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How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the checking-the-checkmate dept.

Education 128

theodp writes The good news, writes Michael Thomas, is that wired kids are learning chess at an unprecedented rate. Young children learning chess from tablets can quickly become more knowledgeable than their parents. But the bad news, laments Thomas, is there is so much demand for scholastic chess that there are not enough experienced chess facilitators to go around. Could technology like RFID-tagged chess pieces or services like ChessStream.com be employed to referee second-grader chess matches, Thomas wonders, or are more well-meaning-but-not-necessarily-expert human facilitators — a la T-ball coaches — the answer?

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Hook, line, s... (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47446219)

A "shortage"! Quick, import more H1B's!

Re:Hook, line, s... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446905)

A "shortage"! Quick, import more H1B's!

There is no shortage. Just chess referees not willing to work at such low wages.

Re:Hook, line, s... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447823)

No need, I'm already eight steps ahead of you.

Obama has a Russian chess tutor (1)

Dareth (47614) | about 2 months ago | (#47448547)

Obama has a Russian chess tutor named Putin.
Don't think they are playing on tablets and they may just be betting the entire world!

If they learn chess on tablets, (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 2 months ago | (#47446231)

perhaps they will also play chess on tablets.

Re:If they learn chess on tablets, (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47446293)

But PacMan keeps eating my pieces

Re:If they learn chess on tablets, (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 2 months ago | (#47447101)

Either that, or just poin a webcam at the table so that a remote judge can be contacted when needed.

When I played chess as a kid, we'd often play tournament games without a referee. Both players are required to write down the moves (unless short on time) so the game can be played back afterwards if there's any ambiguity. This approach might not work if one of the players is an asshole, but none of the members of our club was.

The proposals in TFA (brain implants, rfid tags in chess pieces) are stupid beyond belief.

Re:If they learn chess on tablets, (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 2 months ago | (#47447123)

The proposals in TFA (brain implants, rfid tags in chess pieces) are stupid beyond belief.

I have to agree. When I think of special technology for this, what first comes to mind is a variation on the "keyboard projected onto the table" idea, only it's a chessboard projected onto the table. If the software could know which squares were occupied and which weren't, it wouldn't even need to be able to distinguish one piece from another.

Er Ma Gerd.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446253)

What will we as a society do with an unprecedented crisis such as this looming? With all of the other myriad crises plaguing our nation, this is what keeps me up at night.

New Headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446503)

American Kids Falling Behind in Chess!

More Chinese Kids Play Chess Than American Kids!

America Behind In Chess.

Chess Helps Kids Excel

THEN you will see every helicopter parent demanding facilitators be hired by schools.

Re: New Headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446631)

A few days ago I had the good fortune to be on a plane next to some bay area yuppie trying to teach its 3-5 year old daughter to play chess on an ipad..

Re:New Headlines (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#47446665)

Helicopter parents are so last year. We have drone parents now.

Re:New Headlines (1)

xclr8r (658786) | about 2 months ago | (#47448869)

The shortage on experienced facilitators is nothing new. back in the day 80's/90's I kept having to explain what 'en passant' was and pull it up in the chess manuals to inform the adults that yes this was a legal move. At least my own chess club facilitator was keen on learning something new and distributed the knowledge to the rest of the club.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Er Ma Gerd.... (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 months ago | (#47446557)

First, try not to panic.

This is a stressful time for all of us, but we will get through this.

Re:Er Ma Gerd.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446613)

If you want to stay up all tonight, imagine all-out thermonuclear war at bedtime.

Re:Er Ma Gerd.... (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 months ago | (#47447129)

Obviously, this means war. And strip searches at bus stations. Problem solved.

Re:Er Ma Gerd.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47449545)

Obviously, this means war. And strip searches at bus stations. Problem solved.

No, you'll need tax cuts for the rich too. And an extension on copyright.

An absurd "crisis"! LOL (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446269)

Every minute playing chess would be better spent learning about algorithms, computer programming, or biology.

The last thing any parent or teacher should do is encourage playing chess at any serious level. It's like encouraging people to compute logarithms or trigonometric functions longhand on paper; there's some initial benefit in learning some abstract ideas, but then it's just mechanics. And the same is true for chess, and computers have established this in a dramatic way, by showing that simple but fast and deep searches with very simple heuristics can beat any human who has ever lived. A $0.50 pocket calculator can bet any human at the sine function game!

The argument made in that article that chess is somehow good for the goals of "STEM" makes me laugh out loud, but simultaneously weep that the idea was proposed with apparent sincerity...

