Chess at West builds critical and creative thinking

Students at West Elementary School in Long Beach experienced the game of chess in an interesting and entertaining light on Dec. 12. Joe Miccio, a retired New York City firefighter who invented the award-winning QuickChess game, visited fourth-graders and shared his child-friendly variation of the traditional design.

QuickChess features a smaller board and fewer pieces but follows the concept of the original game. It also comes with numerous introductory activities such as “Power Pawns,” “King’s Conquest” and “Raging Rooks” that help players become familiar with the components and rules.
Miccio provided an engaging presentation that taught the magic and challenges of chess in a creative way that the fourth-graders were able to quickly grasp. He demonstrated the movements of pawns, rooks, bishops, knights, kings and queens by inviting student volunteers up to play the roles of these pieces. He also walked them through different exercises using the board.

Students were excited to strategize their next moves, as they took on their classmates in friendly competitions. They learned through trial and error and made use of problem solving skills as they thought ahead about how to approach various challenges.

“When you see kids pick up a chess piece and their minds engage, it’s rewarding,” Miccio said. “It really is a great game to develop critical thinking.”  
Miccio donated several sets of QuickChess to West, so that students can continue to practice and improve in a game that keeps their minds sharp.