There are a plethora of benefits associated with young students learning and playing chess, and my goal is to bring the love of the game and its attributed benefits to the students at Ewa Makai Middle School in Ewa Beach. To name a few, chess allows students to think critically, analytically, with intense focus, creativity, calculation, and responsibility. For every action, there is a reaction, and depending on the strength of the move, can be either beneficial or detrimental to your position on the board. It is a game of strategy, where every move is carefully determined and pre-planned. Success on the chess board echoes success in the classroom and beyond -- teaching the students to focus, work hard, and play fairly will create a positive domino effect in the students' lives.
Hawai'i is a place that puts a large emphasis on competition, mainly in the sports arena. Students are constantly being challenged physically, with many of my students on after school sports teams. However, more often than not, students are not engaged in intellectual competition. There are few opportunities for students to compete off the courts and using their intellectual abilities in a game-like manner. Chess combines both of those worlds -- it allows intellectual competition to be made fun, and winning or losing is an incentive for students to practice and get better. Even when I assign content-relevant online games, students are much more eager to begin their work because they want to be on top of the leader boards.
Additionally, chess is an inclusive game that allows people of all abilities to compete. Despite physical or mental disabilities, everyone can partake in the game. It breaks down barriers otherwise established based on ability, with the knowledge that every student can play and improve.
Bringing chess to Ewa Makai is a dream of mine, and something that will have direct benefit on the student population and the Ewa Beach community.
Funded by Oahu, HI (February 2018)