Sam Hedenberg, a third-grader at Ridgeview Elementary School enjoys talking about his chess strategy.
He likes to plan his moves several steps ahead.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work, and sometimes it does,” Sam said.
Sam was one of 362 Keller district third-graders competing in a chess tournament May 7 at the Education Center.
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Students from Caprock, Friendship and Ridgeview Elementary Schools were divided into 12 brackets, and each bracket winner received a medal.
Supt. Randy Reid secured a grant to start the First Move Chess program for second- and third-grade students at three campuses. KISD officials are hoping to expand the program to other schools next year.
Danielle Grimes, a third-grade teacher at Friendship Elementary, said that the program provided chess sets for all the students to take home and sets for classrooms. The program also provides videos and workbooks.
“It’s amazing how much their critical thinking has improved,” Grimes said.
A few months ago, Grimes and her colleagues came up with the idea of a chess tournament to provide an added element of fun.
Kelli Palmer, a third-grade teacher at Ridgeview Elementary, said her students have learned to love to play chess, even asking to play chess instead of computer games.
Keira Carson, a third-grader at Friendship Elementary, said she has fun playing chess with her friends.
“I’m competitive, and I like using different strategies,” Keira said.
JoAnn Robb of Keller, whose third-grade son, Nicholas Robb, was engrossed in his game, said she sees a different side of him when he plays chess.
“He’s very busy, but here I get to see him calm and concentrating,” Robb said. “He plays his grandpa at home.”
Nicholas said, “It’s really fun winning.”