California man uses chess to keep kids on track


Chess is a game with invented kings and queens, pawns and rooks. So what does this have to do with real life? It turns out pretty much.

For 12-year-old Andre, chess is more than just a game.

“I use a lot of things that I learned on the chessboard in real life like, think before you move, think before I act,” he told CBS News.

He is one of thousands of students from some of the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles learning to play.

Damen Fletcher, who learned to play chess at the age of 13, grew up in Compton. After leaving town to attend college, he came home and found his childhood friends in trouble.

“Some of them had gone to jail. Gang life and drugs … and I just wondered, ‘Why did I get such a different result?’ And it was chess, ”he said.

Students at Compton study chess to master the game of life.
– train of thought

He started around Train of Thought Help children of all ages find their inner king or queen.

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“Every game of chess is made up of 75 to 100 moves, and every single move your opponent makes is a new problem that you need to solve,” he said. “And so the children just have fun. They do not notice that they are solving problems. “

How do you teach a 5 year old to play chess?

“We actually have a really cool story we’re going to use to help kids this age set up a chessboard for the first time,” said Fletcher. “It is said: The king and the queen were married by the bishops. They rode to their castle on horses and had eight children. “

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“My main thing in class is to be a scholar. To me, being a scholar means being prepared, productive and never giving up, ”said Andre.

Since that story aired on the CBS Evening News on Wednesday, Fletcher has received a spate of support. Some ask how to volunteer with Train of Thought.

While the program is currently running in schools in California and Louisiana, Fletcher dreams of expanding it nationwide … and even bringing it to schools in Uganda.

He also told CBS News that He is grateful to those who donated money to Train of Thought.

“I started chatting with a guy last night who said he was moved to tears when he saw the story,” Fletcher told CBS News on Thursday. According to Fletcher, this man donated $ 500. Other donations ranged from $ 10 to $ 40.

“It’s a blessing to know that there are people you haven’t even met who believe in and support you and your mission,” said Fletcher. “These donations really help because the children we teach need chess games that they can take home to practice and play with family and friends forever.”

Featured image: CBS

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