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Chess league donates sets to classrooms

MADISON -Madison City Chess League has donated chess sets to classroom teachers in Madison to support the growing interest in the ‘brain game.’

This summer, chess league volunteers sorted thousands of chess pieces into sets for the donations. The House of Staunton donated chess pieces, and the league purchased chess boards to make complete sets.

“These chess pieces are really nice, triple weighted and larger than the typical tournament chess set our kids are used to playing with,” league executive director Ranae Bartlett said. “We’re thrilled to be able to provide such beautiful, new chess sets for our students to use.”

The league then emailed principals of Madison City Schools to offer chess sets to teachers. At Mill Creek Elementary School, Principal Carmen Buchanan had the largest request for chess sets. The league delivered 40 sets to her door.

At Madison Elementary School, Principal Melissa Mims requested 20 sets. Dr. Georgina Nelson, Principal at Heritage Elementary School, was the first to jump at the offer. “Our teachers are so excited,” Nelson said.

At Rainbow Elementary School, every student in kindergarten through second grade will be learning chess in the classroom. These novices can reinforce their skills in weekly practices.

“I am investing in educating students on chess because of the numerous life benefits, such as a stronger mental clarity/focus, problem solving and developing self-discipline,” Rainbow Principal Brian Givens said.

“Chess helps develop critical thinking skills, boosts emotional intelligence and psycho-social skills, enhances arithmetic skills and improves IQ,” Bartlett said. Chess enhances pattern recognition skills and teaches perseverance and strategic thinking.

Teachers set up various centers in their classroom to enhance learning. A chess center is just as valuable for developing math skills as other items that teachers use, Bartlett said.

“The mere decision of whether to capture a piece in exchange for another requires a calculation of relative point value. Moving pieces around a chess board requires spatial reasoning and reinforces coordinate graphing skills,” Bartlett said.

“Finally, all chess games require time management skills — something that applies whether one is taking a test or trying to accomplish a task in the real world,” she said.

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