Chess is King & Teaching Life Lessons at Pasco Schools - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Chess is King & Teaching Life Lessons at Pasco Schools

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PASCO, WA - Students in the Pasco School District are starting to gain some recognition for their accomplishments playing chess.

Five years ago, there were only two chess clubs in the entire district. Today, that number has grown to 11 clubs, with more than 350 students participating--the game is especially popular among elementary school students.

"It's kind of the Olympics of the mind,"said Jeremy Kidd, the chess club coordinator for the district. "You sit across from an opponent and whoever is able to think about the situation, strategize more is going to win the game, so it's about concentration--it's about logic and problem solving," he continued.

Jeremy, who is also a teacher at Mark Twain Elementary, is largely responsible for the chess boom. He explained that the game teaches students valuable lessons and allows them to make decisions on their own.

Brothers' Marshall and Eric Cardenas are both a part of the chess club at Mark Twain. The kindergartner and second grader said chess has always been apart of their lives because their dad and uncles play the game regularly.

When asked what it takes to win a game of chess, the brothers gave two basic answers.

"Focus on your board," said Eric Cardenas. "And try to keep your king safe,"added Marshall Cardenas, finishing his brother's sentence.  

The Cardenas Brothers are among 78 students in the district who qualified for the chess state tournament last year. Their school, Mark Twain Elementary, placed 18th out of 200 schools across the state.