Rows of tables lined with black and white squares, strategizing eyes create a productive kind of quiet on a Saturday afternoon at The Mosaic School. The fourth annual Étude Group Chess Tournament was held on February 14th, 2015 as part of the Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation.
Students from IDEAS Academy, The Mosaic School, ESAA Elementary School for the Arts and Academics, and other area schools participated in the tournament. Weston Ubelherr is in grade six at The Mosaic School. He started playing with his uncle and cousin when he was only six years old, and he has been playing ever since. He is currently a member of The Mosaic School Team which practices and plays weekly as part of our after school program, Camp Étude. Students are welcome to practice during their lunch period on Wednesdays and on Thursday evenings in our Visual Art classroom. Coach and Visual Arts teacher, Stuart Howland oversees the group. Ubelherr and Howland agree, "Chess is just fun!"
And it's more than just fun.
Ubelherr adds, about the skills gained through playing chess regularly, "You have to be patient, a good thinker. Chess makes you plan ahead and be strategic." While playing, he tries to plan at least three or four moves ahead and admits that the strategy and using his Habits of Mind are part of what make the game fun.
For Howland, chess is valuable for learning to solve problems. "You get to a place where you take your time and consider multiple possibilities," he says. "And then you choose the best option."
Looking closely, identifying multiple solutions to a problem, and reasoning in order to choose one is a process that is useful in playing chess, but also in the creative and innovative projects that our students do as part of our educational program. We are are excited that students see this as play as well as learning.