Quest to be National Champions – Henderson MIddle School of El Paso!
Chess is a classic game of strategy that requires a person to make choices that can ultimately change the outcome. The game challenges both children and adults equally and can be picked up very quickly, but not everyone can achieve what our team has accomplished. Over the past few years our team has shown tremendous strides in becoming a dominating chess team. Since the team’s inception in 2013, the team has represented Henderson in the state tournaments very well. In 2013, we took six students to the state tournament and returned home as State Champions. The Following year we returned with only four students and were able to place 2nd overall in the state and qualified for Nationals. Only a month later, and after rigorous fund raising we were able to make enough money to send only four of the team members to Atlanta, Georgia to compete. The team did not disappoint and earned 19th place out of 44 teams. Our kids played against private schools and public schools from all over the country and were able to compete at a very high level. This year we were able to raise enough money to take nine students to the State tournament in McAllen, TX and again we came back victorious. Not only did we come back with yet another State Championship but we also returned with eight out of nine students earning individual accolades. The amount of focus that is required in this game is not only seen through the results of these tournaments but also seen in the classroom. Chess makes the kids smarter. It does so by teaching the following: focus, visualizing, critical thinking, weighing options, analyzing, thinking abstractly, planning, and multitasking strategies simultaneously. These skill sets are not specific to the game of chess but they are all part of the game. Chess stimulates the minds of children and helps them build these skills while enjoying a game. The value of chess for children may be much more than entertainment and amusement. Moreover, this year’s Chess team is very unique. Our team consists of twelve children, ten of which being in the 6th grade and having less than 6 months playing chess and the remaining two in the seventh grade. In addition, we believe that everyone can play chess. As educators we learn that not all children learn at the same rate and that some children may need something to help them focus. . Additionally, we have economically disadvantaged children, foster children and students who have at one time been homeless that have found sanctuary while playing on the Chess Team. The opportunity of taking our entire Chess team to national will be a dream come true for these children.