Elementary students have been challenging their brains after school with strategy and competition. "I like the strategy and the thinking involved," said Drew Larson, 11. "It's the challenge," said Marie Hunt, 11. "Trying to keep the other pieces ...
Elementary students have been challenging their brains after school with strategy and competition.
"I like the strategy and the thinking involved," said Drew Larson, 11.
"It's the challenge," said Marie Hunt, 11. "Trying to keep the other pieces away from the king."
These students are talking about chess, which they play every Monday with other students at the Wadena-Deer Creek elementary school media center.
The chess group, offered through Community Education, is the brainchild of Stephen Spilman, 8, and his mom, Laura.
Stephen has played chess since he was 4 years old but until now usually played with just his family. His mom talked to him about what they could do for activities in the winter because Stephen isn't in any winter sports.
"And it just took off from there," Laura said.
She is teaching the chess group, which has all ages of children, from kindergarten through sixth grade. Some kids knew how to play chess before joining and others are playing for the first time. She teaches a new lesson each week, such as castling, which the kids learned this week. But the kids mostly help each other learn the game.
"It's less intimidating for them to play against people their own age," Laura said.
They meet at 3 p.m. Mondays and try to limit each chess match to 20 minutes so they can play a few times. The kids switch opponents as well to get the feel of playing with different people.
That is what Stephen likes about the chess group.
"It's nice not playing with the same three people," he said.
He and Hunter Christensen, who are also in the same class, shared a chess board after school on Monday. Christensen just started playing chess when this group began. Stephen helped him with castling on Monday.
Drew Larson and Adam Leverson played on a Star Wars chess set. They have both played chess for several years. Both played with family members before joining the chess group.
Laura teaches the kids about chess etiquette. For example, if a more experienced person plays a beginner, he or she should help the new player by showing them different or better moves.
Close to 20 kids participate in the chess group. Laura said students could still join the group by contacting Sandie Rentz for Wadena-Deer Creek Community Education at (218) 632-2150 ext. 134.
The class was scheduled to go through March but could be extended if people are interested in continuing the group.