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New chess club is a win for childhood development

Two weeks ago, our story got published on Metro News. Here is there article: The age-old game of chess improves creative and strategic thinking from youth, says the director of Toronto’s Chess Education. Toronto’s newest chess club has officially opened in midtown, decked out with mint vinyl and glossy wooden boards, pictures of chess champions lining the walls and a red velvety curtain hanging from the playing hall. “This place was created for students that are already in love with the game and for students who are looking to improve their critical thinking skills, focus and patience,” says Adam Siegel, executive director of Chess Education. “It is a game for everyone who wants to expand their mind to think more creatively.” For children, the club may offer an especially valuable experience, offering the opportunity to develop social skills, build friendships and learn a game that requires strategy and planning. “In an age of stimulus overload and the potentially addictive distractions of apps and video games, chess offers both children and adults the pleasure of stepping back into a deeper, meditative mindfulness that has benefits well beyond playing the game itself,” says Siegel.

Students at St. Monica’s Catholic School were asked what made them so interested in the programs at Chess Education.One student, nine-year-old Andrea, says that “chess makes you creative,” while another student, eight-year-old Rhonel, says “chess makes you smarter.”

Chess has been studied for its effects on cognitive health and potential in both children and adults. But what exactly is it about the game that improves critical thinking skills and creativity?The answer may lie within the decision-making and foundational-logic skills that the game requires.“There are fundamentally two types of logic applied in a chess game: deductive and inductive reasoning, says Siegel. Inductive reasoning moves from specific instances into a generalized conclusion, while deductive reasoning moves from generalized principles that are known to be true to a true and specific conclusion. Both types of reasoning are required for thinking clearly. “Deductive would be, I go here, my opponent is forced here, I capture a piece, and my opponent must go here,” Siegel explains, pointing to a position on the board. This type of reasoning is based on step-by-step moves that inevitably lead to a specific result, based on how each chess piece moves individually and in concert with other chess pieces. “Inductive reasoning in chess is based on looking at the history of chess and what has worked and what has not worked for chess masters.,” Siegel continues. “It is the culmination of chess strategy over the past 2,000 years.”

Siegel conceived Chess Education as a place to help children and adults of all ages and ability levels experience the challenge and pleasure of one of the world’s most popular board games. He defines success as the progressive mastery of a worthwhile goal, and that’s something he hopes everyone can experience here. “It’s a game that’s fun, challenging and rewarding, both emotionally and intellectually,” he says.

Chess Education is now open at 3300 Yonge Street, Suite 205.

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