Thursday, July 2, 2015

Holiday Fun

The past few days I've been helping to run holiday programs for Kids Unlimited, the new parent company for Chess Kids. Chess has now become part of something bigger, as we have become part of a group of activities which aim to stimulate kids through various activities. It was great to be part of a holiday program where I was working on chess, but there were other activities such as drama, electronics, computer programming and hip hop dance.

The kids come along to a program, but can try other programs out for a while if they want. In fact, even the teachers can try their hand out at other things. I fell back into my entertainment days by presenting some performance workshops for the kids! All in all, it has been great fun.

Even the chess has been fun for me. While I've presented a few ideas this week, I've also played a game of Kriegspiel chess with a group of kids, where I was the referee, and they were split into 2 groups. They seemed to really like the challenge of not being able to see the other teams moves, and having to guess where things were. I also improvised some boards into a 4 player game which was another hit with the kids. First they tried to play solo, and then the game split into teams which was great fun. For these and more variants of chess check out this site!

So do these games have any educational value from a chess point of view? It could be argued not at all, but I would say that skills such as visualisation, imagination, and overall board vision are improved by playing these games. One also has to consider what an opponent is doing, or what lots of opponent's are doing, or what an unseen opponent is doing! Making kids aware of these skills in a fun and challenging environment must be good for their chess!

An improvised 4 player chess game, made even harder having 2 sets of white and 2 sets of black pieces! Kids loved it.

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