We're starting up our Junior Chess Club again for grades 4 through 12. Chess Club will begin on Tuesday, April 3 and will continue every Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. until May 15. In the meantime, take a look below at these fun facts about the game of Chess!
1. Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers, loved Chess so much that he wrote an essay called "The Morals of Chess." In the essay, Franklin wrote that when you play Chess, you strengthen "foresight, circumspection, caution, and perseverance." There's some evidence from his own life to back that up. Franklin discovered electricity, persevered for peace in the aftermath of America's revolution, and helped write the United States Constitution.
2. Chess players helped win World War II and also helped establish the fundamentals of computer science. During World War II, the Germans used a machine called Enigma to send coded messages. In Great Britain, mathematicians, crossword puzzle whizzes, and skilled Chess players were recruited to help break Enigma's code. Among them was Alan Turing, who is considered the Father of Computer Science. In the end, they cracked Enigma's code and the Allied Powers won the war!
3. Learning how to play Chess helps kids do better in school! Studies have shown that Chess helps children develop better problem-solving skills and are more likely to perform better in reading and math. Research has also found that Chess can improve children's attention spans and visual memory.
4. Chess is one of the oldest board games in the world. There is some dispute over the exact year and country Chess originated from, but historians have found that Chess has roots all the way back to 600 AD!
5. While the origins of Chess are disputed, the origin of the word "Checkmate" can be traced back to Persia. "Check comes from a Persian phrase 'shah' (king) where 'shah mata / shah mat' meant 'the king is dead' or 'the king is helpless'"
6. Even though Chess has been around since the 6th century, it's still widely played around the world. Studies conducted in 2016 found that 605 million adults play chess every year, including 15% of U.S. adults.
7. What makes Chess so interesting is how different each game can be played. It is estimated that there are 318,979,564,000 ways to play the first four moves for both players!
There is so much more to be learned about Chess! Grades 4-12 are encouraged to play at the Patterson Library, or can ask a library employee at anytime to play with a set. The Patterson Library also has several chess books and can order more through Inter-library Loan.