DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- Some call it the “War on 64 Squares,” and on Wednesday, some Dothan students met up at the Boys and Girls Club of the Wiregrass, to test their wits and focus in a game of chess.
For the last 12 years, teaching students how to play chess has been a labor of love for Joseph Emery.
“This tournament makes me cry every year because it means so much to me, and the kids mean so much to me,” said Emery.
“I hate to see them graduate and move on, but then I look at them now, and they’re going to medical school, the ones we first had, and they’re doing well in life. So I’m very proud of the impact we’ve had on their lives,” Emery said.
But it’s more than just a game.
Students learn skills they can use in the classroom, like concentration, focus, decision-making and logic.
They even develop patience and thoughtfulness.
Emery says chess is a metaphor for life.
“When they make a bad decision, there are consequences for it and they’ll lose a game, or we translate it into life, and if they make a bad decision in life, there will be consequences,” Emery said.
Mo’zyiah is a student at Selma Street Elementary.
He has been playing chess for two years now, and says the game has given him confidence.
“I feel excited and happy that I won the first two rounds of the chess tournament, Mo’Zyiah said.”
Meanwhile, Abbie Grace is learning perseverance.
“I just finished my second game, and it was too bad I lost the first one, but I stalemated with a really talented girl this time,” said Abbie Grace.
Emery says he’s taught about 1000 students the game of chess over the years.
This year's tournament winner was Selma Street Elementary.
Second place went to Highlands Elementary, and Faine Elementary took third.