|A chess game employs just six different pieces, each with its own unique set of moves across a 64 square chessboard. From this fairly limited set of options, the possibilities approach infinity, with one calculation estimating the number of games to be more than the total number of atoms in the universe. This open-ended possibility is part of what made noted mathematician Blaise Pascal opine that, “chess is the gymnasium of the mind.”It is a gymnasium Mr. Robert Moore’s students get to play at, whether through gifted and talented instruction or during Chess Club (in normal years). Chess has applications across subject matters. It teaches logic and sportsmanship, while developing cognitive complexity. It’s a zero-sum game, yet to play requires cooperation and even teamwork.
This Thursday, a group of fourth grade students set up boards in the crisp morning air. Each student played two games at once – one white and one black – against different opponents. Simultaneous play encourages non-linear thinking, a key to effective chess playing, while accelerating the learning curve from mistakes. Where these students eventually apply these defined skills in their lives is as open-ended as the possibility held in every new game of chess.