FARMINGTON — Heads were bowed in concentration at Farmington Junior High on Monday afternoon, as each student considered whether to move his pawn or bishop, his rook or queen.
In just a few minutes, “checkmate,” could be heard, the first of many such declarations announcing the end of a game.
There are many reasons why chess is a great after-school activity, said Kenneth Bennion, a student teacher in math and science who organized the tournament that was dubbed “Battle of the Brains.”
“It’s a strategy game, it helps build logic, it encourages patience and thoughtfulness,” he said. “It’s a creative game and it doesn’t matter how old you are … or your body size. Many people all over the world play it.”
Caleb Tinsley likes chess because there is “no luck, only brains,” he said.
Seventh-grade science teacher Cynthia Purdy likes it because it’s both mathematical and social.
“It’s pure thinking and brains and strategy,” she said. “You’ve got to be thinking five or six moves down the road Р a lot like life.”
Overall scores go up in schools that have chess programs, she said.
Farmington students get together on their own to play before school and at lunch, said Bennion. This week’s event was an effort to give students a more formal tournament experience.