Iredell chess-playing students becoming ‘great thinkers’
Posted: Friday, January 30, 2015 9:28 am | Updated: 9:29 am, Fri Jan 30, 2015.
By Preston Spencer
A group of students huddled around a cafeteria table on Thursday, leaning in to get a better look at the next move being made.
But it wasn’t necessarily what you might expect from elementary and middle schoolers. This was no video game they cared about. It was a chess match.
“It has so many dimensions,” said Lakeshore Elementary teacher Charlotte Hickam, who helped organized Thursday’s chess tournament. “It makes great thinkers.”
Lakeshore Elementary’s cafeteria was transformed on Thursday after-school into a series of one-on-one chess battles, as eight elementary and middle schools brought their chess club students in to see exactly who is master of the board. The event’s been held for several years now, as an incentive to get kids to play the game and to allow them to test the skills they hone at their individual schools.
“I love the strategy of it,” Woodland Heights Elementary fifth-grader Reif Snyder said before a match. “I’ve played for two years now, and I’ve found I’m pretty good at it.”
Students as young as 5 participated on Thursday, along with those into middle school. Hickam said she’s been a little surprised at the amount of interest.
“I’m amazed at it, but these are high-level kids who choose to do this,” Hickam said.
Ann Marie McKean, whose son, Hayden, a Troutman Middle sixth-grader, was competing, loves that her son prefers to play Chess over games more popular with those his age. She said he got a new chess board for Christmas and is obsessed.
“It keeps him from playing Minecraft and other sort of stupid-izing games,” said McKean.