By Dan Shenk

After practicing their chess strategies for more than an hour Jan. 7 at Goshen Public Library, about 25 Hispanic young people in the Saturday morning chess program took a “field trip” to Goshen High School.

The students walked six blocks from the library to the high school with their instructor Jimmer Prieto and with Dan Shenk, a Jan. 7 visitor who has been providing scholastic chess leadership in Goshen since 1987. In 1993 he was instrumental in starting the Chess for Scholastic Success program of Goshen Community Schools.

The event at the high school was State Individual Regionals of Scholastic Chess of Indiana (based in Terre Haute), one of seven sites where K-12 students across Indiana were trying to qualify for the State Individual Finals in Anderson on Jan. 28. Shenk encouraged the students in the Hispanic chess program to practice hard this coming year, then participate in the tournament next January. There also are other tournaments upcoming in 2006 in which they could take part. (About one-third of the participants Jan. 7 qualified for the State Finals.)

The students entered the high school and walked through the practice area where players, coaches and parents were relaxing between games (each player played five games in the seven-hour event). The visitors sampled the concession stand, then went into the gym where tournament games were being conducted. They saw the chess computer of Joe Riegsecker, tournament director. They also saw many of the players in the gym writing down their moves and using chess clocks, which Shenk demonstrated to the club members.

With Prieto translating, Shenk also spoke to the group prior to the field trip, telling them that chess is an excellent game for learning to think, to plan ahead, and to concentrate. He also said the four most important things about chess — in this order — are (1) to have fun, (2) to be a good sport, (3) to learn something from every game and (4) try to win the game by checkmating the other king.

Dan Shenk plays against Mr. Perez, one of the parents attending the Chess Club for Hispanics.