An old fashioned duel of the wits was arranged to test our students’ skills in strategy. It was Mustang versus Mustang. On one side of the checkboard, a well-practiced Hempstead high schooler, and the other a scrappy Kennedy Elementary School student. The players squared off, focused on protecting their king against an onslaught of advancing pawns, threatening rooks, and a shifting queen. Checkmate. All to avoid finding themselves in a dreaded checkmate. I started off really good, so I was confident at first, but then he started kicking my butt. He took my queen, and then it all came crashing down. I thought it was a really good challenge. It pushed my abilities from chess. This opportunity to go head to head gave these chess club members a new challenge to take on an unfamiliar opponent. And while the age gap between the players is pretty significant, don’t be deceived into thinking our younger students were at a disadvantage. I thought it was a really great experience. We thought we were going to be mentoring them and giving them some tips, but in reality, like, they gave us some really good tips, and we had a lot of fun with them. So we figured it would be a fun idea for the high schoolers to come down and play against the elementary kids both as a learning experience as well as just a fun competitive experience. It’s a black and white fact that these chess clubs are helping develop our students’ problem solving and critical thinking skills while teaching how to be gracious in not only defeat but in victory, all great qualities to showcase once the pieces are put away. A lot of things have been improved since I started playing chess. It’s helped my academics over the years. I’ve become more responsible, because I have to think ahead during chess. It’s been a great move by our Kennedy Elementary and Hempstead High School chess club students for sharing in the game and for competing to be the grand masters of the Dubuque Community School District.