Hazor Haglilit celebrates its first elementary school chess championship.
The competition was the culmination of a year-long study program, which was the result of successful cooperation between the elementary schools and YEDID’s Citizen Rights Center in Hatzor. Elon Ben Hertzel, a resident of Rosh Pina and long-time volunteer at YEDID’s Hatzor Haglilit Center, initiated the chess lessons. This was the fruit of several years of dreaming about establishing chess classes in which all the elementary school children of Hatzor could participate.
Three local elementary schools participated in the project: Shevet Sofer, Honai Hama’agal, and Ort Elementary School, Hatzor. The first prize went to the Ort Elementary School participant however, project organizers are convinced all participants are winners.
Tzror, mother of one of the 3rd grade participants, described her shock when her son first told her that he wanted to participate in a chess group at the start of the year. "Until then, like most kids his age, he preferred playing soccer, watching TV, or computer games," she explained. "Now the chess is a really big part of his life and he's playing all the time, including inviting friends over to play. Thanks to the chess," she says, "he developed a sense of independence, self confidence, and became a much calmer child".
Alice Cohen, the principal of Ort Elementary School, praised the participants and their parents, adding that “this outstanding cooperation among the schools happened for the first time here because of the chess project, which is a great blessing and accomplishment in its own right. The game provided the students with strategic thinking, self-confidence, improved grades in various disciplines, and a better ability to cope with pressure.”
The organizers hope to double the number of participants in the coming year and are seeking financial assistance to continue the program.