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446447)

I feel the same way when people think "space" will somehow inspire people into STEM jobs.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about 2 months ago | (#47446699)

I don't think "space" will just inspire. It can and has produced significant advances (and thus careers) — although that benefit might not be running on all thrusters anymore.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47448529)

Not really, you are thinking of war.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (2)

m00sh (2538182) | about 2 months ago | (#47446919)

Every minute playing chess would be better spent learning about algorithms, computer programming, or biology.

The last thing any parent or teacher should do is encourage playing chess at any serious level. It's like encouraging people to compute logarithms or trigonometric functions longhand on paper; there's some initial benefit in learning some abstract ideas, but then it's just mechanics. And the same is true for chess, and computers have established this in a dramatic way, by showing that simple but fast and deep searches with very simple heuristics can beat any human who has ever lived. A $0.50 pocket calculator can bet any human at the sine function game!

The argument made in that article that chess is somehow good for the goals of "STEM" makes me laugh out loud, but simultaneously weep that the idea was proposed with apparent sincerity...

Every minute spent training for a marathon is useless because we have cars. A $50 junker can beat the fastest marathon runner.

Why is learning about algorithms useful? For every algorithm you learn, there are at least a dozen implementation of the said algorithm.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 2 months ago | (#47446979)

Every minute spent training for a marathon is useless because we have cars.

Training for a marathon improves physical conditioning and fitness which is arguably useful in it's own right. Cars satisfy transportation needs, but they do little or nothing to improve physical conditioning or fitness. They're different things and not really comparable.

Why is learning about algorithms useful? For every algorithm you learn, there are at least a dozen implementation of the said algorithm.

It's the algorithm that's important, not the implementation. Algorithms are discrete methods of abstract problem solving and study of them improves both abstract thinking and general problem solving capability. The game of chess for example is well solved by minimax searching of decision trees with a few chess specific evaluation functions thrown in. Further refinements and sufficient processing power allow even the best human players to be reliably defeated, but the basic concept remains the same: minimax search of decision trees. The game of chess can be part of a course on game theory or an introduction to algorithms, but the grand parent is correct that any more serious study or effort at mastering the game, outside of subjective entertainment value, is largely wasted given that computers are better at it than most or even all humans. Moreover, the mastery of chess doesn't seem to provide any special educational or intelligence benefit that couldn't also be had with many fewer hours of more generally applicable study of game theory, algorithms, computer science or mathematics.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447003)

Every minute spent training for a marathon is useless because we have cars.

Training for a marathon improves physical conditioning and fitness which is arguably useful in it's own right.

You are missing the GP's point here. The argument here would be that playing chess (and in general, using your brain) increases your brain capacity, outside the algorithms employed in chess game.

There have been numerous studies about doing memory exercises to keep late-age dementia at bay. Similar process here, use it or lose it.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (2)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 2 months ago | (#47447047)

Similar process here, use it or lose it.

I haven't played a serious game of chess since I took up programming decades ago. Why spend time learning to play chess when I can write a program that will beat most humans? Even a novice programmer could create a very strong chess AI using information that's publicly available. Chess was an early area of interest in AI and game theory but it's largely a solved problem now, used as an example of minimax search in undergraduate textbooks on the subject.

Re: An absurd "crisis"! LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47448399)

You ever go out of your 'cellar'?

Re: An absurd "crisis"! LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47448737)

You ever go out of your 'cellar'?

Only long enough to bang your mom.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47448627)

" Why spend time learning to play chess when I can write a program that will beat most humans? "
To develop thinking skills. Planning, changing, thinking many steps ahead.

Everything you learn from chess would make you a better computer programmer.

Also, I doubt you can right an algorithm that will beat most mediocre chess players. Try it some time.

Yes, you said most humans. If you literally meant most humans, well then duh. Most human don't know how to play.
"Even a novice programmer could create a very strong chess AI using information that's publicly available."
ah, you are a C&P programmer. Great. Like we need more of those.

"but it's largely a solved problem now, "
I don't think you know what that means, becasue it is not largely solved. Checkers is largely solved..
Of course what does largely solved mean? When speaking of an algorithm, either it's solved not or it's not.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

itzly (3699663) | about 2 months ago | (#47449267)

Everything you learn from chess would make you a better computer programmer.

No, it would make you a better chess player. If you want to be a better computer programmer, time is better spend on studying and writing computer programs.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47448517)

You are missing the GP's point here.

He is not missing the point. Sure, chess is a good brain exerciser. But there are plenty of other activities that are just as good, but are also actually useful in their own right.

When I was in high school, I learned to play chess well enough to compete in tournaments. I also became a pretty wicked Go player. In hindsight, I consider all of that a waste of time, and I regret it. I should have spent that time becoming a better programmer, a better circuit designer, or a better writer or even better at conversation. Those things would have actually made a difference in my life.

