“Chess is really competitive. Your heart races. These students are athletes.”
If you never thought you could get excited about chess. You haven’t met Nate Reyna. Reyna is the STAN Counselor at Krueger Middle School. He’s also the chess club sponsor. He thinks chess is pretty cool, but it’s more than a game for him.
“These kids need positive socialization,” said Reyna. “If we can get them into a positive social activity where they are bonding with friends and forming peer groups, they just feel better about themselves.”
If Reyna doesn’t get you excited about chess, sixth-grader Ramon Emiliano will. When he plays, he grins ear to ear. You can see him working out the next move before his competitor has even moved his piece.
Ramon joined the chess club this year and proved to be a powerful competitor. He gets excited when he talks about chess. He’s found a passion and friends.
“My friend Lucas challenged me to play,” said Ramon. “So, I started watching him play. Then I became determined to beat him. After a couple of weeks, I was finally able to beat him.”
While chess brings him joy, Ramon hasn’t had the easiest path in life. He was dealt a pretty tough hand and has been dealing with major medical issues since he was five. But he’s a fighter. He’s tenacious. And that combo makes him really good at chess.
“Ramon is a very good chess athlete. I am profoundly happy that he found this. He has the mind for it,” said Reyna. “He has the attitude and the will to fight. He was born to play. He doesn’t let his adversities stop him from playing. Chess teaches them tenacity and logical thinking. It teaches the consequences of an action -- long-term planning -- short-term planning. It really helps create a more well-rounded student. I think every school should have a chess club.”
Finding your team #theNEISDway
Team picture of Krueger Chess Team. Ramon is holding the trophy in the front row.