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Comment As an actual, full-time chess coach... (Score 5, Insightful) 128

I am a full-time chess coach for K-5 kids. I have over 200 students that I see every week. At first I though this article was going to address the very real demand for more skilled coaches in K-5 schools. Instead, the article is trying to push a software/hardware solution that would make it "easier" to adjudicate games and tournaments. This solution is addressing a problem that doesn't actually exist.

Here is the problem they present as an example: an 'argument' between two students about whether a position is checkmate. The presented solution: a variety of software/hardware that will make it easier to 'referee' the position. This is ridiculous. When two students are having an argument, figuring out whether there is checkmate on the board is usually the easiest problem to solve. Getting the students to calm down and be good sports is the hard part.

In addition, there is no shortage of adjudication at tournaments. One or two coaches can easily handle the problems of 300+ students in a tournament. We don't need legions of people equipped with apps to go watch children's games. To make the article even more irrelevant, most tournaments across the world are run with a "non-interference" rule. This means that the tournament staff cannot actually comment on whether a position is checkmate. It is up to the students to come to a decision on their own, agree and report. The coaches with let them report an incorrect result if that is what they agree on. It is part of the game. So the coach doesn't actually need to know whether the position is really checkmate.

The only time an actual ruling needs to be passed is if the students can't come to an agreement. This is very rare and will usually only happen 1 in 2000 games or so. We don't need to RDIF tag all of our 16000+ tournament pieces just so that 1 in 2000 games someone who knows nothing about chess can make an accurate ruling. We'll just bring over an expert in those cases.

A quick aside to those questioning the benefits of K-5 chess, it is hugely beneficial to students. Sure, it would be great if they spent the time they did on chess on other things, like algorithms or biology. However, most students don't get super worked up about algorithms. They aren't going to willingly spend 15 hours a week on algorithms. They will happily spend that time on chess however, and chess is teaching them a lot of the same skills. Critical thinking, carefulness, perseverance, recovering from mistakes, cause and effect, and on, and on.

The most important skill that students learn is how much effort you have to put into something in order to really become an expert. Nothing else a child does in their K-12 years really teaches them that in order to be an expert, you need to spend years and years working on it. Chess is very good at driving this point home.

Anyone saying things like "every minute playing chess would be better spent learning about algorithms, computer programming, or biology." has clearly never sat a kindergartener down and try to teach them algorithms. Every day. For a year. Teach them chess. They will grasp it. They will want to learn. It is fun. They will gain skills that you wouldn't be able to impart in other ways.

But you don't need to take my word on it. The benefits of chess have been have been well studied. Scholastic chess is one of the few things that has been proven to consistently increase academic performance, collage success and future income.

Comment Re:Go with usernames. (Score 1) 383

I'm pretty sure the person you are responding to wasn't implying that Chinese was obsolete; rather they were saying that some Chinese names contain ancient symbols. Sort of like how you could (in theory) run into an english speaking person whose family is positively ancient; their first name might be entirely in ASCII characters, but their last name might contain ancient/obsolete letters/symbols, like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%86 (the combined AE symbol). Depending on what exactly you are using the names for, it may not be correct to translate an old symbol into a newer one.

Comment Re:Noone read the articles (Score 2) 183

It is true. I made a ridiculous looking wikipedia article back in 2006 while making a scavenger hunt for my girlfriend. For more than six years that article has sat there, even though it references fake people, fake companies and fake quotes. It has even been cleaned up a little by others over the years.

The worst it got is a 'this article may contain original research' tag. I'm sure if it had widespread exposure someone would realize it is completely fake. But articles on wikipedia just don't get exposure. They sit there until someone looks them up. And that person is rarely an expert.

Comment Re:Allinvain? (Score 1) 622

His name was "allinvain", and the story sound fishy to me, but he was a member of the forum for about a years and had hundreds of posts. I don't think the name was chosen because he was just waiting a whole year before dropping his masterpiece troll.

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