, sweat equity, self-funding and volunteer help.

“We are looking to build strong business relationships in the community while developing sponsorships, partnership, business and education strategies that achieve administrative, community and teacher buy-in,” said Jackson, vice president of sales for YDS. “Now is the time.”

For more information on the Youth Development Systems Inc. chess program call 800-906-9759 Ext 5 or Ext 1 or email:

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