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Madison youngsters play chess online with Xiamen, China students

In Rainbow Elementary School's computer lab, Madison chess players competed in real-time, online games with students in Xiamen, China. (CONTRIBUTED)
In Rainbow Elementary School’s computer lab, Madison chess players competed in real-time, online games with students in Xiamen, China. (CONTRIBUTED)
Madison chess players, in foreground, wave and talk via Skype to their counterparts in Xiamen, China. (CONTRIBUTED)
Madison chess players, in foreground, wave and talk via Skype to their counterparts in Xiamen, China. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Technology and young tenacity allowed Madison children to play competitive chess with children 8,000 miles away.

Rainbow Elementary School hosted the first International chess match on Oct. 18 between Ocean Chess School students in Xiamen, China and Madison students who play competitive chess.

“Continuing their training with each other will only help us improve on both sides of the ocean,” Madison City Chess League Director Ranae Bartlett said. While international chess platforms are available, these “don’t offer the personal connection we made when we introduced our students via SKYPE, said hello, showed good sportsmanship and established relationships.”

Madison chess players were Michael Guthrie and Angela Kinsey, Discovery Middle School; Vishay Ram and Lawrence Zhang, Liberty Middle School; and Will Bao, Hayden Billmann, Edward Calinsky, Alex Edwards, Maanasi Limaye, Jonah Tuttle, Constance Wang and Jenson Wilhelm, Rainbow.

Principal Dorinda White welcomed gamers and guests to Rainbow’s computer lab. Parents watched a live feed from the library.

Dr. Yeqing Bao, University of Alabama in Huntsville professor, connected the two schools. His son Will participates in Rainbow’s competition chess club. Players used the chesskid.com platform.

Coaches allowed Madison players “to wave to the students in China (via Skype).” At game’s end, each competing pair came to the camera,” Bartlett said. “It was so funny and heartwarming to see how parents and kids on both sides of the ocean interacted with each other.”

At the camera, Liberty student Lawrence Zhang said, “Hey, we’re Chinese, too.”

“Indeed, our students were quite diverse and five students had some Asian heritage,” Bartlett said. We “all chuckled at the observation.” Furthermore, Rainbow’s Will Bao spoke in Mandarin with his Chinese peer.

Coaches are Bradley Denton and Don Maddox, Discovery and Liberty; and Bartlett, Bill Nash and Noel Newquist, Rainbow.

Coaches are planning future matches with students in Germany and New Zealand.

Engaging in global learning is an exciting opportunity for students, Bartlett said. “With resources available today, endless possibilities (exist) to connect around the world and learn from each other.”

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