Artwork by Mike Magnan
Chess By Shelby Lyman
on April 19, 2014 – 12:01 AM
For children, chess is as easy as eating apple pie. Children love competitive games and sports.
The royal game seems to offer a special attraction in a world of ubiquitous game-playing.
Today’s popularity of scholastic programs is the legacy of popularization begun in 1972 when Bobby Fischer played Boris Spassky. Computer chess technology has also played a major role.
Before the match, few adults played – only 20 percent of those over 18 knew the rules of the game according to a ’72 Harris Poll. There was thus only a handful of prospective teachers and few guidelines for teaching it. The game existed on the margins of American society and a greater part of the world.
Today parents, schoolteachers and professional chess teachers bring the game to children at increasingly early ages in myriad settings.
New chess programs seem to spring up overnight.
Not surprisingly, there is a dissonance between the sense of empowerment children gain from chess and the test-oriented education and workforce of menial, repetitive, mindless and low-paying jobs which frequently await them when they graduate from school.
But scholastic programs continue to increase in number and size – usually in an after-school settings – while ironically formal schooling in music, art and even science and mathematics wither on the vine in many school districts.
Chess is fun to teach and learn with immediately gratifying results. And it’s inexpensive.
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– GM Susan Polgar