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Motivate Your Students to "Think Like a King":
New Software Series for School Chess Clubs
(Reprinted with permission of USCF, School Mates, September/October 1997)

When Dr. Stephen Lipschultz was asked to start a chess club at his children's school, he never dreamed it would take him on a new career path. With his interest in computers, he set out to find appropriate software to help teach kids how to play chess and to organize his newly created club. Much to his surprise, he never found what he was looking for.

"While there are many excellent chess-playing engines available," Lipschultz said, "school clubs really need software to allow teaching at a more fundamental level, as well as a management and motivational tool to help organize and energize the club".

Not finding appropriate software he did the next best thing and created his own, a task made less difficult because Lipschultz, a physician , is also the author of medical education software.

What began as two simple programs -- one to teach kids the basics of chess and the other to track student progress in the club -- evolved into something much bigger.

"Not only did I start thinking about other potentially useful program features," observes Lipschultz, "but I began to think of school chess clubs in a different way. I realized that to engage the maximum number of kids in this educationally desirable pursuit, the image of chess had to change. It couldn't be perceived just as an activity for smart kids. "

"Chess needs to be thought of as a sport, just like basketball or hockey," adds Lipschultz. "With chess, the competition is mental, but it's just as intense as any other sport. If chess could be viewed by kids as "mental athletics", the game becomes more of a sport, the chess team members receive the same recognition as other athletes, and the appeal of the game is greatly broadened. The key is to organize your chess program as a sport with a simple rating scale and a system of rewards and feedback. A computer makes this easy".

One thing led to another, and before he knew it Lipschultz had not only formed his own company -- Food for Thought Software -- and laid the groundwork for software which could usher in a new era for scholastic chess, but he had won an exclusive endorsement for his Chess Club Manager© program from the U.S. Chess Federation.

The resulting Think Like a KingT software series offers a suite of tools that helps even non Chess-playing teachers or volunteers organize, motivate and teach the members of their school clubs, while providing a new 'paradigm' for the game -- CHESS is your SCHOOL SPORT.
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