Meeting of young minds
By Elizabeth Kenny

GREENLAND — The buzz of minds at work rose up from inside the Greenland Central School cafeteria Saturday afternoon. Some kids sat with their heads resting in their hands as they stared at the chess board. Others jiggled their feet under the table.

Avary Bell, 14, of Greenland, tapped the tip of her pencil against her bottom lip as she watched her opponent make his next move.

Bell and 20 other New Hampshire kids participated in this month’s Scholastic Chess of New Hampshire Tournament hosted by Greenland Central School. While many were from the Seacoast, some of the players traveled from as far away as Laconia to participate.

“I have a fascination for the game,” said Bell. “It involves a lot of thinking and strategy.”

From 9 a.m. to noon, third-graders sat across from ninth-graders and boys often played girls.

“Gender doesn’t matter,” said Kerry McDermott, assistant coordinator of the Scholastic Chess Association of New Hampshire. “It doesn’t matter if you’re large or small, older or younger. Across the chess board, everyone is an equal player.”

McDermott, of Dover, said schools love when children play chess in their free time because it gives them a great ability to concentrate, improves their grades and increases problem-solving skills.

Kids, coaches and parents agreed that chess is an opportunity for children to engage in friendly competition even if they are not athletic.

The rest of the story can be read here.
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