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“The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it… Life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with.” – Benjamin Franklin

In a recent letter to Lexington School parents, Daniel Sussman, Lower School Head, talks about the CHESS team at TLS:

“We take pride in the fact that the student experience at TLS is filled with both academic rigor and high levels of student engagement. Our TLS chess team for students in grades K-8 is a great example of an extracurricular activity on campus that merges intellectual engagement with plain old fun. Research notes numerous benefits to playing chess, including the development of problem solving skills and a greater understanding of spatial relationships.

If you walk past practice on a Monday afternoon, however, what you are most likely to hear is the excitement of students sharing strategies and ideas with each other with smiles on their faces. The team is divided into several groups, ranging from competitive players to students who are learning the game for the very first time. This allows for time for both instruction in strategic approaches and time to play friendly games in which students can apply their newly learned strategies.

Coaches Marco Valdes, Paul Tillier, Mark Schwarcz, and student assistant coach John Henry Trimble (’20) enjoy teaching students about openings, attack development, counterattacks, and endgame strategy. We look forward to seeing our students increase their skills while developing their enjoyment and appreciation of this classic game.”

5 main benefits to learning chess at a young age:

  1. Teaches critical thinking skills (strategy matters).
  2. Increases social skills (don’t forget to shake hands at the end of the match)!
  3. Pumps up the brain power (active thinking is different than passive learning).
  4. Improves concencentration (just look at those faces).
  5. Teaches discipline (wait…now it’s your turn).

The Lexington School‘s chess team has 60 members, ages five years to 14. It is another reason why the K-8 model of education works. Big kids (who aren’t too big) work with the younger to build a foundation that benefits everyone. Add chess to that mix and you see that “as proved by evidence, [chess is] more lasting in its being and presence than all books and achievements; the only game that belongs to all people and all ages; of which none knows the divinity that bestowed it on the world, to slay boredom, to sharpen the senses, to exhilarate the spirit.” – Stefan Zweig

That’s why we teach it.

 

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