The Sutter Chess Knights hosted the Bracher Elementary School Chess Club April 19 for Sutter Elementary School’s inaugural chess invitational. After pizza and beverages provided by the Sutter PTA, about 50 first through fifth grade students paired up for the chess challenge in the school multi-purpose room.
The young chess players had their own insights into the game, which is believed to have originated in the 6th century AD in India.
“Chess is a game where each piece can do its own thing and you can make up different strategies, and you have to use them to your advantage,” explained Sutter second grader Ian.
Bracher first grader Mylee put it a different way, saying, “You can use sneaky ways to get the other person’s piece.”
“It’s fun that each piece does a personal thing,” said Sutter second grader Lukas.
“You have to checkmate the king to win, to kill it. It’s kind of violent,” cautioned Sutter first grader Parker.
Parent volunteer Brandon Chun, who began Sutter’s chess club in 2013, explained that the invitational gave students at both schools the opportunity to have fun playing with different partners.
“We want to let other schools know about this so we can get multiple schools to participate,” said Chun, who hopes to build a student chess community within the Santa Clara Unified School District.
“It takes a couple of volunteer parents. You don’t have to be chess experts. You can learn along with the students,” said parent volunteer Carmela Guizar-Sanchez, who began the chess club at Bracher in 2015.
Everyone at the invitational sang the praises of chess for children.
“Chess is really good for thinking and I like [my two children] to be able to use their brains outside of class. It helps with concentration and patience. I just learned by helping them here, and now we have three chessboards at home,” said Sutter mom Cori Walker.
“My son’s very excited to play,” said Sutter dad Krishna Kotikalapudi. “Dhruva joined the club just a couple weeks ago so he can learn chess and play with friends. I played a lot as a child and now I play with him.” Dhruva, a first grader, also practices on www.chesskid.com.
“It gives them skills they can use in and beyond the classroom,” said Guizar-Sanchez. “It’s a direct benefit to schools. We’re really liking this and want to continue to make the chess invitational a tradition.” Bracher hosted Sutter last November for Bracher’s inaugural chess invitational.
Sutter principal Michael Fong thanked Chun and parent Shubhomoy Bhattacharya for organizing weekly chess classes and spearheading the chess invitational.
“Chess is one of our vital enrichment programs after school. It teaches students that choices have positive and a negative consequences that can be applied to their own decision making. It plays an important role in their academics,” wrote Fong in an email. “Chess is a game that can be played and enjoyed the rest of their lives.”