Eagle Peak chess lessons apply on and off the board

Eagle Peak chess lessons apply on and off the board


Eagle Peak teacher
Tim O’Halloran started introducing students to
chess about three years ago. I started with some
cardboard boards and maybe six players and it’s
grown to over 70 players schoolwide. Three times a week players
get a lesson from Inland Chess Academy
coach John Dill. And he puts on specific
lessons, kind of geared towards where we’re at
and our growth of chess. There’s nothing behind
this pawn so it’s not up here. Each Thursday they hold an
all-school tournament and many students compete
outside of school as well. We have students giving up
their Saturdays to attend tournaments that are
located throughout Spokane. All those tournaments are
qualifiers for state and then since then
we’ve actually had three students of our varsity
squad qualify for state. One of these is
Christian Diacogiannis. A lot of things have been
easy for me in my life from math to school work
and everything and chess was really the only hard
thing that I’ve ever done when I was younger, so
that’s why I like it cuz I like a challenge. Another state qualifier
Morris Hendrix-Santiago only started playing when
he first arrived at Eagle Peak. It’s fun and it’s
actually, I have to think of what I have to do. I usually think like
five minutes ahead. O’Halloran says chess fits
nicely with the school’s mission of equipping
students with the academic and social-emotional
skills they need. I think those who have
really put the time into it, grow not just in the
skill set of chess but also in that stuff that
we look for here at the school, which is self
control, patience, the critical thinking. I’ve seen a lot of growth
in the math classes. The game also gives
many students a chance to excel. A lot of students don’t
have access to organized sports, who haven’t really
had the taste of winning, a feeling of prideful. And so I’ve noticed
the growth of, kind of, confidence, a self-esteem
boost when they win, and how to be humble
when they win. The state competition
takes place in Tacoma this April. Learn more about the great
work being done at Eagle Peak by visiting
spokaneschool.org/eaglepea k

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