During The Pandemic, Learn And Teach Chess!

We find ourselves in times of crises: loss of many lives in sudden waves of sickness, fear, doubt; we face critical choices in so many categories, with seemingly unending uncertainties.

Recently, most of us find ourselves spending significantly more time at home. Those with family – especially children – at home, may be searching for new ideas for youth engagement.

There are a lot of news reports about how baked goods and online entertainment services consumption are significantly increased lately … as is video game usage…umm… no.

There are thousands of suggestions on tv and “social media” about what to watch and do online. Pass.

Instead, grab a chess set, teach yourself and/or your child(ren) how to play, and play with them!

If you’ve already discovered (some of) the magic of zinging the pieces back and forth across the board with your child, congratulations!!! For the many who haven’t, there’s rarely a good excuse not to introduce the game to your child. 

  • You can order a set online (20 inch vinyl rollup board recommended). That’s if you don’t have one at home. 
  • They are inexpensive.
  • You CAN learn the game!! We’re talking about six pieces moving and capturing across 64 squares. Here are some top reasons to incorporate chess into your COVID-19 response schedule:
  • Chess never gets obsolete.
  • Chess, as it is essentially a quest to improve and increase sustained accurate decision making, trapped in an arena of ever-changing variables, is applicable to life in more ways than any other game. It nurtures mastery of combining good choices with good character. By five years old (or sooner) many children can learn the moves.
  • Chess pieces represent Family, so it’s a natural fit. Pieces with different characteristics, powers and limitations working together towards a goal through roller coasters of emotion, surprise, adversity, with lots of danger… and opportunities!
  • Chess is a global game played by people everywhere, providing many opportunities for human interaction.
  • Chess will cultivate your child’s creativity and enliven and maintain their powers of audacious imagination.
  • Playing chess can give your child experience in navigating and choosing responses to a wide range of human emotions and experiences, including hope, disappointment, regret, excitement, swells of confidence and self-doubt, even feelings of inevitable impending doom!
  • Chess provides a fun, safe way to simulate so many concepts. 
  • Sustained chess play is likely to increase their ability to recognize, categorize, analyze.
  • Chess has endured for thousands of years simply because it reveals and speaks to the essence of who we are as human beings, individually and collectively.
  • It’s been said that with just four moves (by each player) in a chess game, there are roughly 381 million different possible board positions that can occur. Many chess games last thirty moves, or more. Only life has more possibilities, or more problems!

A few of you might be surprised to learn that your child already knows how to play; great, just ask them to teach you!!!

Choose wisely. Play chess. 

Coach Mikyeil El-Mekki is the founder of the Paul Robeson Chess Club aka Team Genius.


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