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Education


chair of the Chess Program Advisory Board at the University, the research went for- ward. Professor Bartlett gave a general orientation to their work on face recogni- tion, UTD Ph.D. student Amy Boggan explained how chess is an area particularly suited for this kind of study, and Profes- sor Krawczyk gave a detailed explanation of brain function and chess perception. Dr. Krawczyk noted that “chess is a very emo- tional game” and Dr. Bartlett confirmed that “emotional-affective systems play a critical role in chess.” A traditional subject of discussion in the


field of chess and education—chess as social good—was also prevalent. Texas Chess Association President Clemente Rendon gave an uplifting talk about how chess made a difference in Brownsville County, Texas, one of the poorest coun- ties in the United States. He correctly pinpointed the rhetorical interest in the Brownsville story on the part of the national media as the timeless appeal of the underdog. Kevin O’Connell in the sec- ond plenary session presented an account of the runaway success of the scholastic chess program in Turkey. Professor Charles Moura Netto of Brazil gave a mov- ing presentation about the use of chess in prisons in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo. Noting a partnership between the municipality of Santa Maria de Jetibá’s pro-chess pedagogical program and the State Secretary of Justice to place chess in prisons in Espirito Santo, Professor Netto described a classic win-win out- come. The scholastic program developed cognitive ability in students and the prison program reduced prisoner violence and aimed to reduce the rate of recidivism. UTD Senior Lecturer Tom Lambert assisted with a simultaneous translation from and into Spanish for Professor Netto.


When the essential funding for the Kolty


2 Conference was in place, Dr. Alexey Root approached UTD alumnus Clemente Rendon about additional support. As a result, the Texas Chess Association pro- vided significant funding. We decided that those funds would be best used for Texas teachers. As a result, and due to Dr. Root’s efforts, four ninety-minute sessions on Friday (so teachers could get excused par- ticipation) were available to provide six-hour potential clock hours for Texas gifted and talented teachers (G/T). The sessions were comprised of 45 minutes on the nature and needs of G/T Learners, 45 minutes for creativity and instructional strategies, 90 minutes for social and emo- tional needs, 90 minutes for differentiated curriculum, and 90 minutes for identifi- cation and assessment. The latter session was a plenary session in which Dr. Eber- hard presented his ideas (see above) and Dr. Root presented some intriguing lesson plans that will be included in her next book, Thinking with Chess: Teaching Chil- dren Ages 5-14, forthcoming from Mongoose Press in October 2012. Frank Brady’s personal memories of


Bobby Fischer provided a great close in his keynote address. As you can well imagine, much more of


great worth was presented. PDFs of all the talks or powerpoint presentations are available at The University of Texas at Dallas chess website, www.utdallas.edu/ chess/kolty2. George and Leah Koltanowski were


dear friends of mine for several decades. I enjoyed reminiscing with Myron and Rachel Lieberman, also their good friends, about stories we recalled. It is fitting that a second Kolty Conference be dedicated to their memory. The Second International Koltanowski


Conference on Chess and Education was sponsored by the U.S. Chess Trust and the University of Texas at Dallas. The U.S. Chess Trust chair, Harold Winston, has been a tireless advocate for the value and importance of this kind of academic con- ference. As a proud member of the board of the U.S. Chess Trust, I am particularly grateful for its support. Myron Lieberman wrote an article about the Conference that can be found at the Chess Trust website www.uschesstrust. org. The University of Texas at Dallas was an equal sponsor with the Trust. From the outset of the chess pro- gram at UTD, Provost Hobson Wildenthal has stressed that the function of a univer- sity is not just to field a championship chess team, but to do research, hold con- ferences, and teach online courses on chess and education. His vision has held, and although we are very proud of the great successes of our chess team, UTD also values the academic side of chess. I have already noted the great value provided by the co-sponsorship of the Texas Chess Association. The U.S. Chess Federation also contributed by providing us with meet- ing rooms during their national K-12, as they did for Kolty 1 in 2001. I am proud to have served as Conference


chair for this second Koltanowski Confer- ence on Chess and Education. But I must emphasize that the entire Conference was an effort by Team UTD. Associate Chair Dr. Alexey Root organized all of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented sessions and chaired several sessions. Associate Chair James Stallings handled all matters of logistics flawlessly, helped by Assistant Chair Luis Salinas. And eleven (11!) UTD students from the chess club and the chess team all volunteered their time to make this event happen. To all, my thanks.


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Chess and the Marshmallow Test By Dr. Alexey Root, WIM


The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $1,049,094 to research how chess might help with executive control and, also, with academic achievement. GM Maurice Ashley and Teresa Parr, Ph.D. (photo, left), are part of the research team. The grant’s title is Exploring the Malleability of Executive Control1. Just before I learned of this grant, I read the marshmallow test chapter of Daniel


Akst’s We Have Met the Enemy: Self-control in an Age of Excess. In typical experiments, a four-year-old child would be left alone with “a single marshmallow, a pair of marshmallows, and a bell. The experimenter would explain that he had to leave for a bit and that the child would have a choice. If he waited for the adult’s return, he could have the pair of marshmallows. But if he didn’t want to wait, he could summon the grown-up by ringing the bell—in which case he could only have one marshmallow.” Waiting longer for two marshmallows is associated later in life with good grades in school and getting along well with others. Akst wrote, “If self-control is so important for kids, can it be taught? There is every reason to believe that it can. ... Martial arts, music lessons, or other activities requiring sustained attention probably help.” When I read that last sentence, I thought that chess, like martial arts and music, might teach self-control. I interviewed Dr. Parr via e-mail to find out more.


44 Chess Life — February 2012 uschess.org


PHOTO: ALEXEY ROOT


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