MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- Fourth grader William Ford had never played a game of chess until this school year. Now his love for the game has helped him become a mastermind on the chessboard and inside the classroom.
"It helps me with my multi-tasking and also thinking ahead," said Ford.
Ford's teacher, Kendra Chambless is a teacher of the gifted in Bibb County and said, "It's really great that this curriculum actually aligns to the common core standards. We can actually put common core math standards and reasoning standards with the chess."
Chambless and other Bibb County teachers of the gifted were trained in the chess curriculum over the summer. More than 600 students in the district, grades first through fifth began learning the tactics and the rules of the game at the beginning of the school year. Now, those students are applying the strategies they've learned through chess to everyday life scenarios.
"It's not just about winning, it's about making the right decision," said student Destini Forte.
The gifted students in Chambless' class come from 4 different schools and meet once a week at Burdell-Hunt Elementary to find success with mini games. Mini games consist of select pieces and help prepare students to play full games of chess.
Student Josiah Buxton said, "You've won a new way to challenge somebody else and a new way of learning. Maybe the other person learned something from you and you learned something from them."
"We have to understand how to communicate, how to be good sports, and how to strategize and I think chess has that capacity to bring multiple subject matters together and use all of those skills," said Chambless.
Skills like problem solving, critical thinking, and good judgement are gained by playing the game. These students learn to break the game down, piece-by-piece...which teaches students how to sacrifice a piece for a greater good.
The students are graded on homework, mini games, and computer chess games. Chambless said she hopes the curriculum is expanded to all students in Bibb County.