A new chess club at Woodside Elementary School is generating a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm. The Woodside Kings and Queens – a name chosen by its members – meets twice each month. The 43-member club is open to students from kindergarten to fifth grade.
Woodside parent Jeanne Rhodes approached school staff about forming a club because of her own son’s interest in chess. Her son attended a chess camp offered by the Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation (WSCF), and Rhodes’ contact with the camp organizers provided her with the inspiration to make her idea a reality for Woodside students. The club was formed last fall.
Each club meeting begins with a brief lesson from a certified chess instructor and continues with chess matches between players. Parents and volunteers assist the players with questions as needed.
The Woodside Kings and Queens participate in local chess tournaments hosted by the WSCF including one recently held at Rose Glen Elementary School in Waukesha. Woodside students received trophies in two divisions. Representing the K-3 team and taking second place in their division were Hunter Slaats, Hunter Dow, Jesse Schleicher and Jonah Greenwood. Representing the K-6 team and taking fifth place in their division were Grant Gorski, Connor Rhodes, Jake Myatt, Matt Kolesari and Austin Dalzin.
Rhodes points to studies that show prolonged exposure to chess at the elementary level can help raise IQ scores, strengthen problem-solving skills, teach kids how to make difficult and abstract decisions independently and enhance reading, memory, language and mathematical abilities.
“Parent volunteers and the enthusiasm of the student members have established a solid foundation for the Woodside Kings and Queens with a great future ahead,” Rhodes said.