Madison kids excelling at chess

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MADISON, Ala. -- In less than three weeks, kids in Madison will be back in the classroom-- but a few kids and their parents showed up a few weeks early, just for one day, and a special game.

Some talented young chess players sat down to eat and compete on Saturday. "Bullet is a form of chess that's less than three minutes," chess coach Will Stevenson said. And there's not much time to think about the moves you're making.

"People tend to trade pieces more when they have less time on the clock," Stevenson said.

But they're not playing on an empty stomach. Just a few feet away are hot dishes from all over the world.

"What we notice in chess is that it's equally as diverse," Madison city chess board executive director Ranae Bartlett said.

The parents do the cooking. The kids do the playing.

"I just develop my pieces at first and then start attacking," 7th grader Andrew Park said.

"Critical thinking skills, planning, logic. These are the types of skills you want your kids to develop," Bartlett said.

Rainbow Elementary in Madison is home to some of the smartest young chess players in the state.

"We play in tournaments at least once a month," Bartlett said.

The kids from Rainbow have won state five years in a row. Every victory means their rating goes up. In fact, the highest rating you can have is 3,000. But to reach 1,000 is a big deal.

"It shows determination. It shows grit, it shows the types of things that colleges will be looking for," Bartlett said.

But these kids still have years and several games to make up their minds. For now, they can focus on honing their skills.

Madison kids start school on August 7th. Rainbow will be hosting its first chess competition of the year on August 25th, called the "Summer Knights"tournament. If you'd like to sign your kids up to play, you can find info here.


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