Two hundred and thirty students from 21 schools across Philadelphia participated in the annual After School Activities Partnerships Chess Day at the Franklin Institute.
Elementary students were invited to hone their strategic thinking skills and make new friends. For two hours, students faced off in friendly chess matches and then toured the museum’s exhibits.
Ben Cooper, Director of Chess Programs at ASAP, said that chess playing can help kids to think critically.
“It helps them start to think ahead and slow down. Students tend to move very fast, especially when they’re young and chess can help them slow down and consider choices before they make a decision.”
While the benefits of chess for developing minds are obvious, so is the fun in meeting fellow players and competing. Eight-year-old Llulisa Valdivia, a second grader at Rudolph Blankenburg Elementary School in West Philadelphia credits her seventeen-year-old brother for teaching her how to play. She even competed in the student state championship. “I was so excited, I almost fainted!”