Saul Ramirez

May 9, 2017
Canter Press
Paperback, $14.99 – ISBN 978-0-9977402-3-3
Hardcover, $21.99 – ISBN 978-0-9977402-4-0
160 pages
Education & Teaching | Chess | Biography | Young Adult


Saul Ramirez (El Paso, TX)

Middle school chess coach and art teacher;

Author of The Champions’ Game



Elena Meredith | | 512-481-7096 | Twitter: @elenameredith




In April of 2015, a team of 12 middle schoolers—“border kids”—from South-Central El Paso surprised the country by taking first place in the national chess championships. The 11, 12 and 13-year-old chess players at El Paso ISD’s Henderson Middle School largely credit their success to one man: Saul Ramirez, a 30-year-old dad and husband who teaches art at Henderson during the day and coaches the chess team after school. The story of Ramirez and his students is chronicled in The Champions’ Game, a testament to the resilience and spirit of children who dare to dream.


“An inspiring, true story . . . a natural for the big screen.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“An engaging illustration of the power of chess to transform lives and communities. For any educators who wonder if chess could make a difference in their schools, this is a must-read!”
—Jerry Nash, National Chess Education Consultant,


Saul Ramirez is the chess coach and art teacher at Henderson Middle School in El Paso, Texas, where he coached his students to win the national chess championships in 2015 and 2016. Ramirez grew up in El Paso’s Segundo Barrio, located in one of the poorest zip codes in the United States. When he discovered chess as a child, it created a pathway out of misfortune. Ramirez, like his current students, competed in chess tournaments across the country and was a Texas state champion. Ramirez graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in May 2010 and started teaching at Henderson Middle School in August of that same year, where he continues to create new paths for the dreams of his students. He lives in El Paso with his wife, Edna, and two children, Saul Jr. and Frida.


  • The Path to Becoming a Champion: The students of El Paso ISD’s Henderson Middle School who beat the odds to win the national chess competition in 2015 and 2016
  • The artful genius of Saul Ramirez, a young art teacher and chess coach from Segundo Barrio who is starting a revolution in El Paso
  • Life on the Border: The identity of being a Fronterizo
  • Rules for Chess—and Life: Lessons for students, parents, middle grade educators and administrators on how the rules of chess can teach life principles and skills such as visualization, critical thinking and strategic planning
  • Recruiting More Girls to Play Chess: The first year Henderson went to the Texas state championships, one girl competed; this year about 16 are competing


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