Alisal program uses board game to teach students life skills
By VICTOR ALMAZAN
For The Salinas Californian
As a strategy to teach students to make the right moves on a chessboard – and in life – the chess program of Alisal Union School District held its first practice tournament of the year on Saturday.
“We are actually on a contract to provide four practice tournaments like this one,” said co-organizer Alberto Murillo. “(The goal) is to get the kids ready for the district championship tournament in June, and play in the future at the state and national level, too.”
About 60 students from various Alisal district schools attended the tournament at Creekside School. Pairs sat at tables in the multiple-use room to play elimination rounds.
In one corner, Salinas resident Ricardo García was teaching his nephews, Richard and Robert Hernandez, how to play on a big chessboard. Richard said knowing how to play chess helped Harry Potter and his friend Ron defeat Lord Voldemort in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
Andy Guido, 11, a Creekside student, took part. “When you play chess, you have to think,” he said. “You have to plan a strategy, but it is a lot of fun.”
Maria Alberta López, 35, mother of Alisal Community School students, Daniel and Alma Rosa Cabrera, took her children to the tournament. “It is positive that they are doing this,” she said. “The kids have fun, and they put their mind to work.”
Murillo, 31, a Mexican native and long-time resident of east Salinas, believes every community member can do something for children’s education. “Whatever we can do to improve these students chances to success, we must do,” he said.
For him, chess provided a means to success that’s served him well – and which he hopes to pass on.
“Through the game of chess, if you make the right moves, you will win the game,” Murillo said. “In life, if you make the right moves, you will also win.”
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