Win, lose or draw—a friendly game of chess teaches students valuable skills
Jan. 13, 2011
A recent round-robin-style chess tournament at Watervliet High School offered students, staff and members of the community an opportunity to exercise their strategic minds.
The WHS chess club hosted its first chess night of the school year on Jan. 11, inviting experienced and novice chess players alike to participate.
Approximately a dozen participants—nine students and three staff members—competed in 70 matches during the three-hour event. In the end, Jonathan Moody was the tournament’s undefeated champion, while Dominic Daniele placed second.
According to high school science department chair and chess club advisor Frank Parisi, Watervliet High School has been home to an active chess club for the past 25 years. And, although the game is not part of the required curricula in the U.S.—as it is in public schools in nearly 30 other countries, including Venezuela, Iceland, and Russia—Parisi recognizes the educational benefits of playing chess.
“It’s an effective tool for teaching students critical thinking skills,” he said. “It’s also good for developing memory and it improves focus and concentration. Chess is challenging and fun at the same time.”
Currently, Watervliet’s chess club has 15-16 members who meet every Thursday after school in Room 225. Any students who are interested in learning to play chess are welcome to attend the meetings. Parisi mentioned that Watervliet's club would also be interested in playing matches with other area high school chess clubs.
Alumni chess club members and the community are invited to join students and staff for upcoming chess tournaments tentatively scheduled for February 8, March 14, April 18 and May 9. The tournaments are open to all, and are played from 6-9 p.m. in the new cafeteria at the high school.