Domination: Our top post in 2016 shares a skill building game that teaches students to see the board at a glance. This post includes video instruction by GM Maurice Ashley and ideas for making the game more challenging (hint: play the “mean way” and use a clock). If you like Domination, you might also like Quibs, a skill building game using queens and bishops.
Teachers often ask how they can use chess in their classrooms to address subject matter objectives in an engaging manner. Likewise, schools and parents report similar goals for involving their kids in a chess program. Specifically, they hope that playing chess will improve academic performance and develop important cognitive skills. The challenge then, is how to do it in a way that is fun for kids and effective.
Why music? These days, kids seem to be always plugged in to something…music, video games, computers. When permitted, many will listen to music while studying or playing chess. The adults in their lives often debate with them about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of listening to music while trying to concentrate. Researchers have found mixed results when looking at characteristics of music (number of beats per minute, for example) that impact people in specific ways. It seems that music may be able to help improve focus, problem solving, stress level, creativity, behavior, and energy level. Since students are better able to learn and remember when they are in a positive emotional state, music may offer an additional benefit as a tool to influence mood.
Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club by Janet Wong, Illustrated by Stacey Schuett.
This story is about a boy who loves chess, has a set back and then returns with more confidence. It talks about scholastic tournaments as well as the importance of practice. The story is a bit formulaic, but it works. Several important themes provide good fodder for discussion, e.g., friends supporting each other, persistence, dealing with negative people. It also features a chess board made out of common foods which would make a great Continue reading “Chess & Literature Connection: Alex and The Wednesday Chess Club”