By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… Did you know you can get a full ride chess scholarship to St. Louis University? Apparently this is true of many major universities in America today. I have no problem with this I merely find it interesting. Parents, you may be wasting your time and money on all those club football, basketball, volleyball, and baseball teams. Buy the kid a chess board and get him lessons.
What brought on this tirade? A young Iranian woman was kicked off the Iranian international team for wearing a headband during competition in Gibraltar. Iranian law requires women to wear headscarves in public. Days after the competition, the head of the Iranian Chess Federation said she and her 14-year-old brother could no longer play in or for Iran. The University of St. Louis announced she would receive a full ride scholarship to play chess for them. Her violation was the wearing of the headband in public and her brother’s violation was playing against an Israeli player.
I don’t want to appear to be an athletic elitist but is chess really an athletic event? Reading about this attack on athletic freedom drove me to research collegiate chess competition and found the following:
The Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship is the foremost intercollegiate team chess championship in the Americas. Hosted in part by the United States Chess Federation, the Pan-Am Intercollegiate is open to any team comprising four players and up to two alternates from the same post-secondary school (university, college, community college) in North America, Central America, South America, or the Caribbean. The Pan-Am began as such in 1946 (there had been earlier versions open to U.S. schools only), and is held annually, usually December 27–30.
I doubt very much that the chess coach at any university has to worry about academic eligibility for their players. I wonder if there is any problem with recruiting, similar to football and basketball? Are alumni paying the players under the table? Are they providing automobiles and other fringe benefits to the chess athletes? I understand that Coach Rick Pitino is available, he could bring the program to a new level. Does UNLV have a competitive chess team? I wonder how much the chess coach makes compared to the football coach.
Can you imagine what the cheers for the chess team would be? Instead of “Hook’em Horns!” it could be “Rook’em Horns!” The feminists have to love the game because the King has only one move and it is basically a cowardly retreat, but the Queen is the most powerful piece on the board. A chant could go: “Queen, Queen out play their King!” Maybe this cheer could be used: “Hassle, Hassle watch us Castle.”
Instead of selling jerseys, the universities could sell pocket protectors and eye glass frames with your favorite chess players signature on them. These items could be made in school colors.
Winning the President’s Cup in Chess is like winning the final four in Basketball or the national championship in football. Looking at the winners of the President Cup over the years, I was surprised to see the winner often comes from a university in Texas. What happened to Yale, Harvard, Columbia or Stanford? We have come to accept the fact that these effete universities are not going to win a national football championship but come on they can’t beat Texas in chess. It is to be expected when the boys from Massachusetts or California can’t compete in football or rodeo but it must be embarrassing for them to get whipped by a cowboy at a chess table. Maybe the east coast and west coast intellectual superiority is a myth.
No one asked me but… ”Read By Three” is a great concept; however, the idea that if that does not take place, the student’s education should be stalled and they should not be allowed to progress to fourth grade is stupid. The fact that if the student cannot reach some standard arbitrarily set by legislators under the influence of the educated elite, he should not be allowed to progress in his math, science or social science classes is ridiculous. All the retention program will do is stack up about seventy percent of the what should be fourth graders in third grade classes.
An educationally sound program would be to identify those students and continue to try to teach them to read in the fourth grade, and throughout their educational career. I am a firm believer that reading is the key to learning. But the best way to teach students is not to have kids who are two, three, or four years older sitting in classes with the regular third graders.
If the standards are realistic, one might want to ask what is wrong with an educational system that cannot meet those standards with over 70 percent of their students? Maybe it is time to overhaul the system. How long would you continue to buy an automobile that broke down 70 percent of the time you operated it?
If a school has only 39 percent of their students succeeding at anything that is an institutional failure, not a student failure. I believe if the central administration would get out of the way, the local schools would solve the problem. Over 45% of the school funding in CCSD is spent at the central office level and there in may lay the problem.
No one asked me but… Warning! Do not allow children of any age to read any further. The information contained is graphic and may not be suitable for young children. A tragedy has been confirmed. An icon is dead. The bones of St. Nicholas have been found. Santa Claus is dead. Turkish archeologist discovered his remains beneath a church at his birth place in Southern Turkey. St. Nicolas was born and served as the bishop of what is now the Turkish Mediterranean town of Demre, near Antalya in the 4th Century.
Archaeologists have discovered a temple below the church and believe that St. Nicholas’ remains are lying there. Someone must get to the bottom of this death. Who killed the good saint? Call CSI! Get Forensic Files on the case! While the death occurred centuries ago one cannot let this case go cold. If Santa Claus is dead, one must know why. The entire economy of America may depend up proving Santa Claus is not dead.
Thought of the week… A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.