“Chess For Success is not a chess program — it’s an education program to trick kids into learning study skills,” explained noted local attorney and author Phillip Margolin before the S.E. Rotary Club in Woodstock on March 2nd.
Margolin, now retired from a criminal law practice in the Rose City that brought him before the U.S. Supreme Court on at least one occasion, in 1992 started “Chess For Success” as a pilot program in the Portland Public Schools. It worked, and has spread to 86 schools in 16 school districts and 3 states.
Margolin revealed to the Rotary group that his own study skills in his youth were terrible, and he didn’t start to get good grades until he himself started playing chess. Today, he said, kids have short attention spans and often have low self esteem — especially in the Title I schools on which the program concentrates. Learning and playing chess addresses both problems successfully for the 40+ students participating in each school. The program is open to all students in each school in grades 1 through 8.
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