Now that I have kids of my own, I have taught them both chess and Go, but only at the friendly-game level. We spend a lot more time playing with Lego Mindstorms, and writing games in Scratch or Python.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 months ago | (#47447035)

Training for a marathon improves physical conditioning and fitness which is arguably useful in it's own right.

And yet we constantly hear of studies that show a high degree of constant mental activity is good for the physical condition of the brain and keeping it exercised reduces the risk of dementia.

In pretty much any physical or mental activity we do as people we gain some kind of benefit. Reading has a benefit, playing computer games has a benefit, solving Rubik's cubes has a benefit, and so does playing chess. I could think of worse things for teenagers to do than mentally stimulating their minds while competing with each other.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447365)

Training for a marathon improves physical conditioning and fitness which is arguably useful in it's own right. Cars satisfy transportation needs, but they do little or nothing to improve physical conditioning or fitness. They're different things and not really comparable.

..until you replace healthy marathon hobby with being the absolute world superstar in marathon running at even the expense of your well-being.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 months ago | (#47446999)

Why is learning about algorithms useful? For every algorithm you learn, there are at least a dozen implementation of the said algorithm.

Well said. I play chess because it increases my ability to organize my thoughts and...........it's fun.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 months ago | (#47447079)

I play chess because it increases my ability to organize my thoughts and...........it's fun.

Took you a while to think of that last one though, eh? ;)

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 months ago | (#47447103)

I play chess because it increases my ability to organize my thoughts and...........it's fun.

Took you a while to think of that last one though, eh? ;)

I had to organize my thoughts first

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

Kalium70 (3437049) | about 2 months ago | (#47447169)

If people get too worried about this, we will take an activity that kids enjoy doing just for fun into a high-pressure ordeal from that kids dread.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 2 months ago | (#47447085)

Every minute playing chess would be better spent [fill in your personal alternative here]

Perhaps people like, y'know, playing chess as a game? It's interesting, it passes the time, and it's actually quite challenging to become even moderately good at the game. The fact that algorithms can play chess is irrelevant, playing chess is not an activity that humans play algorithmically - they learn to play it intuitively, using pattern recognition and a bit of analysis, not exhaustive analysis and a whole bunch of rules, tables and a large database of known games to draw on. Chess programs employing 'simple' heuristics don't beat every human player - top players can still beat the top programs, though it's getting close. The programs in typical chess implementations do beat novice players, but in turn they are easily beaten once you get better at the game.

It's like saying there's no point playing soccer because a machine that can fire balls into a net could be easily built that would beat a human goalie every time. It really misses the whole point.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447153)

Every minute playing chess would be better spent learning

s/chess/video games/

Now do you agree?

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (3, Interesting)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 2 months ago | (#47447191)

The argument made in that article that chess is somehow good for the goals of "STEM" makes me laugh out loud

I have to agree with this. I was a successful player as a student; my high school team won the national championship, I won an individual state championship, and before this article I had no idea there was even anything called a "chess facilitator."
Chess was not in any way a "gateway to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics." Other than the satisfaction and enjoyment of the chess itself, the one other thing it did for me later was give me a couple of big breaks in my career, as I unknowingly (at the time) impressed somebody during some casual games.
Anything I learned about "science, technology, engineering and mathematics" I learned in spite of playing chess, not because of it.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about 2 months ago | (#47447479)

Surely you can't be serious? Learning how to operate under pressure, becoming comfortable with a crowd scrutinizing your play AND behavior, meeting people whose brains enjoy similar mental games/puzzles, how to lose gracefully; these are all very valuable skills. I was never a tournament chess player, so I am drawing parallels from a competitive card game (mtg), but I played enough to know my rough IDE. Growing up as an introverted type, high-level competitive tournament play taught me more about behaving effectively in the real world than many hard skills that might be subject to nervous bumbling had I not learned how to control my emotions under great pressure. Also, if you ever happen to get locked up for some BS (read: weed), the only enjoyable thing to do is play chess.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

Skip1952 (122013) | about 2 months ago | (#47447683)

Surely you can't be serious? Learning how to operate under pressure, becoming comfortable with a crowd scrutinizing your play AND behavior, meeting people whose brains enjoy similar mental games/puzzles, how to lose gracefully; these are all very valuable skills.

Learning to operate under pressure? Why not let everyone be a hockey goalie, not only do you get pressure and scrutiny but when you make a mistake a siren blares and a red light goes on. Did I mention all the people that cheer, or boo? Oh, and don't forget the handshake with the winning team at the end of the game!

