A group of students at an inner-city Mississippi high school say they are learning to move in life while making moves on the chess board. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.
Students meet in a classroom during elective hour to play two-man or four-man chess. The chess team at Wingfield High School is open to all students but comprised of mostly black males. The team's goal is to bring home a state championship trophy in March. Meanwhile, mentors say the object of the game is advancing the students intellectually and socially.
Lizabeth Thrasher is a math teacher and the chess team coach.
"It helps them to problem solve and analyze a situation. There are mathematical benefits because of the grid on the board and the notation. But also social benefits. We have a saying we say 'before you make a move, sit on your hands.' Scan the entire board and then make your move. It works in social situations as well. think before you say something, think before you act and make the best decision possible," said Thrasher.
William Smith, a senior chess player at Wingfield says, most of his classmates play sports. He, on the other hand, prefers the wisdom of playing chess.
"The way I see it with life and the chess board, you've got to plan your next move. You don't really know what your opponent is thinking and you can relate that to the future, you don't really know what will happen in the future but, you can plan around it and try to plan around it to help you out," said Smith.
The team doesn't get financial support from the school. They're trying to raise enough money to travel to Oxford this weekend for a tournament. Hattiesburg and Starkville are also among future tournament destinations.
If interested in assisting, Lizabeth Thrasher says you may submit donations through a PayPal account for the team: WingfieldChess@Yahoo.com or write checks to the "Blue and Gold Booster Club."