You've probably heard of a kid here and there who was not yet in elementary school becoming an expert in the game of chess. The possibility for such great success at the game is surely anecdotal, but I don't think as far from the mark as it may seem. The "common knowledge" that kids' little brains are like sponges is fairly accurate. They soak up, process, and adapt heavily detailed and detail-oriented tasks like chess, Scrabble, video games, and foreign languages.
So today I observed some of this for myself as I sat among a group of kids from age 5 to about 12, all of whom play chess pretty well or started playing just tonight (and picked the game up in one session). I mentioned before that my kids' new school, Piedmont Elementary, has a chess team which won the West Virginia state championship last year. Well, my two oldest (10 and 6) decided they'd like to try it out.
This was the initial interest meeting for this year's chess club as well as the first playing session. And I think the method was perfect. New players were paired with experienced players at or around their same age. While there were a few adult sponsors around, the children mostly learned from each other on-the-fly.
Both Stony and Bella picked up the game pretty well and want to go back. I'm really excited! I'm definitely going to have to learn at least the basics of chess. PLUS, I'm hopeful that the popularity of the chess club at Piedmont is at least a good indicator of the interest I hope to get for School Scrabble, which we are going to start in the next few weeks. (I hope and expect that we'll some cross-over players.)
So how awesome (and cute) is all this?!?!? Here are some more pictures: