Home
District News
High School and Middle School
Elementary School
Early Childhood
Husky Pride
All School Staff Directory
Media Center
Student Services
Activities / Sports
Community Ed.
Parent Links
Clubs
Sitemap
Staff Access
Forms
Area Links
Photo Gallery
Contact Us
Special Events
Student Tools
Elementary PTO
Hall of Fame
Support Staff
How you can help...
Alumni
Pillager Ed Foundation
Why teach chess?
chessTeam2012_4
Pillager 'Rooks of Wrath' Chess Team 2012
  Why Offer Chess in Schools?

1) History
Chess is a classic game of strategy, invented more than 1500 years ago in India. Legend has it that the ruler of India asked his wise men to devise a way to teach the children of the royal family to become better thinkers and better generals on the battlefield. Chess was the result. In the centuries since its invention, chess has spread to every country in the world. While countless other games have died out, chess lives on. In the United States, it has received endorsements by many educators, ranging from Benjamin Franklin to former U.S. Secretary of Education, Terrell Bell.

2) Academic Benefits
We have brought chess to the schools because we believe it directly contributes to academic performance. Chess makes kids smarter. It does so by teaching the following skills:


Focusing
- Children are taught the benefits of observing carefully and concentrating. If they don’t watch what is happening, they can’t respond to it, no matter how smart they are.

Visualizing - Children are prompted to imagine a sequence of actions before it happens. We actually strengthen the ability to visualize by training them to shift the pieces in their mind, first one, then several moves ahead.

Thinking Ahead - Children are taught to think first, then act. We teach them to ask themselves “If I do this, what might happen then, and how can I respond?” Over time, chess helps develop patience and thoughtfulness.

Weighing Options - Children are taught that they don’t have to do the first thing that pops into their mind. They learn to identify alternatives and consider the pros and cons of various actions.

Analyzing Concretely - Children learn to evaluate the results of specific actions and sequences. Does this sequence help me or hurt me? Decisions are better when guided by logic, rather than impulse.

Thinking Abstractly - Children are taught to step back periodically from details and consider the bigger picture. They also learn to take patterns used in one context and apply them to
This team scored 18.5 points and placed 5th at the annual MN State Chess Tournament held April 12-13, 2008.
This team scored 18.5 points and placed 5th at the annual MN State Chess Tournament held April 12-13, 2008.
different, but related situations.

Planning - Children are taught to develop longer range goals and take steps toward bringing them about. They are also taught of the need to reevaluate their plans as new developments change the situation.

Juggling Multiple Considerations Simultaneously - Children are encouraged not to become overly absorbed in any one consideration, but to try to weigh various factors all at once.


None of these skills are specific to chess, but they are all part of the game. The beauty of chess as a teaching tool is that it stimulates children’s minds and helps them to build these skills while enjoying themselves. As a result, children become more critical thinkers, better problem solvers, and more independent decision makers.

3) Educational Research
These conclusions have been backed up by educational research. Studies have been done in various locations around the United States and Canada,
showing that chess results in increased scores on standardized tests for both reading and math. A study on a large scale chess program in New York City, which involved more than 100 schools and 3,000 children, showed higher classroom grades in both English and Math for children involved in chess. Studies in Houston, Texas and Bradford, Pennsylvania showed chess leads to higher scores on the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal and the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking.

4) Social Benefits
In the schools, chess often serves as a bridge, bringing together children of different ages, races and genders in an activity they can all enjoy. Chess helps build individual friendships and also school spirit when children compete together as teams against other schools. Chess also teaches children about sportsmanship - how to win graciously and not give up when encountering defeat. For children with adjustment issues, there are many examples where chess has led to increased motivation, improved behavior, better self-image, and even improved attendance. Chess provides a positive social outlet, a wholesome recreational activity that can be easily learned and enjoyed at any age.



Image Gallery: Pillager Chess Tournament 2008

Team photo with the 'invisible' chess coach. The top 6 players in grades 7-12. The top players in the 4th-6th grade division. See all 11 images.


Image Gallery: Brainerd Chess Tournament 3/29/08
This team took first place at the Brainerd Chess Tournament held March 29, 2008 at the Forestview Middle School.


Image Gallery: MN State Chess Tournament Pictures
Here are a few pics taken at the annual MN State Chess Tournament held April 12-13, 2008 at Southwest High School in Edina.