Eleven-year-old twins Jay and Jessica Regam of Blue Bell began playing chess when they were 5. At the time, enrolling her children in lessons was not a serious move, Nina Regam said.
Like Candyland or Chutes and Ladders, chess was just another board game for the youngsters to play.
Six years later, the fifth-graders have competed in tournaments across the country. Jay, a student at Chestnut Hill Academy, recently placed third at the 38th annual National Chess Congress in Philadelphia, a non-scholastic tournament in which he beat “a college guy.”
Jessica, who attends Springside School, holds the title of 2007 fourth-grade Pennsylvania chess champion, along with two other students she tied in the state.
And the twins have only been competing since summer 2006, when they joined the U.S. Chess Federation. Jay said he and his sister “practiced and practiced” until their coach at the U.S. Chess Academy in Huntingdon Valley told them they were ready to compete.
Jessica described tournaments as “really quiet.” They take place in a big ballroom with “special chess clocks,” she said.
…The twins, however, find chess to be anything but boring. To sum it up, Jay said chess is “fun.” Jessica called it a “very unique game.”
“[Chess] helps develop our minds and helps us think more and analyze,” she continued.
Jay agreed. “Especially in math,” he said.
When asked where their love for chess and their game skill came from, if it was, perhaps, passed down from a family member, Jay said, “My dad can play, but he’s not that good.”
The twins agreed they could definitely beat him.
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