DEER LAKE — Chess clubs are enjoying a modest resurgence of popularity in the region. For some years, the number of chess players in the region was flagging, but that seems to be turning around.
Debbie Olson is a provincial chess executive member, and the head of Xavier Junior High’s chess program. Olson has been involved in chess at Xavier for the past 20 years. She has seen the game generate great interest and lose momentum during that time.
But she feels it’s a growing concern these days.“Chess is really coming back on the scene these days,” Olson told The Western Star. “It’s true that we used to have a lot more players involved, but it looks like more and more schools are getting their chess programs up and running.
“Really, all you need is a bit of interest from a couple of teachers and a couple of parents to make it work. We’re very fortunate at Xavier to have parents like Dave and Tina Reid and people like Darlene Edison who are willing to commit their time.”
The benefits of chess are well known. Students profit from the strategic thinking chess promotes as well as memorization and visualization. In some countries, Russia for example, chess is part of the day-to-day curriculum for school children.
Olson said she’s seen many of her young charges benefit from their involvement in the sport.
“Chess can benefit children and adults alike,” Olson said. “There’s no reason that children can’t start very young. “In fact, or youngest player this year is in grade one, but really, they can start in Kindergarten.
It’s so good for kids too. It really helps develop thinking skills and can teach children skills they can use all their lives.”
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