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about 2 months ago | (#47448405)

If you are into that sure, any sort of 'sport' has some value. I think you have to discard sports or games at some point for more fruitful goals, but it is valuable for kids who don't necessarily care about the long-term goals and just want to interact in a competitive environment. Getting good at specifically chess though, teaches you how to study on your own. You can't get past a certain level without analyzing a lot of past games from very tedious books. It's all about creating good habits at a young age. Maybe this isn't a 'crisis', but chess appeals to bourgeois, middle class families that may not want their kids in sports or DnD. Rare is the child who will pick up a math textbook on their own, but the carrot of 'winning' is a good motivator.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47448687)

Because chess is cheaper? more easily accessible? doesn't encourage bulling? create a civilized event?
Are we seriously at a point where on a nerd site, chess is being compared to hockey?
WTF, has the world gone mad?
Hockey has all the worse elements of society in it, Chess has all the best.

Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47447821)

And it is just a boring simplistic game. Hell after a few months learning the basics it is basically just memorising every combination possible. Chess is for Autistics, forget about it and play something worth your time.

Every minute ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47448115)

> Every minute playing chess would be better spent ...
      learning go, obviously.

Chess is interesting... (0)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about 2 months ago | (#47446299)

...but we've only got a "shortage" of it if we think we have a shortage of K-5 Basketball Polishers as well.

Just because it's possible for a job to exist, doesn't mean that there needs to be a certain amount of those jobs.

bad idea (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 months ago | (#47446319)

Fact 1: Most 16 year olds I know these days can't spell.
Fact 2: An adult has 2x the brainpower as a child, especially with decision making, because of frontal lobe rearrangements that happen during teen years

So it's really quite stupid to teach K-5 kids chess instead of reading, writing, and spelling.

tubG1rl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446339)

any parting shot, 3verything else have their moments A'nd she ran

Schools cutting extra-curriculum (3, Insightful)

buckfeta2014 (3700011) | about 2 months ago | (#47446363)

The issue is with schools cutting extra-curriculum activities, because the teachers want to get paid, and the schools can't afford it. Fix that somehow, and you'll probably get all the coaches you need, not just for chess club, but for sports and the arts.

Re:Schools cutting extra-curriculum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446551)

If schools spent half the money they do on bullshir that isn't teaching, then there would be no problem.

Re:Schools cutting extra-curriculum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447735)

It's because these are 99% boys only activities. If you encourage more girls to play, the schools won't cut the programs. Hell, you might even get money from Google.

Youth Chess is Moving in the Wrong Direction (5, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 months ago | (#47446371)

I've had two kids now in youth chess and this article smacks of the "wrong direction" I think the youth chess movement is headed.

The trends I saw included:
#1) More PAID chess instructors. Er...for what? The best instruction...and players...are already online, with fully developed laddering, ranking, tutorials, etc.
#2) More REMOTE tournaments. What is this...hockey now? This is a huge barrier to families (e.g., smart immigrants, kids with divorced parents) who can't afford to truck the two hours in each direction - and overnight (i.e., requiring a hotel) meets are on the horizon.
#3) Life AFTER chess is discouraged. In my "gifted" experience, you learned chess in first or second grade, and could take down just about anyone in middle school, but then you moved on from games into programming, higher math, or something else with a lot of other people who outgrew chess as a daily or even weekly activity. However, "outgrowing chess" is no longer OK with this crowd...instead you're expected to keep playing until you ladder up or burn out - yikes.

As a taxpayer, I support chess on tablets (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446473)

As a taxpayer, I support chess on tablets.
1) No chess pieces to lose.
2) Program can ensure chess rules are always followed
3) school chess tournaments can be conducted via telephone/internet, avoiding unnecessary transportation. Seriously, there is a long tradition of chess by mail, or phone, and these are kids in public schools.
4) all of which mean, less expensive adult labor is needed to make things work.

Tech for a non-issue (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | about 2 months ago | (#47446385)

Could technology like RFID-tagged chess pieces

Is this a tech-for-no-reason article?

The article gives a long example where players need to figure out things like checkmate. That's the most trivial of problems, which players need to figure out just to complete the game. Plus, average children at the K-5 (outside of tournaments) have a house rule where capturing the enemy king is a checkmate, which is the same effect.

An easy question if you are an avid chess player, but what if you are not?

If you're at a tournament for that, then you really need to play a few chess matches yourself - even if it's against BattleChess, Chessmaster, or plenty of other free computer programs that can have their difficulty significantly reduced.

Teenagers are people too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446411)

The best approach would be to mentor teenage facilitators.

It's a joke article (2)

Animats (122034) | about 2 months ago | (#47446437)

Come on. The article [sas.com] is a joke. " A chess facilitator brain implant would be wired between perception and cognition. You would just look at the board and know if it is checkmate." Did the original poster not realize this?

