Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Just What Does Chess Do?




Current Status
RHP: 1326
Gameknot: 1258
Playchess: 1182
*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!

13 comments:

transformation said...

thank you for your comments at my blog today. clearly, it is not my place to help you get better at chess, nor able, nor possessed of awareness as to your goals.

in this, my first comment in the new year, perhaps then, i might ask a question or two?

do you own a version of Fritz so that you might review your games for blunders and suggestions? do you use a database? chessBase has a freeware version called chessBaseLite.

do you have a plan to improve, that you have writen with tasks, steps, and time frame, not unlike something out of the Landmark Forum combined with the Franklin-Covey work in time management?

a plan with steps, tasks, intermediate goals, and benmarks which are clear, distinct, and measurable?

have you used CTS or any of the software training?

i scheduled these three days off, and day two has barely started, and i feel like a painter with an empty canvas...

i hope that you do not mind my words or questions...

warmest, david k

transformation said...

addendum: do you, therefore, have a good GM games collection?

if not, i can send you mine. pls e snail me at dk_experiment at y who dot communist !

i can send it in pgn, and you can download a pgn viewer to view them with. this is worth gold. even GM Seirawan has a copy (he is a close personal friend of mine, and saw him over lunch last time in town, with his wife: he bought! my investment idea was.... $$$).

1,735 of the greatest games, with few missing. 2.5 per day will take you two years to view them! two per day on a work day, and four per day on a weekend, plus holidays. will build your chess erudition.

Polly said...

Nice article. This is the first time I've visited your blog. I always check out the profiles of people that comment on my blog or other blogs that I read.

Chess is so rich in its possibilities for education. I think as you work on your own game you will find things that will carry over to your classroom. I have found I've learned a lot about myself as a player and a person. Often how I handle situations over the chess board mirror how I handle a similar situation in life. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so good. ;-o

Edukator said...

dk...I really appreciate the advice. I do have Fritz and generally use it to analyze games I've played on playchess.com. I have found this helpful but I need to have more opportunities to play longer games. So many people want to play blitz there.

Over the holidays I have going over the book "Chess: The Art of Logical Thinking" and following along on Chessbase.com. I still do not visualize the board well enough to follow long strings of annotations.

My plan right now is merely to play and use the book. I unfortunately do not have the time to go beyond that. I would also like to play more OTB games. The idea of using a database to me is intriguing...are any of them annotated?

Currently my goal is to improve by about 100 points in the next 6 months...I would like to enjoy the journey too! My interests are also being a bit introspective on the process as well.

Thanks for the detailed help...that is definitely what I need!

Edukator said...

Polly ... I notice a lot with my students already! Recently I noticed some students like to talk about taking pieces as "killing" (sometimes very animately) them and others are less inclined to do so. I can say it reflects a bit of their personality too!

Sir Augusto said...

Nice blog! Are you the edukator matching me on playchess?

I had a couple of chess students last year and it's awesome!! You can see the evolution month by month, game by game, and also the evolution as human being.

I love the methods and ways that Josh talks about chess. He was my first teacher at Chessmaster 10th academy and make me fall in love with the game! I want to buy The Art of Learning, but i'm on Brazil :(...

I recommend Chessmaster 10th Academy with Waitizkin! =]

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