Franklin Co. Chess Program lands national attention
Bracey Harris , The Clarion-Ledger Published 6:27 p.m. CT March 2, 2017
BUDE — In the last days of an unseasonably warm February, the windows inside this Franklin Lower Elementary classroom located in the small rural town of Bude (population 1,000) could rival a Siren’s deadly lullaby of distraction.
The wide panes provide a generous, almost tempting view of the cars whizzing along U.S. 981. It’s a daydreamer’s paradise. But in Jeff Bulington’s classroom, there aren’t any takers. Students’ gazes are solely transfixed on the chessboards in from of them. Many are hunched over, eyebrows furrowed deep in concentration as they contemplate their next moves. Classic signs of what their towering spectacled instructor would call “pleasurable frustration.”
These students have found not just peace but proficiency. They have placed in the top10 of a national U.S. Chess Federation Tournament and have scooped up scores more in state and regional matches.
One of the district’s elementary students faced off against an opponent with a beard and won.
“You have to listen to the board,” Bulington coaches his students.
“You have to realize there’s someone on the other side of the board, that’s trying to cause you trouble,” he continues.
Then he goes a step farther.
“And what do we think about people who try to cause us trouble when playing chess; are they our enemies or our friends?”
“Friends,” the class sings out.
Bulington tells them an opponent that “lets you run all over them” isn’t doing you any favors.
“It’s better to play with someone who points out your mistakes,” he says.
Full article here.
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