Re:It's a joke article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446877)

Mod this guy up - it's a joke article.

Re:It's a joke article (1)

phizi0n (1237812) | about 2 months ago | (#47446983)

Come on.
The article [sas.com] is a joke.
" A chess facilitator brain implant would be wired between perception and cognition. You would just look at the board and know if it is checkmate." Did the original poster not realize this?

It's more along the lines of astroturfing than a joke. The linked article is a blog post on a data analysis company's website. The author is basically dreaming up ways for his company to profit off a minor/nonexistent problem.

Re:It's a joke article (1)

RDW (41497) | about 2 months ago | (#47447215)

It's not a joke article or astroturfing. He's just using humorous examples of improbable technical solutions to the problem, when of course the real answer is to get more adults involved in helping the kids to learn chess (which is his real point). He's written elsewhere about a K12 chess tournament sponsored by his company:

http://blogs.sas.com/content/s... [sas.com]

Not to detract from our roots... (3, Interesting)

quietwalker (969769) | about 2 months ago | (#47446459)

Do we really need to promote chess playing to a group of imaginative, energetic children who have just barely grasped the concept of role-taking, and are only barely ready to understand - much less compete in - competitive or team sports? Did they do something to earn this sort of punishment? Are these sort of felons?

Don't get me wrong; I was in a "Chess and Tactical Games Club" when I was in Highschool. We played warhammer 40k with minatures, star trek combat on a hex map that looked like a starscape, and recreated WW2 naval battles in the gym with wood blocks, marked ropes and protractors, played Risk and Axis & Allies. We even played a few economic simulator games.

However, I can't remember playing a single game of chess. This is largely because playing a game where a turn took an hour and a half was more fun than playing chess, and that's coming from a highschool geek back when the term meant something.

My guess is that there's only a perceived shortage of k-5 scholastic chess facilitators, rather, if the number is higher than 1, we probably have more than we ought.

Re:Not to detract from our roots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446533)

Maybe not what you intended, but it sounds a lot like what you are saying comes down to "I didn't like it or do it as a kid, so other kids must not like it or need it either."

My high school had a separate club for chess and other strategy games, and while there was quite a bit of overlap, the former was far larger and more active, even counting just the non-competitive ones there for social games and not actual tournaments. My middles school had a non-competitive club, and my elementary school covered chess at least two different grade levels (although it leaned heavily on some of the students already knowing it to help other students, as the teacher could only help with so many games at a time). There is no reason to not offer both and then structure things based on demand.

Re:Not to detract from our roots... (1)

shobadobs (264600) | about 2 months ago | (#47446897)

Oh yes, how will a child barely ready for team sports ever be able to play a one-on-one board game?

FFS, kids play on team sports at that age. Have you ever heard of tee-ball?

Re:Not to detract from our roots... (2)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 months ago | (#47447317)

Yeah, why bother with Chess?

How does it matter really?

I remember reading on BGG how someone brought Hive (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2655/hive) to some group of (children? I'm quite sure) chess players (possibly related to his or her own kids?) they tried it out and of course they wanted to play Hive rather than Chess (it was new for them) and he/her was told to not bring it any more.

Even though it's not very different. Move (and in Hive case place) your different pieces around until you win.

Re:Not to detract from our roots... (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 2 months ago | (#47447669)

Don't get me wrong; I was in a "Chess and Tactical Games Club" when I was in Highschool.

Here's the question I want to ask.

What about the schools WITHOUT chess clubs/teams or "tactical games clubs"? Yes, not everyone went to one of those schools with all those geek clubs like chess, rocketry, games, AV, computers.

Re:Not to detract from our roots... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47448107)

Chess encourages short-sighted tactical thinking with no concern for the consequences. You aim to take a single position (capture the king), even if it destroys *everything* in the process. Every move is about maintaining the tactical position, which is a short-term goal.

Go can be taught to four-year-old kids. It encourages abstract strategy across the larger plane: tactical battles are carried out based on their worth in the overall strategy. Do you enclose or run? Capture or let live? These make the difference between territory and influence, between scoring points and gaining control of the board. Which is worth more now? Which will provide you better control later? What is urgent, what do you need to win in the long run?

Chess is a game for small minds.

Re:Not to detract from our roots... (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about 2 months ago | (#47449407)

There are two main types of chess games. In one, someone manages to checkmate while there are still a lot of pieces on the board. You seem to only be familiar with this type of game. It's possible to prioritize for that over holding onto pieces, with strategies like "gambits" taking that idea back to the opening move.

