Zugzwang

I’ve begun a chess club at school. Today was our informational meeting, and around twenty students showed up, including three girls. We set up a meeting schedule — first and third Mondays of the month — and I had them take a little “quiz” to see if they knew how to use algebraic notation, had the instinct to do more than take the “free” pawn in the King’s Gambit, could recognize the next move of the Sicilian Defense, and knew what stalemate means.

One small problem: we don’t have any chess sets. PTSA to the rescue. And as I was talking to someone about how to fill out the paperwork to request the funds, I had an epiphany: why not use chess in the classroom on a regular basis? The benefits are manifold, especially the thought of encouraging such dedicated, focused attention for some period of time, weighting options and making a decision, and overall critical thinking. So with some careful planning, I might actually be able to pull it off.

Coming home, I discovered that the Boy wants to play soccer. A good sign. And out of the blue, he wants to play chess.

Sometimes life gives you zugzwang — a situation in chess in which one player would rather not move but has to move. And occasionally, it gives you the opposite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *