What Would Fischer Do?

NCAA basketball isn’t the only source of tournament madness this month.

At the Warren County School District’s Learning Enrichment Center, a three-week tournament is underway.

Students in third and fourth grades began double-elimination, head-to-head, over-the-board, tournament games on Tuesday.

The tournament is the culminating activity for a social studies unit on chess.

“A seven-year old challenged me,” LEC social studies teacher Joseph McClellan said. “He was very good.”

That such a young student was interested, and played so well, gave McClellan the idea to have slightly older students study and play.

“That piqued my interest,” he said. “I started looking into the history of the game.”

Among the historical figures he discovered with connections to chess was Benjamin Franklin.

“Franklin said you should play every day,” McClellan said.

In his Morals of Chess, Franklin listed “foresight, circumspection, and caution” as the major life lessons to be learned from the game.

Sportsmanship and never giving up were some of the others mentioned by McClellan.

The students played two rounds of the tournament on Tuesday. McClellan expects to finish two more rounds next week, leaving the final for the following week.

He said he may project the play so that all the students can watch the final match.