In the age of video games, the ancient game of chess curiously maintains a special cachet.
In particular, there is an increasing recognition of its effectiveness as an educational tool.
Recently, the Rhode Island Senate passed a resolution “urging the state education commissioner to support chess instruction either in classrooms or clubs in Rhode Island’s public schools.”
Actor and filmmaker Edward James Olmos recently urged the Brownsville, Texas, school board to do a documentary film about its successful school chess program.
Olmos starred in the film Stand and Deliver, which documents the use of math in motivating underprivileged students to high academic achievement.
“Look at what chess has done for these (Brownsville) students,” he declared.
“It breeds self-respect at the highest level. It infuses them with self-esteem and self-worth.”
Olmos, who was similarly motivated by baseball as a youth, wishes that he had instead concentrated on chess.
Chess has been extolled by many renowned thinkers. Pascal described it as “the gymnasium of the mind”; Goethe, as “the touchstone of the intellect.”