Kids, it’s time to slow down, think, check mate

Black versus white, a knight against the queen, and an immobile king shielded by pawns — the Age of Chess has come to Vanderhoof.

Open to all with a focus on school-aged strategists

Black versus white, a knight against the queen, and an immobile king shielded by pawns — the Age of Chess has come to Vanderhoof.

Though open to all ages, Vanderhoof’s new chess club looks to provide a brain-stimulating activity for kids in town, said its founder Dr. Jeff Obayashi, who had originally created the club with his two kids below the age of four in mind.

“There’s some community activities for child development, but not a ton,” Obayashi said. “So I was looking to see what I could create for Vanderhoof.”

When the club started in April this year, Obayashi had expected minimal interest, but the number of regular participants has grown to over a dozen within the last few months — with an average age of 10 to 12.

Through chess, he hopes to teach kids problem-solving skills in today’s rapidly-changing society.

“I find today children are in such a rapid society that everything is action reaction, so they only develop short term plans,” he said. “I’m hoping chess will slow them down in a way. Instead of just reacting, they can think the short-term immediate reaction is this, the better long-term action is that.”

With an emphasis on sportsmanship, as well as short versus long term planning, Obayashi hopes to teach principles that the chess players can apply to school and life.

“They have to approach life and chess as an opening game, middle game, end game,” he said. “So they develop a way of breaking a game down to its parts and understanding it better.”

Obayashi added that chess will touch on mathematical elements as well, in calculating risk versus benefit.

“A lot of the best chess players in history are scientists and mathematicians,” he said.

Coming across success stories of small startup chess clubs in American inner cities during his research on brain-stimulating activities for kids, Obayashi said that chess breaks barriers as it levels the playing field across social-economical status.

“Most people that played chess in the Medieval Ages had to have the luxury of time, so it would be upper echelons of society,” he said.

And for himself?

“The more important story is yet to be told,” Obayashi said, as he had only become more interested in the game three years ago. “For me to prevent dementia, keep my brain exercised, to work on calculation strategy.”

Hosted on Monday evenings at the NVSS library with Jeremy Hara as teacher sponsor, the club’s president is selected among interested participants through a game of chess.

For the current president Theo Clarke, 10, who had just started playing and had defeated vice-president by “luck”, it’s a hard game.

“It’s thinking about what you’re going to move next, and what would be the best move,” Clarke said. “You really need to think.”

 

Just Posted

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

Mental health facility will have 25 beds, up from 20 in current facility

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Healthcare travelling roadshow aims to inspire high school students across B.C

Over 2,000 youth in different rural communities will be visited through this project

Gallery: Project Heavy Duty inspires students into it’s 32nd year

The event is a collaboration between SD91 and industry in and around Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Nisga’a Nation tourism industry hits the road

First pilot tour to the Nass Valley is set for this summer with Indigenous Tourism BC

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Most Read