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Bridge the Gap

The game of chess helps young people learn to concentrate, think logically, overcome obstacles, spot patterns and categorize information. It helps with the development of problem solving skills, planning, patience and focus of thought and self- discipline.

Chess is a competitive activity, but good sportsmanship and fair play are taught as essential elements of the game. It is mostly a one on one activity, (although some games are played on a 4-way chessboard), teamwork is also an important element. This element comes into play when club members must practice and work on problems together.64N1 Chess Club will provide challenges for students while helping build confidence and self- esteem. We offer a combination of educational and social activities that will encourage these young scholars to perform at their highest potential at school, home and society.

I started this chess activity in September 2017 at a local middle school and elementary school with a few students with emotional and learning challenges that presented an array of disruptive behaviors. To my surprise, they embraced the game and flourished! I noticed that the inappropriate behaviors decreased, interaction with their fellow classmates and staff became more respectful and academics began to improve.

Since the beginning of the current school year, my "veteran" players demonstrated a higher level of maturity and focus. Most of them continued to play chess over the summer and now are very good chess players. They help mentor new players and look forward to engaging in battle with other students, administrators and staff. EVERY student, especially those marginalized students can benefit from this wonderful game. They are ACHIEVERS!They are WINNERS!

Ray Brown

 

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