Article by Jerry Nash, National Chess Education Consultant
September in New Hampshire brings with it cool nights, great scenic vistas of vibrant colors. Fall also means the start of school and, for many teachers, chess. Paul Roberts, New England Regional Events Coordinator for Chess in Schools, and I were invited to visit six schools to help kick off their fall chess programming.
Alyson Strobel, at Grinnell Elementary in Derry, organized a Parent Night that highlighted the values of chess. I introduced some beginning chess activities that the students and their family members could enjoy together. Betsy Damon at Beech Street Elementary invited me to present a chess lesson to help kick off their after-school programming. Susan Auger, a teacher at Webster Elementary, arranged for me to give a chess lesson to her class as she begins to implement the Chess in Schools methodologies.
In Conway, New Hampshire, we met Judi Preston at Pine Tree Elementary and I taught several mini-games to her chess club. We then proceeded with Judi to Kennett High School where I gave several short lessons to her Chess Club. Afterward I played a simultaneous exhibition against three of the high school chess club members.
Our last stop was Dover High School where I was challenged by the chess club run by Eric Schlapak to play all the members in simultaneous games. Later that evening, we met with parents at Dover High School and discussed next steps to expand chess instruction in Dover’s elementary and middle schools.
Strong kick-off and culminating activities are key to a successful chess in education program. Goals for such activities include building student interest and garnering community support. Chess in Schools looks forward to new opportunities to help New Hampshire schools to use chess as an educational tool to help students build academic and 21st century skills.