In the early sixth century in India, the game chaturanga became popular. Literally, chaturanga means “four divisions of the military”, and refers to the Indian infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry. Centuries later the game has spread throughout the world and evolved to the modern game of chess. The four military divisions found in the Indian game became today’s pawn, knight, bishop, and rook. Over time, chess has evolved from a game of quick, tactical maneuvers to one that emphasizes long-term strategic planning. This seminar encourages students to analyze moves to determine when to defend, how to attack, and how to develop an effective strategy. Students become leaders, as experienced chess players are paired with students new to the game. The history of the game and its social context is also explored.

Faculty: Andy Rodgers - Social Studies 6 and Jason Jung - Fine Arts

Dates Offered

October 26, 2018
November 30, 2018

Explore More

Interested in exploring this topic more deeply?

  • Go to:  The Atlantic’s article about family game night explains how playing board games develops executive function skills.

  • At home: If you enjoy chess you might also enjoy Go. More than 2,500 years old, Go is believed to be the longest continuously played game in history. Sets of Go and chess are both available for checkout in the MS Media Center.

  • Movie night: The 1993 movie Searching for Bobby Fischer is an enduring story about chess, sportsmanship, and the pressures associated with exceptional ability.

Why Chess?

This STEAM seminar helps students develop skills in pattern recognition, situational analysis, and complex decision-making. Scholars observe links between chess and both intellectual development and social-emotional development. When lecturing at Stanford University, venture capitalist and Paypal founder Peter Thiel draws upon lessons he learned as a nationally ranked child chess prodigy.