Check mates
Round Rock students have taken to chess.

By Bob Banta
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Austin, Texas

Every Friday at 6:30 a.m., when most kids are still in bed, dozens of Laurel Mountain Elementary students are on their way to the school cafeteria to play chess.

Yep, chess. Not video games.

“It is truly amazing to see 150 or so kids who want to get up that early to play chess,” said Amy Ruhl, whose children regularly go to the chess club morning meetings at the school in the Round Rock district.

But Ruhl’s son, Brendan Coops, is not at all surprised. The first-grader loves the competition.

“It’s fun,” Brendan explained.

What makes it fun?

“Winning!” he yelled.

Educators think that kids who play chess on a regular basis win much more than tournament trophies.

“Chess develops their critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” Laurel Mountain Principal Jan Richards said. “It helps with math skills. It improves concentration and teaches them how to stay with a task.”

Her students agree.

Derek Chang, 11, said that constantly evaluating each piece on the board forces him to strategize.

Here is the full article.

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