Chess Club at Kalona Elementary-more than a game, develops critical thinking skills
By: Susan Pettrone
01/08/2009

Chess brings to mind for most, America’s first official World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer winning the title in 1972 and in doing so bringing the game to the forefront of popularity. When in fact, Chess has been in existence as far back as 600 A.D. where it originated in Afghanistan or Northern India.

A game which challenges not only skills of critical thinking, but appeals to all ages, chess is a game that has met the test of time in all areas of the world, including Mid-Prairie Schools.

Meeting every Tuesday with morning and afternoon sessions, students at Kalona Elementary School learn valuable lessons in decision making, the visualization of upcoming moves, the act of analyzing an opponent’s future moves and fine tuning problem-solving skills.

Active in Mid-Prairie schools for more than five years, this group of approximately 20, second through fifth grade students has honed their game thinking and problem solving skills that also carry over into classroom performance.

According to sponsor Karen Bender, “Former STP teacher, Julie Zahs informed educators, chess is an excellent way to help students develop logical thinking skills.

She suggested a group be started at each elementary building with Steve Hollan sponsoring the group at Washington Township and Marnett Meier at Wellman Elementary.”

With these chess clubs in full swing, dozens of students have been introduced to a game that is not only entertaining but educationally beneficial as well.

Here is the full article.

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