UMBC chess team teaches youths about game
By Scott Weybright
Pawel Blehm has played chess in tournaments around the world, from New Delhi to Budapest, as well as all over his native Poland.
This fall, however, the former professional chess player has observed the movement of rooks, pawns, knights and other pieces on chessboards in the less exotic Arbutus Middle School.
Blehm, an international grand master, the game’s highest ranking, and some of his teammates on the University of Maryland, Baltimore County chess team volunteer two hours a week helping start a chess club at the school.
Blehm, a graduate student at UMBC, said teaching the students isn’t difficult “if they like what they do.”
“They listen to what we have to say,” he said.
The club meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-4 p.m. with one UMBC chess player and Arbutus Middle School teacher Daryl Walsh.
“I think it really does discipline their thinking,” Walsh said. “They have to discipline their thinking to consider all possibilities.”
Alan Sherman, a UMBC professor and director of the school’s chess program, said the university received a $10,000 grant from the Maryland State Department of Education to help promote chess in public schools around the state.
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