US Schools Recognize Benefits of Chess
By Julie Taboh
26 November 2008

Studies worldwide have shown playing chess has benefits, especially for young children. Inspired by this knowledge, a growing number of teachers in the U.S. are trying to incorporate chess into their students’ lives. VOA correspondent Julie Taboh has more.

Frankie Roth used to be a troubled child. Georgia Clark, the principal at his Maryland school, remembers when she first met him.

“My first impression of Frankie was, we’ve got to do something for him. He is not going to make it,” Clark says. “He was in third grade and having a very difficult time with every adult that he met.”

Clark decided to enroll Frankie in her after-school chess program. She saw a dramatic change in just a few months.

“…When he finally found that he could be successful in chess club, then he just began to blossom,” she says. “And I’ve just seen a great difference in him in the last two years.”

Now, an increasing number of public schools in the U.S. are offering chess in after-school programs.

Jim Fite is the creator and coach of the chess club at North East Elementary School. He says experts agree about the benefits of chess on children’s brains, even starting at age 2.

“They all say, without a doubt, that chess helps children develop intellectually,” he says.

“It helps them in their mathematical skills. It helps them in their reading skills.”The whole idea is that you have a few pieces and a little board, and some shelter… and you’re engaged in a tremendous activity…”

Here is the full article.

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