Chess leads to learning, and to lingering visits – Meridian Star


For Alaysia Derrick, 14, playing chess appeals to her fondness for solving puzzles.

“I kind of like doing puzzles, and it’s kind of like a puzzle to figure out,” she said. “And once you learn it, it’s kind of fun.”

Jerome Bates, 14, also noted the way chess helps him to work through problems.

“It helps you to think,” he said. “It helps you to understand things better.”

Alaysia and Jerome have been playing since the Chess Club at the Meridian-Lauderdale County Public Library began meeting in the summer. It’s a club that Kevin Chatham, a library assistant in the reference department, heads up at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.

“I’ve played chess for a long time,” Chatham said.

He said his parents bought him a chess set when he was a child, and he learned how to play by reading the bottoms of the pieces, which explained what sort of moves the pieces were permitted to make. Eventually, he said, he learned more with the help of computer programs.

When he works with students today, he advises them to check out www.chess.com, www.chesskid.com and www.chesscademy.com.

Chatham cautioned parents to keep watch for chat features whenever children use the web.

Chatham said chess is a particularly good game for children and teens because it prompts them to think ahead, and to ponder the effects of their actions.

“Chess is like things you do in life,” he said. “You make a move in life and it could have a consequence, depending on which way you go.”

Chatham said, too, that the game tends to appeal to a range of personalities, from students who relish science and math to children who enjoy strategy games.

For Sam Awad, 11, the pace of the game is appealing since it lets people ease in and visit for long spells of time.

“It takes a long time,” he said at a recent afternoon library session, “so you get to spend more time together.”


Chess leads to learning, and to lingering visits – Meridian Star

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