Instead of playing computer games after school, some 120 students at Helix High are discovering the values and concentration needed to play chess.
The video game business is strong. Kids can’t seem to get enough of the guns, the cars and the drums. But at Helix High, concentration is the name of the game, as students have taken to chess.
Eric Ginsberg started the chess craze, “I think to the modern teenager there’s a simplicity that speaks to them. And then they’re able to go beyond the video games that they’ve grown up with.”
Ginsberg purchased a few chess boards last year. At the school’s first tournament last fall, 32 students played. This year, there are more than 120.
Ginsberg says, “If they want to get stronger mentally — they want to get smarter — they have to use their brain. Chess uses patterns — recognitions — anticipation — to use their brain in ways they’re not used to.”The tournament is inter-generational. Tom Lavoy has been playing chess for 50 years. This is the first time he’s teamed up with teenagers to help them learn the values of the game.
“You can apply what you learn in chess to life in general,” Lavoy says. “Stay positive. Stay focused.”
Paul Clayburn is a junior at Helix High. He says chess is not only great for your mind, it’s also strengthening student relationships at the school. “Nowadays, with the technology that’s at everyone’s disposal, most people are secluded and away from everyone. But when you’re at a tournament, you get to meet new people and express your own individuality with your type of style.”
And spending time competing against each other instead of a computer game is, Organizers say, a move to a better tomorrow.
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