Newburyport Daily News
---- — SEABROOK -- Earlier this month, this year’s Seabrook School District Chess Club met for the first time at Seabrook Middle School. After a successful inaugural year, 22 Seabrook students who range from first through eighth grades gathered to learn the game, hone their skills, and practice with other student chess enthusiasts.
“Our first year was so much fun for the students,” said Teresa Morin Bailey, principal of Seabrook Elementary School. “I’m very pleased that we’re able to hold the chess club for both our elementary and middle school students once again, thanks to our volunteer coaches.”
“The Chess Club really gained momentum last year, and we’re happy that our students will have the opportunity to participate again this year,” said Les Shepard, principal of Seabrook Middle School.
Two parent volunteers, Kiki and Peter Evans, offer their time and skills each week to coach the district’s Chess Club. “We’re excited that so many students have decided to join the club, and we’re looking forward to improving our chess skills,” Peter Evans said.
“We were able to get the program up and running last year, and we had so much fun,” said Kiki Evans. “This year, we hope to advance the Chess Club forward into more tournament play in the spring, but it’s up to each player to decide how far they want to go and whether or not they wish to compete. Each player can learn and play at his or her own speed, with no pressure except to enjoy the game,” she said.
Students from any grade are welcomed into Chess Club, since a player’s skill level, not age, is what counts. In chess, one’s ability to reason, analyze and develop a strategy becomes the focal point.
Peter Evans noted, “In chess, there are consequences for your actions. It teaches you to plan ahead, but there are always surprises waiting for you.”
The group is motivated by their enjoyment of the game and sharing their interest with one another. Chase Knowles, a fourth grader at Seabrook Elementary School, said, “Chess is a thinking game, and it’s really fun.”
“I really enjoy playing chess,” said Seabrook Middle School eighth grader Joe King. “I enjoy winning, and I’ve gotten better since last year, so I’m looking forward to more tournaments,” said eighth grader Adam Bourque.
The club meets every Friday following the school day. Anna Evans, a fourth grader who has competed in several chess tournaments, said, “It’s a good way to unwind at the end of the day, right before the weekend.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Evans have provided our Seabrook Students an opportunity to learning the game of chess and practice higher thinking, strategies and techniques,” said SMS Assistant Principal Bryan Belanger. “Parent volunteers are so important to our schools, and these parents came forward to form this club for the benefit of our students,” he added.
“The chess club is only the beginning. If more parents come forward to share their talents and skills, we can provide other after school programs to our students. Fitness and health are important aspects of our lives. It would be great to start a walking club or a nutrition club. The possibilities are endless,” said Bailey.