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Cross-Curricular Learning

“Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History” is a blended learning textbook from the NSCF that teaches chess and social studies. Tracing the development of chess from its origins in ancient India, the authors take the student on a far-ranging journey through the palaces of medieval and Renaissance Europe to the cafés of the Enlightenment and the dawn of the Industrial Age, with a focus on the leading personalities of the royal game and on their contributions to understanding of it. Rogues and champions, tragic as well as inspirational human stories all serve as the backdrop for illustrative games and exercises of increasing complexity highlighting their discoveries, and invite the student to grasp the potential of chess to fascinate.

Over 370 pages with color diagrams and extensive illustrations throughout, “Great Moves” is targeted to aspiring chess players with a middle school reading level or above. Comprehension questions and chess problems are interspersed throughout the text allowing the book to be used both in a classroom setting and as a self-study/home school text. In a foreword to students, the authors quote former world champion Dr. Max Euwe who wrote, “The development of a chess player runs parallel with chess itself; a study of the history of playing methods therefore has great practical value.” But for the National Scholastic Chess Federation, the goal goes beyond just encouraging stronger chess players; it is to expand the role of chess within general education and to inspire students to take the critical thinking skills learned on the chessboard and to apply them to the broader world.

We at the NSCF believe the benefits of teaching chess to children go far beyond their time spent in front of a chessboard. Through chess, students hone their critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and strategic planning aptitudes. Chess improves focus and teaches children to stay on task. But we recognize that not all children are instantly enamored with the game. Thus Great Moves attempts to appeal to both the casual player and the enthusiast.

CROSS-CURRICULAR OR MULTI-DISCIPLINARY LEARNING

The idea behind Great Moves is cross-curricular or multi-disciplinary learning. A growing discussion in education is focused on promoting “deeper learning” for students. Most students are taught by sampling bits of information (a little math, a little history, some vocabulary). As education author Ben Johnson puts it: “Deep learning is like taking a long draught from a well of knowledge as opposed to only sipping from many different wells.” With cross-curricular learning, the blending of concepts builds and reinforces stronger connections between them.

For students who are only casually interested, we hope that Great Moves will encourage a developing appreciation for the game as they learn about the many famous people who played chess. Our storytelling provides context and adds “stickiness” to the lessons.

For the student who already enjoys chess, our goal is to motivate applying that passion to other disciplines, be it math and science or literature and the arts. We engage these students by sharing how studying the history of chess can help improve their playing ability. As we quote in the beginning of the book, Grandmaster and former world champion Dr. Max Euwe once shared that, “The history of chess (under its present rules) is the study of growth and gradual change of the strategic ideas of leading players of succeeding generations. Taking note of this evolution and thoroughly grasping it is the very thing which makes for better judgment and an increase in playing strength. The development of a chess player runs parallel with chess itself, a study of the history of playing methods therefore has great practical value.”

For all students, the most important subject to master is the ability to read and comprehend. They can then teach themselves whatever subjects they might become interested in throughout their lives. Great Moves was designed with both comprehension questions and chess exercises making it a useful tool for self-directed study with some occasional help from a coach or parent, as well as a classroom resource.

“Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History” by Sunil Weeramantry, Alan Abrams and Robert McLellan is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Cross-Curricular Learning

“Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History” is a blended learning textbook from the NSCF that teaches chess and social studies. Tracing the development of chess from its origins in ancient India, the authors take the student on a far-ranging journey through the palaces of medieval and Renaissance Europe to the cafés of the Enlightenment and the dawn of the Industrial Age, with a focus on the leading personalities of the royal game and on their contributions to understanding of it. Rogues and champions, tragic as well as inspirational human stories all serve as the backdrop for illustrative games and exercises of increasing complexity highlighting their discoveries, and invite the student to grasp the potential of chess to fascinate.

Over 370 pages with color diagrams and extensive illustrations throughout, “Great Moves” is targeted to aspiring chess players with a middle school reading level or above. Comprehension questions and chess problems are interspersed throughout the text allowing the book to be used both in a classroom setting and as a self-study/home school text. In a foreword to students, the authors quote former world champion Dr. Max Euwe who wrote, “The development of a chess player runs parallel with chess itself; a study of the history of playing methods therefore has great practical value.” But for the National Scholastic Chess Federation, the goal goes beyond just encouraging stronger chess players; it is to expand the role of chess within general education and to inspire students to take the critical thinking skills learned on the chessboard and to apply them to the broader world.

We at the NSCF believe the benefits of teaching chess to children go far beyond their time spent in front of a chessboard. Through chess, students hone their critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and strategic planning aptitudes. Chess improves focus and teaches children to stay on task. But we recognize that not all children are instantly enamored with the game. Thus Great Moves attempts to appeal to both the casual player and the enthusiast.

CROSS-CURRICULAR OR MULTI-DISCIPLINARY LEARNING

The idea behind Great Moves is cross-curricular or multi-disciplinary learning. A growing discussion in education is focused on promoting “deeper learning” for students. Most students are taught by sampling bits of information (a little math, a little history, some vocabulary). As education author Ben Johnson puts it: “Deep learning is like taking a long draught from a well of knowledge as opposed to only sipping from many different wells.” With cross-curricular learning, the blending of concepts builds and reinforces stronger connections between them.

For students who are only casually interested, we hope that Great Moves will encourage a developing appreciation for the game as they learn about the many famous people who played chess. Our storytelling provides context and adds “stickiness” to the lessons.

For the student who already enjoys chess, our goal is to motivate applying that passion to other disciplines, be it math and science or literature and the arts. We engage these students by sharing how studying the history of chess can help improve their playing ability. As we quote in the beginning of the book, Grandmaster and former world champion Dr. Max Euwe once shared that, “The history of chess (under its present rules) is the study of growth and gradual change of the strategic ideas of leading players of succeeding generations. Taking note of this evolution and thoroughly grasping it is the very thing which makes for better judgment and an increase in playing strength. The development of a chess player runs parallel with chess itself, a study of the history of playing methods therefore has great practical value.”

For all students, the most important subject to master is the ability to read and comprehend. They can then teach themselves whatever subjects they might become interested in throughout their lives. Great Moves was designed with both comprehension questions and chess exercises making it a useful tool for self-directed study with some occasional help from a coach or parent, as well as a classroom resource.

“Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History” by Sunil Weeramantry, Alan Abrams and Robert McLellan is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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