Check Mate: HAT Chess Club teaches strategy and sportsmanship

March 20, 2015

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Want to be a better problem solver? Play chess. That’s what Hebrew Academy of Tidewater students do who participate in the Chess Club, under the guidance and expertise of local master chess player, Rabbi Michael Panitz.

Rabbi Panitz, who volunteers his skills at HAT, has been teaching students of all ages to play chess for more than four decades. He holds an experts’ rating from the U.S. Chess Federation, as well as a Chess Tournament director’s certification.

“Much research has been done about the benefits of playing chess,” says Panitz. “The game helps establish logical and systematic patterns of thinking, especially in the area of problem solving, spatial orientation and sequencing. It teaches patience, as the rigorous demand to select one’s next move helps cultivate the willingness to stay with a problem until solving it.”

Chess is a universal game of the mind where children learn to think about the next move before they make it. They learn to strategize and understand the effects of what they are about to do. Opponents have a unique way of nonverbally sharing their intentions as they begin to plan ahead, teaching students the concept of friendly competition and good sportsmanship.

Hebrew Academy of Tidewater is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

by Janet Jenkins

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