Thursday, January 27, 2005


In The Midst of Greatness - Polgar's Chess

Both of my children take chess classes at the introductory level. I also have always known that chess helps with learning. I'm not sure how I knew this. But some time, long ago, my dad put this theory in my head which is why I have my children taking classes today. Fortunately, the chess center where my children attend is home to the Chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar. Every week for a year I drop them off and pick them up. I say "hello" to Susan and proceed out to finish up things at school while my kids take lessons from two of the Polgar Center's fine instructors. Tonight (because it felt like 0 degrees out) I decided to change my routine (Gladwell's Book Blink says it best) and thank God I did. Susan Polgar sat with me and shared a philosophy that bypassed the freezing temperatures outside. Before I share her educational words of wisdom (a rare opportunity indeed), you should know some important information about how chess can improve one's academics: (The following excerpt is from the Polgar Website)In approximately 30 nations across the globe, including Brazil, China, Venezuela, Italy, Israel, Russia and Greece, etc., chess is incorporated into the country's scholastic curriculum. Chess can help develop critical thinking that can be used in other areas of a child's life, academics and social situations.
"Test scores improved by 17.3% for students regularly engaged in chess classes, compared with only 4.6% for children participating in other forms of enriched activities".
The following are just some of the benefits of chess:
-Chess develops decision making, critical thinking, logical thinking,
evaluating, planning, problem solving, and perseverance skills.
-Chess improves concentration, memory, intuition and self-control
-Chess promotes independence, imagination and creativity
-Chess inspires self-motivation, self-esteem and self confidence

A mother of two, Polgar herself is extremely poised, humble and very passionate about young people learning chess. You would NEVER KNOW she's a 4-time Women’s World Champion and 5-Time Olympics Champion Grandmaster. Her center, right here in Queens is The Official Training Center of the Historic 2004 U.S. Women's Olympiad Medal Winning Team. And Susan's words to me were "chess teaches one life long learning skills on how to think, and it opens up the doors for people all over the world, regardless of their diversities to come together and think strategy of life." My words to her were, "do you have a blog?" Boy would she would have lots to share. So I did my own research and found a few chess bloggers one ironically has some information on Chess Moms Susan is one of them. Great day today...thanks Susan!

Hi Amy,

Not sure what you found in your chess blog research, but as a chess blogger myself I thought I'd share what I've found.

Of course, I want you to check out my blog: Boylston Chess Club Weblog. While you're there, look at the sidebar for links to other chess weblogs, in particular I have links to several chess improvement blogs (see Knights Errant). In addition, this post lists several other chess blogs I have found. You might be particularly interested in The 64 Square Jungle written by ChessDad64!

New York City is certainly the center of the Chess World in the U.S. You are very lucky to have access to a trainer of Susan's caliber.
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