EDMOND — The Chess Club at Ida Freeman Elementary increased in size since last year and so has its expenses. David Nichols, fifth-grade coach, said they had 60 students participate in Chess Club last year but 123 members this year.
“We have so many children participating it has necessitated us taking Edmond Public School buses (to tournaments),” Nichols said. He said more students also meant buying more equipment. Nichols plans to take 24 fifth-graders and nine fourth-graders to a national tournament in Pittsburg, Penn., toward the end of the semester. However, the club only has raised $6,700 so far and they need $14,000.
“The thing that grieves me is the last three times we’ve been to national we’ve finished second, fourth and second. There is a national championship somewhere in this building. I think they deserve a shot at the national championship because I think they’ve got it in them,” Nichols said. He said if they do not raise the funds by March 14 the trip will be canceled versus taking fewer students. Nichols said it’s all or nothing.
“That’s the way we play. That’s the way we operate. That’s the way we travel,” he said.
Nichols said the main reason for the participation increase was the implementation of Chess Academy, which meets from 3-6 p.m. every other Tuesday in the school cafeteria. “Chess is a great leveling agent,” Nichols said. “Kids who have struggled in school can find themselves excelling.”
Students from a variety of levels, including gifted, emotionally disturbed, learning disabled and students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in the program. Nichols said students act differently when they sit down to play chess.
Here is the full story.