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CCMS Chess Club in meeting spotlight

“It is fun and challenging to learn.”

“It’s fun to teach your friends to play.”

“I plan to play a long time.”

That’s what some sixth and seventh graders from Currituck County Middle School had to say about, of all things, chess.

Yes, chess. And they came to February’s Board of Education meeting to share their enthusiasm during the school spotlight segment.

CCMS Chess Club sponsor and English teacher Chris Pinto accompanied the group and had some pretty interesting things to say about chess himself.

According to research, Pinto explained that chess can help students improve their reading and math skills, can boost their IQ, can help with problem solving skills and provides social and emotional benefits as well, such as giving students confidence and teaching them time management.

The Chess Club offers casual play. Members play, but don’t compete against one another. The 20 members get together for an hour each week after school, but also play and chat at lunch, at home, online.

For those interested, the Chess Team offers the opportunity to compete with other teams. At a recent tournament, Pinto said 52 players from six schools competed, and CCMS won. Six members of the CCMS team were also preparing for a two-day chess championship in Charlotte, where 600 kids were scheduled to compete. Pinto described the event as long and hard, but “awesome.

Some students knew how to play before joining the club, but Pinto explained that there is a big difference between knowing how the pieces move and strategy, that he said adds more fun for the players. He said he sees the students doing more each week and hopes to see other schools in the district start their own chess clubs.

When asked by board chairman Bill Dobney if the students play against him, Pinto said they do online and are “starting to give me more of a run for my money.”

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