The Most Amazing Game!
Children, teens and adults love to play games. Why? Because it is fun! Chess is one of the best games anyone, any age can play. The game of chess is one of those surprising tools that educators are discovering around the world. It spread and developed through the world in the 6th Century from the Middle East to Russia and Europe. The ancient nobility learned chess as an integral part of their education. At one point in the 15th Century the Catholic Church tried to put restrictions on people playing chess because it was so popular and it took up too much of their time.
Now, there is substantial research that shows the educational benefits of chess. Chess improves concentration, visual imagery, critical thinking, problem solving, abstract reasoning, pattern recognition, synthesis and evaluation. It also promotes imagination, creativity, independence, divergent thinking and the ability to focus better. Research studies in schools across the country and around the world also show that chess helps students obtain higher reading, math and science scores on standardized tests.
There is an interesting film starring Ted Danson called Knights Of The South Bronx that describes David MacEnulty’s teaching chess at a school in South Bronx in New York. Many of his students came from unstable backgrounds. His students became champions and stayed in school when many of their peers dropped out. this story is inspiring and hopeful. It is the classic story of triumph over adversity with the game of chess as the ticket out of a life with limited prospects.
Chess accommodates all modality strengths. It gives immediate feedback for moves. Chess also creates a pattern that when used faithfully breeds success. The American’s Foundation for Chess uses chess as a learning tool to teach higher level thinking skills, advanced math and reading skills, and build self-esteem in students. They have designed a program that is connected to State Standards for second and third graders called “the First Move”. (http://www.af4c.org) It is fun and easy. Whether you are a teachers, parent or grandparent you can contact them about the possibility of them coming to your school or schools district. I do have to warn you, however, that they do have a long waiting list. Throughout my teaching career I used many different tools to reach my students. Children of all ages look at “games” as just fun and they let go of the resistance they might have to learning certain tasks. Chess, Othello, Mastermind and Backgammon were also fun and helpful in developing skills, focus learning to interact with each other.
I do hope you have enjoyed this blog and would love to hear any experiences you have had around chess.