All the Right Moves: Camaraderie, Confidence and Courage Through Chess

The Lower Elementary children have gone searching for Bobby Fischer… and have found much more along the way!

Several students from the LED classroom have been excitedly practising chess on a daily basis at MBTS, in anticipation of the upcoming DART Minds Inspired Inter-School Chess Tournament on February 27th. With the guidance of parent volunteer and amazing chess wizard Mr. Robert, who is very generously sharing his time and expertise with the children, LED’s inaugural “chess club” was formed! 

The many intellectual and analytical benefits of learning and playing this classic game of strategic skill are widely-accepted, as are the merits of developing patience and discipline in the course of playing. But perhaps less obvious are the other life skills and strengths that are developed by playing the game: friendship, sportsmanship, confidence, and even courage!

Although there is an inherent competitiveness that accompanies playing a game like chess, doing so also offers fruitful ways to form and strengthen friendships. Over the past two weeks, the children have loved getting to play with others in class with whom they may not usually work or socially interact during recess; the fresh context of a new game has given them a chance to learn about each other with new eyes.

Playing chess has also brought some lovely opportunities for the children to show genuine care for each other: just this week, one of the players (an older second-year student) joyfully expressed how happy he was when his opponent (a younger first-year student) BEAT him for the first time! He was utterly delighted, and he congratulated his younger friend and excitedly shared the news with the teacher. This instance is a heartening example of true and selfless sportsmanship being developed, and the seeds of empathy being actively cultivated.      

Quite a few players in our improvisational chess club have volunteered to represent the school during the upcoming chess tournament – and several of them had never played chess before! Their confidence and can-do attitude are refreshing and inspiring: we should all be so excited and fearless in trying something new, and be so unafraid of risks or possible mistakes.  

So please wish our brave, brilliant and big-hearted players luck on February 27th, but also know that they’ve already gained something more valuable than a medal: camaraderie, confidence and courage!

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