‘Check’ This Out! TAES Students Love the Chess Club

The club was a popular before school activity for third and fourth graders this year

Tyrone paraprofessional Kevin Zimmerman has taken his passion for the classic game of chess to the Tyrone Area Elementary School. After years of teaching high school students how to play, Zimmerman has brought his passion and knowledge of the game to a much younger audience.

While many people regard chess as complicated game for adults, the third and fourth graders in chess club prove that you’re never too young to learn the “King’s Game.”

‘’Teaching chess to elementary school students has been very rewarding.  They are very energetic and enthusiastic, it has been fun watching some of the students progress from learning how to move the pieces to learning game strategy and winning objectives,’’ explained Zimmerman.

Since the beginning of December students have been meeting in the art room every Wednesday and Thursday for competitive games of chess. Attendance has increased over the past several months.  By the end, participation was up to about 40 students, twenty each for third and fourth grade.

While the focus is on the game, it’s clear that the students involved have learned a lot more than just chess.

“The club promotes learning a great game, sportsmanship, social skills, and making good choices,” added Zimmerman, “One thing I’ve noticed is that kids get recognized that may not be the best athletes in the school or may not be the best musicians, but this maybe their niche.  They get to be good at something.  They get to be recognized for something they do very well and they enjoy.”

Emily McDonald, the fourth grade champion, found her love for chess this year.

‘’I like the Chess Club because I get to see all of my friends,’’ commented McDonald. ‘’Also, it’s a great way to exercise your brain and learn a new game.’’

Several parents were also impressed with what their children have learned in the Chess Club.

“I’m very proud of Ethan.  He’s been playing really well and really strong.  He can even beat me.  I’m really proud of what he’s learned,” said Erin Cooley, whose son Ethan was the third grade champion.

Emily McDonald planning her winning move.
Emily McDonald planning her winning move.

Elementary Librarian Mary Lewis has been a big help with clerical support and designing the award certificates. At the end of the Chess Club season each participant received some kind of recognition or award for their participation and skill. Everyone received certificates, the top seven received a pencil or a dog tag and the top four players all received a medal, two bronze, one silver and one gold.

On Wednesday, March 23 Elementary Principal Lisa Hartsock attended the Chess Club championship awards ceremony and put the metals around the necks of the following proud chess champions:

  • Ethan Cooley, third grade champion from Miss Dillon’s class
  • Emily McDonald, fourth grade champion from Ms. Koller’s class

Although the Chess Club has came to an end for this year, Mr. Zimmerman plans to do it again next year. He is looking for some motivated high school students who would be interested in helping with the club.  Students interested should contact Mr. Zimmerman at [email protected]

One thing I’ve noticed is that kids get recognized that may not be the best athletes in the school or may not be the best musicians, but this maybe their niche. They get to be good at something. They get to be recognized for something they do very well and they enjoy.”

— Mr. Kevin Zimmerman