Play chess; learn grit. admin July 23, 2019

Play chess; learn grit.

One junior high school in the country has produced the #1 junior women’s national chess champion every year for the last 10 years. That same school has won a highly disproportionate number of chess championships and has so many highly rated players that Albert Einstein would only be #4 on the team. A well-heeled prep school? guess again. This school is IS318 in Brooklyn and services a community in where 87% of the families live below the poverty line.

Elizabeth Spiegel (@elizspiegel), teacher and chess coach, isn’t interested so much in these championships as she is in using chess as a mechanism for teaching her kids grit. How does it teach grit?

  • Chess requires intense concentration for long periods of time.
  • Chess provides immediate and public feedback. You win/you lose; you have a rating that everyone knows.
  • Chess is cumulative. A mistake early cannot be undone by a reset. You live with it and press on.
  • Chess expertise requires hours of dedicated learning, much of it self-directed.

I’m inspired to dust off my board (or at least download a program…) Read more about this amazing story here on PBS or by watching the documentary Brooklyn Castle.

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