By Daniel Hill
Today Show: Youthful Champs of Chess
At Killip Elementary in Flagstaff Arizona, the students aren’t playing games, sort of. A five-time consecutive winner of the state chess championships, the school’s chess team is headed to Tennessee this weekend for the nationals – the U.S. Chess Super Nationals in Nashville.
Today Show: Ted Komada Chess Club
Ted Komada started the club nine years ago to help the students build self confidence by bettering the problem solving and critical thinking skills. One student attested to how much better he has been able to perform in math because of how he has to use his brain while playing chess. Man, I really should have picked up a rook or two while readying myself for the SATs.
Besides the academic improvement offered by the synapses-stimulating game, Komada started the program to offer the students more opportunities. More than 90 percent of the students are on the free or assisted lunch program and come from low income families. Needless to say, they don’t get to travel much, and having the opportunity to travel to new places and play chess is great for these children.
Today Show: Killip Chess Power
The club started out with just two kids, but it has grown to nearly 100 students who are practicing nearly every day to stay competitive and hone their skills to a razor’s edge for quickly approaching nationals in Nashville.
Komada is also the school’s music teacher, and runs the chess program (dubbed “Killip Chess Power” on the school’s website) as a moonlighter. Helping kids better themselves academically and giving them the opportunity to travel beyond their impoverished trappings, Ted’s program seemed like a hell of a thing. I wish them all the best!