Elementary students engage in ‘Hour of Chess’

Students at Heritage Elementary School participate in the national "Hour of Chess." CONTRIBUTED
Students at Heritage Elementary School participate in the national “Hour of Chess.” CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – The first-ever national “Hour of Chess” event simultaneously engaged more than 650 students in Madison’s elementary schools on Feb. 12.

“Madison helped set a record of the number of chess games played in a single day,” Ranae Bartlett said. Bartlett serves as Executive Director of Madison City Chess League.

The sponsoring company, ChessKid.com, tallied more than 12,000 games on Feb. 12.

“Every elementary school in Madison participated,” Bartlett said. Bartlett was stationed at Rainbow Elementary School and monitored games online, similar to work of a master control room. Mollie Bounds organized the effort on behalf of the school district.

From 8 to 9 a.m. on Feb. 12, each Madison elementary student played an online

fast-chess game’ against another Madison student. Fast chess involves a game when players have less time for moves than in normal tournament play.

Computers and iPads were set up in every classroom for students to line up and play. The website ChessKid.com automatically paired students with similar playing abilities, John Peck said. Peck is Manager of Public Relations for Madison City Schools.

“The idea was to plant a seed for the love of chess and potentially break a national ChessKid.com record for the most games played in one hour,” Peck said.

Children from all over the world played in their classrooms, computer labs and media centers. The staff at ChessKid.com are planning more National Fast Chess Hour sessions on the first Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m.

Noel Newquist, art teacher at Heritage Elementary School and sponsor for Madison’s chess league, uses ChessKid.com as a learning platform. “My chess team kids love when I show them videos or have them do workouts,” he said.

“Their learning transposes to over-the-board success. The learning tools available through ChessKid are so well crafted that I use them for my personal chess growth as well,” Newquist said.

For more information, visit ChessKid.com, Facebook/ChessKid.com and Twitter.

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