Spanish teacher, Mr. Zerpa, and Middle School Director, Mr. Ames, hosted the Chess Elective during the fall term of this school year, 2016-17. Student members of this elective said they like playing chess because it’s fun, and it teaches you how to be polite and have patience, since you have to obey the rules of turn-taking. Research shows that children who play chess have improved concentration and memory, especially if they start playing at a young age and play the game on a regular basis.
Each term the members of the Chess Elective hold a school-wide chess tournament. The winner this past fall was seventh-grader Justin M., followed by second-place winner Zach G., a Rectory ninth grader. The third-place winner was Stephen C., who is just in sixth grade.
According to Mr. Zerpa, Stephen C. is truly one of Rectory’s amazing chess players. He recently represented Rectory School at the “Farmington Scholastic Chess Tournament” held on November 5, 2016. It’s an annual tournament sponsored by the Scholastic Chess Club. Stephen played in the fifth- and sixth-grade division. There were many participants from various private schools around the Farmington, West Hartford, and Wethersfield region. Stephen won all 4 rounds of the tournament and brought home the state championship! How awesome is that! Please join us in congratulating Stephen C. for this amazing feat!
We interviewed Stephen about his championship, and he told us how he learned to play the game. He explained, “My father bought me some computer discs about how to play chess. There were 4 discs, and each disc had 5 lessons, for a total of 20 lessons. Each lesson was about 30 minutes long. So, to complete all the lessons, I spent a total of 10 hours learning how to be a better chess player.”
With that kind of dedication, it’s not surprising to learn that Stephen has a passion for the game of chess. He also thinks playing chess has many benefits. Learning how to play chess can teach students about good citizenship; they not only learn the rules of the game, but they also learn some important skills for life. For example, in order to be a good chess player, you must be disciplined to practice the game. It’s a game of strategy, so you learn how to think logically and anticipate your opponent’s next move. In addition, Stephen thinks chess is a beautiful game that can help students look at life with a different perspective. How so? He replied, “Once students learn how to play chess, they can use the skills gained from this game in other areas of their life, such as for problem-solving.”
So, if you’ve never played chess before, it’s never too late to start. Sign up for the Chess Elective during the spring term. And if you are already a seasoned player, join the Chess Elective to fine-tune your skills. You never know, you just might sharpen your concentration and your memory while having fun and meeting new people, all of which will certainly help you in many other aspects of your life.