But when both players are good enough that this doesn't happen, you get a drawn out type of game where very subtle position advantages allow picking off pawns, or exchanging a better piece for a worse one. Eventually those swaps knock out most of the pieces on the board, and then the person with an advantage in "material"--the pieces they still have--will normally win. One of the things you need to learn as a competative chess player is how to checkmate when you only have a small advantage like that. Can you win a game where you have a king and a bishop left vs. just a king? There's a whole body of research on pawnless chess endings [wikipedia.org] that to this day hasn't considered every possibility yet.

So how do you tell which type of game you're playing? That's the trick--you can't until it's over. If you goof on a risky push to checkmate and it fails, you can easily end up down in material and then playing the other type of game at a disadvantage. That's where people who are good at tactics instead of memorization can really shine--no one memorizes optimal play when you're already down a piece or two. The entire risk-reward evaluation changes when you're in a position where you must do something risky to win, because being conservative will eventually result in you losing to the person with more pieces.

And if you think there are so few combinations here that it's possible for the person who memorizes more to always win, you really need to revisit just who has the "small mind" here because you don't understand Chess at all. Go is really the simpler game here because it only has the long-term strategy to worry about. Chess players have to worry about a long-term game of position and material trade-offs, but at the same time you have to guard against short-term win approaches too. Your long-term game is worthless if you get nailed by a Fools Mate [chess-game...tegies.com] .

Re:Not to detract from our roots... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47448779)

You think teaching chess is punishment?
You are seriously stupid. Kids grab onto chess at a really early age. Not all of them will continue, but they enjoy the basic learning, and it's a cheap, and easy way to each them how to think.

" I can't remember playing a single game of chess. "
You're loss. It teach better long term straevy, tactice then any game you mentioned., and it has a way to progress, should you choose, in a measurable way.
I've play all the game listed. Nothing is as pure for reasoning and strategy then chess.

"highschool geek back when the term meant something."
ah, scotsman fallacy coupled with ignorance, well done. Chess also teaches taking pride in thinking deeply. Based on you post, you could of used a few games of chess.

You are essentially saying "I've never played chess seriously, therefor it's not as good as these other game I played".
Stupid.

Since you seem to value this sort of thing I"m going to say it seen thought its not actually data:
I've been playing strategy games since 1972, and I still do. A few times a year me and about 14 friends rent a house and play games for 4 days.
I played chess in school pretty seriously, for a while. did well, but I never liked competing seriously as a child.

Sargon II on Commodore 64 (1)

creimer (824291) | about 2 months ago | (#47446597)

I learned the basics of playing chess in the fifth grade when the guidance counselor picked a club for me since I had zero interest in joining any of the school clubs. I didn't master the game until I got Sargon II [spacious-mind.com] for the Commodore 64. After playing a game everyday for two years straight, I was able to defeat the computer on the highest difficulty setting most of the time.

Re:Sargon II on Commodore 64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447297)

from the wiki:
>BYTE in 1980 estimated that Sargon II had a 1500 rating at the highest tournament-time difficulty level

What about truly serious problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446645)

like women's underrepresentation in technology?

Re:What about truly serious problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447757)

Why is this not as serious as under representation in tech? Girls have to be interested in other things which lead to technology, like chess. A vast majority of chess players are male. There are very few female grand masters and no female has become World Champion.

You need to encourage girls to play thinking games like chess in order to get their minds into a more technical track.

They nailed it 500 years ago (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 months ago | (#47446677)

"[Chess] is certainly a pleasing and ingenious amusement, but it seems to have one defect, which is that it is possible to have too much knowledge of it, so that whoever would excel in the game must give a great deal of time to it, as I believe, and as much study as if he would learn some noble science or perform well anything of importance; and yet in the end, for all his pains, he only knows how to play a game. Thus, I think a very unusual thing happens in this, namely that mediocrity is more to be praised than excellence."
-- Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, 1528, Book II para. 31, Singleton translation

Re:They nailed it 500 years ago (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 2 months ago | (#47446785)

Careful, Richard Feynman once said something very similar about computer programming [goodreads.com] :

Well, Mr. Frankel, who started this program, began to suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you *play* with them. They are so wonderful. You have these switches - if it's an even number you do this, if it's an odd number you do that - and pretty soon you can do more and more elaborate things if you are clever enough, on one machine.

After a while the whole system broke down. Frankel wasn't paying any attention; he wasn't supervising anybody. The system was going very, very slowly - while he was sitting in a room figuring out how to make one tabulator automatically print arc-tangent X, and then it would start and it would print columns and then bitsi, bitsi, bitsi, and calculate the arc-tangent automatically by integrating as it went along and make a whole table in one operation.

Absolutely useless. We *had* tables of arc-tangents. But if you've ever worked with computers, you understand the disease - the *delight* in being able to see how much you can do. But he got the disease for the first time, the poor fellow who invented the thing.

