Richmond students sharpen life skills in games of chess - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmond students sharpen life skills in games of chess


When you think of after-school activities, "basketball", "football", or "drama club" comes to mind. However, when the final bell rings at George Wythe High School, dozens of students meet over a board game that teaches skill as well as life lessons.

Inside room 213, there is an intense battle between She'lah Coleman and Sidiki Fofana. The checkered battlefield includes members of royalty, as well as a few peasants.

"You have to have a basic strategy if you want to capture the king. The game is all about getting the king," said Fofana.

The pair joins about 25 other students who meet after school three times a week to play games of chess.

Arthur Peebles started the program in October.

"Everyone is always involved in basketball and football, and I just felt like we need to bring something new to the table and something where the kids are using more mental skills," said Peebles.

Many of the students had never been introduced to the game, and when they were, some didn't like it.

"Because you had to do a lot of thinking," said Fofana.

However, as they continue to practice, their chess skills improve, along with their life skills.
"I use to just react. Didn't really think before I reacted. Just react. Now, I think before I do anything," said Coleman.

Peebles has seen an overall improvement in the students' memorization, critical thinking, and even sportsmanship - which was the  goal of the program. 

"You have one man, and before you move in chess, you have to make the right decision before you move. Before you make a move in life, you have to think about it and make the right decision," said Peebles.

The students will compete in their first tournament next month at the school.

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