Not Just a Game: Kids on The Value of Chess in Education


As you no doubt know, constant reader (because I have gone on about it enough), I teach a chess class as an elective part of our Grade 9 curriculum.

This year, as part of their final exam I asked them to list what they learnt in chess. The part of me which writes my more skeptical posts was expecting a trickle of bland answers, but what I got back was truly wonderful, and proof again of the value of including basic chess instruction as a part of the school syllabus.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

Chess this year has taught me to not just look at what is there but to analyze, go deeper and to find alternatives. It has taught me to find order in the chaos and to look for patterns. I have learnt to think outside the box and think quickly and strategically. (Timothy)

Chess has taught me not to underestimate your opponent. (Blake)

Chess has taught me that a genius isn't born, but made. (Buhle)

I have learnt to never give up! (Liam)

I've learnt a lot this year (more than I thought I would). I've learnt to use the resources I have. I've learnt to think strategically and to look for possible mistakes. I've learnt to think openly and critically. (Kyla)

It taught me how to think under pressure. (Alexi)

Chess taught me that you always have to face the consequences of what you do. (Keeghan)

If you want to get good at something, it doesn't matter whose genes you have, it just requires hard work. Chess is not just a game, but a way of looking at things in a more logical and creative way. (Ethan)

Chess has taught me to be patient: to stop, wait, think and then play. It has also taught me to look for the best possible option. (Arul)

Chess has taught me to always look towards the end game. This has taught me to be more strategic in everyday life. It has also taught me to look at my opponent's side of the board and to know what they plan on doing. (Zoleka)

Chess has taught me an important lesson: to be patient and to think about everything I do in life. (Heston)

Chess has taught me to always keep an open mind and to look at things differently. (Kyle)

Not everything is what it seems. You need to go deeper. (Ofentse)

I have learnt to 'read between the lines' – which means that I have learnt to think beyond what I see. I never thought I would be playing chess and understanding it, but because I took the time to try and to practice, now I can truly say that success depends on how hard you work towards it! (Mapula)

Chess has taught me to think creatively so that I can surprise my opponent. It has also taught me to be patient and think before I touch a piece because the obvious move is not always the best move. Chess has also taught me sportsmanship: I always shake my opponent's hand whether I lose or win. (Darshan)

Chess has taught me to learn from my mistakes and not to rush things. It has also taught me to anticipate and to have a game plan. (Olatha)

Chess has taught me to develop. Especially what seems to be the small things because later, these things can really matter! (Christopher)

Chess has taught me that sometimes you need to sacrifice to win. (Zachary)

Chess is actually really fun. I thought chess was 'just for the nerds'. Well, it is not! You actually get physically tired while playing! You need great physical and mental strength to play chess. (Sean)


My little pawns have become kings and queens.




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