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Edmond elementary school's chess club teaches life lessons to students

The chess club at Edmond's Ida Freeman Elementary School was started 15 years ago after during a bout with bad weather that limited outside activities.
BY STEVE GUST Modified: December 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm •  Published: December 26, 2012
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/articleid/3740542/1/pictures/1914838">Photo - Ashton Pavao, 3rd grade, studies his chess move during a chess club meeting at Freeman Elementary School in Edmond, Tuesday December 12, 2012. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman
Ashton Pavao, 3rd grade, studies his chess move during a chess club meeting at Freeman Elementary School in Edmond, Tuesday December 12, 2012. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman

Those wanting to be stay on the team must abide by guidelines.

They must maintain good grades and good behavior. Any violation, and they aren't allowed to take part in a tournament.

The successful program isn't funded by the school district, Nichols said.

“Parents, employers and business owners help us,” he said. “We also have two major fundraisers a year.”

The students are big fans of the club and the intricate board game.

Mayson Anderson, 11, is in her second year with the club. She admits she's competitive, whether it involves traditional sports or chess.

“It's really fun,” she said. “I like to help out the team and hope to be in a club when I go to Sequoyah (Middle School) next year.” Her proficiency in the game keeps improving, and she said she can defeat her parents.

Opportunities

Brandon Townsend, a fourth-grader, is another student who loves the opportunities provided by strategically moving pawns, rooks, knights and the other pieces.

“I like the challenge,” he said. “I also like winning medals.”

The team concept is vital.

“A lot of these kids haven't been on a team before, so this is beneficial to them,” Nichols said.

And chess is an inclusive sport. In most years, the ratio of boys and girls is 50/50, he said. Minority children also are urged to participate.

“We break the stereotype,” he said. “You don't have to be white, male and affluent to participate. We're open here.”

Coming up

The next big event is at Ida Freeman as the club hosts the Ida Freeman Winter Open on Jan. 19.

“It will be time to defend our own house,” Nichols said.


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