*note...my goal is reaching 1400 in each of these (and then tackle ICC) by June 28th.
I am not a great chess player...and yet right now I have done reasonably well in life in terms of a very satisfying job and wonderful personal life. Perhaps I'm merely deluded. Basically my questions boil down to four loosely interrelated inquiries. First, what possibly can chess teach me and more importantly --- my students? Next, if I reach my goal of ELO 1400 by July will I be, say, 200 points wiser in some other way? Are the attributes that are supposedly enhanced by chess measurable in some quantitative way? And finally, can the use of chess to hone the various alleged skills be justified in the classroom (and not just chess club)?
Clearly chess must enhance many qualities. Over 200 years ago Benjamin Franklin argued in his essay "The Morals of Chess" that chess has much to offer in terms of foresight, circumspection, caution, and an overall sense of dealing with adversaries and competition in real life. And even now, chess players such as Kasparov, Waitzkin, and others (see above) attempt to illuminate readers about notions of chess and its relation to topics ranging from making business decisions to meaningful life philosophies to learning in general. Empirically there do seem to be actual studies linking chess playing to a slew of abilities...but in almost each study there is some question in how they chose to quantify variables in both terms of reliability and validity.
I believe this is why I originally began this blog and where I would like to see it go in the future. Basically, what can chess do...both in the classroom and any insight it can offer me as both a teacher and a person. I would like to spend time looking at the current books out, the research, and hopefully insight from others (such as you). I have read "The Art of Learning" by Josh Waitzkin (and loved it!) and am currently involved with Garry Kasparov's book "How Life Imitates Chess" (and enjoy it for reasons beyond what the title suggests) and have loads of ideas to put out into the blogsphere for anyone to munch on in the future. I will also continue to note any progress in my game and ultimately continue work on my chess club at school if anything for my own record.
I look forward to this ambitious journey!