Seventh-grader Sarah Carey likes chess because it’s a game of intellect instead of brawn.
She’s confident in her abilities and can use the game to relax, she said.
“Not everybody in the world is strong and has physical strength,” Carey said. “You have to use your mental skills, and it just makes you concentrate and learn.”
Carey is one of about a dozen students at Madison Middle School who spend their lunch — and any other time — playing chess. Carey, whose favorite subject is language arts, won a tournament to be the Madison Chess Club’s president.
The club gradually has spread in popularity at Madison in its three-year history.
Grandmaster Susan Polgar, the first woman chess player to qualify for the Men’s World Championship Cycle and earn the Men’s Grandmaster title, spent Thursday at the Region 14 Education Service Center in Abilene presenting a workshop about the benefits chess has for students.
Polgar moved to Lubbock more than a year ago where she founded the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence at Texas Tech University.
Polgar made her first stop in town after Phyllis Baum — the advanced academic consultant for the Region 14 ESC — attended one of Polgar’s workshops in Lubbock and asked her to come to Abilene.
“I very strongly believe that chess is one of the most consistent and fun ways to aid education and to develop life thinking skills and develop focus and concentration and discipline in a way where learning is like playing,” Polgar said.
Polgar changed her focus from playing to advocating and teaching and said she played her last tournament in the summer of 2006.
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– GM Susan Polgar