Clubs at Jenison Schools: Junior High Chess Club

This April we will be spotlighting three unique clubs offered for students at Jenison! We hope you will join us each week this month to be surprised and inspired by the talents and interests of our kids.

MIII5597Last year, seventh grader Jonah Graham decided his school needed a Chess Club so he and his fellow chess fans approached math teacher, Nate Ohman, about the possibility. Mr Ohman admits that his passion for math has always included an interest in the strategy of the game and he has been playing since he was a child. It was a natural fit!

The club meets every week during the second and third quarters and there are approximately 30 students involved. “Most of the time is spent playing chess. We incorporate a “chess ladder” to rank the students by ability level and we try to make the matches fun and competitive for both players by matching up players who have similar skills.  We have also done a club tournament as well as a “chess board rotation” game.”

Jonah Graham says that the game of chess “has a challenge for every level of skill and it really helps to improve your game when you can play against people at or above your skill level.”

MIII5602Anyone who knows the game of Chess [or has been intimidated by it] can tell you that it’s not just fun and games “Chess club provides a safe place for students to build friendships and share a common experience around a game that builds thinking and strategy skills. I believe that it enhances problem solving skills and increases the ability to think beyond the here and now.  Chess requires planning ahead and anticipating various scenarios that could occur.  These are definitely life skills. Chess club can be a wholesome part of a student’s junior high experience.”

MIII5562“Even though chess is an old game there has been a lot of interest. It’s a good opportunity to make new friends with people you didn’t realize you had something in common with” says Jonah.

Mr Ohman agrees, “It is a great place for students to meet new friends and enjoy time with old ones.  It is a fun way to sharpen problem solving skills and enhance thinking.”

Way to go Chess Club! What a cool way to challenge yourselves and improve your strategic skills. It’s your move!





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