After a successful inaugural year, the Galion Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) “Paws on Pawns” after-school chess club at Galion Intermediate School started Jan. 7. More than 90 students will participate in what is considered the greatest historical game of competition from 3:45-4:45 p.m. every Thursday through March 26.
Weekly sessions begin with a 15-minute lesson about the game, and then students play chess for the remainder of the scheduled time. Adam Lehman and Bryan Summer serve as the club’s advisors and work with students to help them hone their skills.
“Chess requires students to use high level thinking skills for play strategy and defense,” Summer said. “The Galion High School National Honor Society and volunteers from the local Boys Scouts troop will be helping students learn chess each week.”
Students will be divided in two different groups and will participate in the club on alternating weeks. The group schedules will be as follows:
Third grade – Jan. 21; Feb. 4 and 18; March 3 and 17
Fourth and fifth grade – Jan. 14 and 28; Feb. 11 and 25; March 10 and 24
“Although we have a lot of technology resources for chess, we use real game boards and chess pieces,” Summer said. “We want students to have the opportunity to move their chess pieces and be engaged in a real game with a peer.”
“Paws on Pawns” is a member of the United States Chess Foundation, and the club is planning to host a chess tournament at the end of March. The Galion Elementary PTO, in-kind donations from the Galion community and the National Chess Trust assisted the club in purchasing additional chess sets to accommodate the increase in student participation.
“This is an activity that is open to all students in the Galion Intermediate School,” Intermediate School Principal Alex Sharick said. “We are very encouraged by the increased participation and are excited to see our students taking an interest in this great game.”