Chess is more than just a game of strategy; it can be used as a teaching tool.
The game of chess is older than anyone can remember, but it is played by few, and even fewer people know its true potential.
To most, it’s just a boring game that sort of looks like a complicated version of checkers. To those who play it, it’s an exciting game of strategy, wits, and perseverance.
To Jerry Nash, United States Chess Federation national education consultant and Tech grad student, chess goes even further.
“One of the things that everybody is screaming about is we have to do a better job of teaching math skills, critical thinking skills and life skills,” Nash said, “and here’s a game which accomplishes those goals and is not that expensive.”
Nash has worked with schools and programs all over the nation and in other parts of the world. He is currently working with Lisa Zagumny, curriculum and instruction associate professor, and Paul Semmes, the College of Arts and Sciences dean, on applying for an Improving Teacher Quality Grant.
The goal is to teach instructors how to play chess who will then in turn use it as a teaching tool.
“Part of this is designed to gather research that hopefully will lead to further research,” Nash said. “The goal is to do longitudinal study to demonstrate the impact of chess in an academic setting on critical thinking, math and life skills.”
Unfortunately, spreading this practice in schools is not easy. According to Nash, there are thousands of teachers who already use this strategy, but it is difficult for them to keep arguing that the chess program be continued or expanded when the larger education community does not yet see it as a valid tool.
“The university is often perceived as the pinnacle of the educational community,” Nash said. “When a university does research, it demonstrates that there is a relationship between chess and educational practices. Then the education community tends to listen. That’s what we’re working toward.