Re:They nailed it 500 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446847)

I'm not sure that Feynman and Castiglione were saying the same thing.

Chess is a game. You can master it with a great deal of effort, and now you have mastered a game. Not very useful in general, except as a diversion (and not even a very good one if you're no fun to play with except against grandmasters).

Computers can do more than arc-tangent-x, the person using the computer felt he had to reinvent the wheel because it was cool to play around with a computer. Did he learn anything he didn't already know? Probably learned more about the computer, I suppose. Perhaps not absolutely useless, but depending on what the goal of the project was, he may well have wasted some time and money.

Computers aren't useless, but they sure can induce distractions from the task at hand.

Given the amount of time that people have spent inventing new languages to do the same thing that the old languages did, and then calling it cutting edge, I'm wondering if perhaps the good Doctor was on to something.

Hey, idiot: (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47449199)

HAHA, hoisted by your own petard.

ProTip: Don't grab a random quote from wikipedia.
I have a copy of it right here, and he says(Sir Friderick) : ..." the mean is more commendable then the excellence."
Meaning one should learn it, but to be the best he views it is the waste of time of the local courtiers. It based on observation of the Sapinish courtiers.
Later he goes on and talking about game besides chess(chestes) are there just for the common person to marvel at.

You really should try to understand what the fuck you are quoting from,, you look like an idiot.

Get the T ball couches (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 months ago | (#47446737)

... its more then sufficient for the referring of chess matches between children.

As an actual, full-time chess coach... (5, Insightful)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | about 2 months ago | (#47446741)

I am a full-time chess coach for K-5 kids. I have over 200 students that I see every week. At first I though this article was going to address the very real demand for more skilled coaches in K-5 schools. Instead, the article is trying to push a software/hardware solution that would make it "easier" to adjudicate games and tournaments. This solution is addressing a problem that doesn't actually exist.

Here is the problem they present as an example: an 'argument' between two students about whether a position is checkmate. The presented solution: a variety of software/hardware that will make it easier to 'referee' the position. This is ridiculous. When two students are having an argument, figuring out whether there is checkmate on the board is usually the easiest problem to solve. Getting the students to calm down and be good sports is the hard part.

In addition, there is no shortage of adjudication at tournaments. One or two coaches can easily handle the problems of 300+ students in a tournament. We don't need legions of people equipped with apps to go watch children's games. To make the article even more irrelevant, most tournaments across the world are run with a "non-interference" rule. This means that the tournament staff cannot actually comment on whether a position is checkmate. It is up to the students to come to a decision on their own, agree and report. The coaches with let them report an incorrect result if that is what they agree on. It is part of the game. So the coach doesn't actually need to know whether the position is really checkmate.

The only time an actual ruling needs to be passed is if the students can't come to an agreement. This is very rare and will usually only happen 1 in 2000 games or so. We don't need to RDIF tag all of our 16000+ tournament pieces just so that 1 in 2000 games someone who knows nothing about chess can make an accurate ruling. We'll just bring over an expert in those cases.

A quick aside to those questioning the benefits of K-5 chess, it is hugely beneficial to students. Sure, it would be great if they spent the time they did on chess on other things, like algorithms or biology. However, most students don't get super worked up about algorithms. They aren't going to willingly spend 15 hours a week on algorithms. They will happily spend that time on chess however, and chess is teaching them a lot of the same skills. Critical thinking, carefulness, perseverance, recovering from mistakes, cause and effect, and on, and on.

The most important skill that students learn is how much effort you have to put into something in order to really become an expert. Nothing else a child does in their K-12 years really teaches them that in order to be an expert, you need to spend years and years working on it. Chess is very good at driving this point home.

Anyone saying things like "every minute playing chess would be better spent learning about algorithms, computer programming, or biology." has clearly never sat a kindergartener down and try to teach them algorithms. Every day. For a year. Teach them chess. They will grasp it. They will want to learn. It is fun. They will gain skills that you wouldn't be able to impart in other ways.

But you don't need to take my word on it. The benefits of chess have been have been well studied. Scholastic chess is one of the few things that has been proven to consistently increase academic performance, collage success and future income.

thank you (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | about 2 months ago | (#47446837)

Most inspired and insightful post I've read on Slashdot all year.

Thank you for teaching children.

Re:As an actual, full-time chess coach... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 months ago | (#47446845)

The only time an actual ruling needs to be passed is if the students can't come to an agreement. This is very rare and will usually only happen 1 in 2000 games or so. We don't need to RDIF tag all of our 16000+ tournament pieces just so that 1 in 2000 games someone who knows nothing about chess can make an accurate ruling. We'll just bring over an expert in those cases.

