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Best of the Week 2020-2021: Teaching to the Future


Students across St. Ed's campus have sparked a massive interest in playing chess, revitalizing the game so much that peers can watch daily chess matches played before and after school by the Tech Hut and in the Palisin Commons. As a devout chess player who learned how to play the game in kindergarten, Joshua Cochran '22 shared a little more insight behind the chess craze for students, faculty and staff alike. "Chess is a game of unique strategy and patience, both of which play a major role in the game's deeper appeal," says Josh. "The latest Netflix series 'The Queen's Gambit' could be the catalyst for some of my peers' latest interest in the game of chess, but most of us just really enjoy the strategy and ease of playing against one another throughout the school day. While students are waiting for classes to begin or to start their club meetings or sport practices after school, playing chess has been a fun way to pass the time and gives us another social outlet to hang out and safely adhere to COVID-19 protocols."

"There's always a hunger for friendly competition and I think having strong relationships between faculty and students helps to foster to this," says VP of Equity and Inclusion James Knight. "If I see students playing chess in the hallway, I'll always stop and talk to them and check out the chess match and many other adults will do the same. Before you know it, there will be a small crowd of spectators taking notes, learning new strategies, and just providing support and this usually leads to a game or two between a teacher and a student. Students love hearing about who plays chess in the building and they seek out opportunities to be challenged to become better chess players."

With each chess game limited to two players and the accompaniment of masks and hand sanitization, students have found chess matches to be an easier and COVID-friendly way to enjoy each other's company, to build their relationships with fellow peers and mentors, and to help each other in their chess skills and strategies. "Many aspects of chess can be applied to our studies. For me, personally, chess has helped me become a better test-taker. I'm able to answer questions more quickly while still reasoning through answers," says Josh. "The problem-solving and strategic aspect of the game can be directly applied to our student work, given that most of what we learn revolves around problem-solving or thinking ahead. The relationships made during these games too are one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. I have already played against Mr. Knight, with Principal McKenna '00 and Math teacher Mr. Corcoran '07 in attendance. This just shows how chess can bring us students and our mentors closer, exemplifying Family, one of the Seven Standards of an Edsman."

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