Artesian Chess Club Teaching Valuable Life Skills to Students
Written By: Robin Reid, Storyteller/Content Manager
If you’re a parent looking for a great way to reduce your child’s constant “screen time” at home and help them learn important life skills, consider enrolling them in the Artesian Chess Club. Open to all students in the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville (MSD), regardless of skill level, it’s FREE to join and play.
Chess, a game developed in India approximately 1,500 years ago, can improve children’s brain function as it requires more concentration, perseverance, and patience. This isn’t just a game where you roll the dice, move a piece around a board, and hope to have more money at the end to be the winner. No, instead, chess teaches players to be more creative as well as use their memory and intuition.
Most importantly, children who play chess learn to process and extract information, make difficult decisions, and be a problem solver. These are valuable skills kids will need for life.
Chess can be a family activity.
Artesian Chess Club Coach Bill Pilat and his wife, Beth joined in 2012 as volunteers. “Both of our sons really enjoyed chess, so we wanted to help,” said Pilat. “We had seen what scholastic chess could do for kids and we wanted to give more local students that experience.
The Community Foundation of Morgan County (CFMC) has supported the Artesian Chess Club since January 2019 as a fund of CFMC. Partner with CFMC to help local student chess players by making an online donation at www.cfmconline.org today.
“The donations we receive help us enroll kids into tournaments. As an activity, chess is not expensive to play, but keeping costs down encourages more kids to play and benefit. Ideally, we want all Martinsville students to be able to play competitive chess if they want to,” Pilat added.
Currently, the Club has approximately 50 students from South Elementary, Brooklyn STEM Academy, Poston Road Elementary, Bell Intermediate Academy, John R. Wooden Middle School, and Martinsville High School.
Chess Club meets weekly during the season.
Starting in September, students meet every Wednesday night to play chess either at the Elementary or Middle/High School Clubs and they play through mid-March when Spring break begins. During the season, the kids play in four scholastic tournaments, including the Pike Tournament in Indianapolis, Bloomington Scholastic, State Individual, and State Team Championships.
On Saturday, March 23, the Artesian Chess Club hosted the 2019 Scholastic Chess of Indiana Team Chess Championship at Martinsville High School.
“The money we raised helped us host 650 scholastic chess players and over 1,000 parents and coaches throughout Indiana. This is the state’s biggest annual chess tournament and it was a tremendous success,” Pilat added. “Many of our guests told us they want to come back!”
Chess players participated with hopes of earning an award. They were ranked according to their ability. Teams of four competed against other schools. The team with the most individual game wins in a round, won the entire round. This set up allowed players of all abilities to be competitive throughout the tournament.
Chess teaches students valuable life skills.
“I read once where chess is the best way to practice making decisions. This is very true. Kids learn to plan ahead, evaluate choices, and make decisions. Then their opponent gives them immediate feedback. So, chess players develop critical thinking skills,” Pilat said. “Not only that, they learn how to cope with winning and losing. They have to resolve occasional disputes with opponents and they’re encouraged to develop good sportsmanship.”
The Artesian Chess Club’s purpose is “to bring the positive experience of chess to as many MSD students as possible by fostering relationships, building confidence, and encouraging sportsmanship while having fun.”
“Chess teaches teamwork and familiarity in a way that nothing else has thus far,” said Andrew Pilat, a Martinsville High School sophomore and chess player. “I think of the Artesian Chess Club as a family who has continuously supported me.”
CFMC’s mission is to connect donors and their charitable giving with our evolving community needs in order to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations through impact grantmaking. The vision of CFMC is to be the philanthropic leader and a catalyst in order to maximize available resources in our community.