As an expert, what is the most difficult ruling you have ever had to make?
I'm not a chess expert but I can't imagine any situation that would actually require an expert to resolve, as opposed to somebody who just read the rules and played a couple of games once.

Re:As an actual, full-time chess coach... (1)

top_down (137496) | about 2 months ago | (#47447399)

Telling if a position is mate or not is easy.

The more challenging situations usually arise because young children are often playing without a clock, don't have to write down their moves and don't have the skills to remember even a few moves back. This means there are situations where you have two highly emotional kids and a position on the board that cannot be reconstructed. Cheating, parents and time pressure may also be involved.
 

Re:As an actual, full-time chess coach... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446871)

I agree with what you say, but the article is written tongue in cheek: The "solutions" presented are completely over the top with the point of trying to encourage adults to support kids playing chess and just use common sense.

Re:As an actual, full-time chess coach... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446975)

The benefits of chess have been have been well studied. Scholastic chess is one of the few things that has been proven to consistently increase academic performance, collage success and future income.

Chess certainly did wonders for you!

Man, I wish I hadn't already modded this article. Yeah, I know, basic typos, but they were funny to me in the context.

Re:As an actual, full-time chess coach... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 months ago | (#47447139)

I would like your opinon on the game of Go.

Re:As an actual, full-time chess coach... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447775)

Out of curiosity, how many of your 200 'children' are female? And how many of your fellow coaches are male?

Re:As an actual, full-time chess coach... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447875)

Chess is a bullshit game. Play one computers haven't utterly conquered yet. Play Go.

Re:As an actual, full-time chess coach... (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47447879)

So are you saying that there is no shortage or anything, or that you need more people to stop the children from throttling each other when they lose?

Re:As an actual, full-time chess coach... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47448125)

You should look into Go. Chess is a small, very limited game that teaches poor thinking.

Re:As an actual, full-time chess coach... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47449237)

"like algorithms or biology"

While important, neither of those teach deep thinking, and alternative outcomes.
And, Chess teaches algorithms and how t apply them. Granted they are called maneuvers.

Candy Crush Saga Facilitators also (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47446769)

Also a shortage of facilitators at juniors grades in Candy Crush Saga, and that's not even touching the tip of the iceberg, Angry Birds Space coaches are at a chronically low level!

Bejeweled is in crisis, people!

Chess resourses (1)

Dollyknot (216765) | about 2 months ago | (#47447029)

Anyone looking for chess resourses could do worse, than visiting my website. http://dollyknot.com/chess.html/ [dollyknot.com]

Stupid Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447403)

I've been a TD for scholastic chess tournaments. For the most part, the kids are no different than adults, except slightly more respectful on average. In 95% of the games with semi-experienced kids, no TD is really even needed. The only time I got taxed was with the kids who had never been at a tournament before. In that case, it was not about figuring out whether a position was checkmate or not, but dealing with kids who knew each other deciding to offer advice to each other, or similar violations of the game.

The article was stupid to a level that is just hard to believe.

--MyLongNickName

Will Labor Day ever come this year? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447483)

I've never seen so much filler "news" in any previous year in the slow Memorial Day to Labor Day summer months.

Yet one more example (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 2 months ago | (#47447495)

All I can say is there damn well better be gender equity in grade school chess, as these testosterone fueled second grade boys oppress and damage the psyches of the girls, leading to a critical lack of both STEM and Chess Playing females.

Re:Yet one more example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47447927)

I agree. If more girls were encouraged to play chess, you'd likely increase the representation of girls in STEM. You can't just plop a girl or boy into a science class cold. There has to be hobbies like chess to lead into an _interest_ in science and a desire to learn.

Re:Yet one more example (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about 2 months ago | (#47449485)

In grade-school chess it's the 9 year old girls [foxnews.com] you have to watch out for.

Use HGH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47448501)

Use Human Growth Hormone to make them taller?

I used to enjoy chess @ that age (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47448589)

I used to enjoy chess, then I started getting involved with formal chess and found out I had to start studying other people's games to get better.

I could not think of a more boring subject; and I was reading math textbooks in my spare time, (4th-5th grade).

How does one become one? (1)

McDrewbie (530348) | about 2 months ago | (#47448769)

I could be one how does one do so?

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47449037)

Wake me when the online chess sites all break. Everybody that I know that's good at chess learned and play online. Chess is one of those games that if you can't figure out strategy on your own after learning the pieces and moves, you're not going to do well at chess. Plus, getting good at chess requires a lot of matches and so a lot of time. If you're not into it, even as a smart person, you're not going to waste the time, especially if you're better at something else maybe just as geeky.

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