In middle school, finding your niche is an effort in itself. But for a group of students at Jehue and Kucera middle schools, playing chess is a pursuit definitely worth chasing.
And on Saturday, dozens of students showed their love[restrict userlevel =”subscriber”] for the game.
A first-ever invitational tournament was held at Jehue Middle School against Kucera students–all which are fairly new to recently formed chess club at both campuses.
The club at Jehue was launched two years ago by Social Studies teacher and Club Sponsor, Andy Hernandez, in an effort to bring history to life for students.
The Kucera club followed in its footsteps shortly after.
“It fits right into the curriculum,” Hernandez said of the students studying medieval Europe.
“It explains the structure with the pieces on the chessboard; medieval feudal class structure, fair play, and thinking skills,” Hernandez said.
It explains the power of the different pieces and their roles. The knights are mobile and ties into their crusades. It explains the role of church–the bishop. Then it goes into chivalry and the code of behavior, he added.
“My hope is that (students) learn to be honorable, courageous and dependable,” he added.
And so far, the group of middle-schoolers, including students at Kucera, are embracing acts of honor by learning first-hand to be good sportsmen.
“The one thing I’ve learned from chess and it’s something I like to follow is, lose with grace and win with dignity,” said Addison Chen, 12, a 7th grader at Kucera.
“If you win–great, then win, but win with dignity and pride. But when you lose, don’t worry about it and be upset. Lose in a better way that you’d ever want to win.”
While students from both schools enjoyed the competition, they all agreed it wasn’t about winning, but rather having fun with peers and even taking losses in stride.
“It’s all for fun,” said 12-year-old Damien Valencia, 7th grader at Kucera and Addison’s teammate. “We all play for fun. We don’t become sore losers. We enjoy the competition but we don’t get upset with each other. That’s what chess teaches–to be honorable.”
Students who participated in the tournament were awarded medals.
The club at Jehue is supported by the Jehue PTSA and Jehue ASB.[/restrict]