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Why Chess?

I am surprised how often people ask me, "Why should my child play chess?"  Here is what I answer:

 

Academic Confidence. The most important reason is simply the academic confidence that chess engenders over time. Many, many chess moms and chess dads have come to me and thanked me for helping their son or daughter to be ready to tackle their classrooms at school. Many of my kids use success in chess as a springboard to classroom success. So very many of my kids develop a self-identity as a "smart person," and that understanding of themselves as very smart people remains with my students all their lives.

 

Proactivity. The cause and effect lessons that become second nature in chess translate into a child who can stop and ask, "If I do this act, what consequences come of it?" My students over time stop being "reacters" and begin to be "proacters," which means they build their solutions backwards, like a checkmate, so that their behaviors now lead logically to getting the reward they are after. In other words, kids begin to do their homework and clean their room because they understand what these behaviors will result in! Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee clean rooms.

 

Test Scores. Many studies have confirmed that chess increases standardized test scores such as the ACT and SAT. Many state school superintendents have launched a new initiative to get more and more chess into school curricula because the evidence is now overwhelming that chess significantly develops creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and generally increases scores on standardized tests.

 

Personal Integrity. In The Knight School, great sportsmanship and personal integrity are taught and reinforced on a daily basis. From day one, we emphasize that losing well is far more important than winning. Winning with grace is also important. Character and sportsmanship are at the center of what we teach and The Knight School kids are trained to be impeccable sports and to concede on every disputed point; our school philosophy is that we should be such strong players that we can win even after we concede in any dispute that arises.

 

Chess Friends. The Knight School's approach to chess results in making many new chess friends. Humans are social creatures; we emulate those people with whom we spend time. Perhaps the most important aspect of chess team is simply the friends that are made over time, friends who are dedicated, smart, funny kids who are destined for college and success.

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