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As One of the Activities for Kids in Adelaide, Chess is Great Family Entertainment
Games are a fun way for people to interact, release tensions without hurting anyone, and indulge a competitive streak. But unfortunately some video games introduce less welcome aspects such as violence and other socially unacceptable behaviour.
Until the 1990's board games and card games were a very popular way to socialise with family and friends. Playing games like chess, draughts, Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit were a common activity when visiting friends, and many of us still have them lurking in the bottom of some dark cupboard.
Chess and draughts also provided a chance to socialise with a person that you didn't particularly like or relate to. I had many such games with family members who weren't talking to me for some reason at the time, and occasionally the fame was sufficient reason to break the ice.
Most children now would probably be unfamiliar with such things, growing up to play games on an electronic tablet, Playstation or Xbox. While these devices allow you to engage with players from around the world, they have also contributed to a loss of face to face social interaction. You don't see another player's disappointment as you destroy the last of her cavalry, or experience the shame as they gloat over your third death in action.
Playing chess in person against someone sitting a metre away introduces a whole new depth to a game. It's almost like hand to hand combat, as you slowly assess your opponent, gauging their opening moves. You subtly scan their face for a giveaway expression. Watch for movement on their seat, shuffling of the feet, or any other hint to foretell what they might be planning.
As the game reaches a climax with each player struggling to mask their feelings, there is a noticeable increase in tension. A pause to think takes on a new meaning. Are they planning a counter-attack? Or have they already spotted your strategy, and are working to defeat it?
After the game is fought there is an obligatory discussion whether the loser deserves a chance to redeem themselves, or whether to go off for a coffee or to the pub. The game of chess will often lead to another round of social engagement, sometimes without the chess pieces.
Chesslife is one of the new free things to do in Adelaide sponsored by Splash Adelaide. It takes place at various locations in Adelaide's CBD and parklands, and I stumbled over it while at the Spirited Art Festival recently at Himeji Gardens.
There were players of all ages using a whole host of different styles of chess games. It was one of the popular activities for kids at the festival, and I was surprised how well it was taken up.
Play Chess Free at Whitmore Square in the City of Adelaide
Chesslife organiser David Koetsier feels that playing chess is an important educational activity for kids. He says It helps develop creative, strategic, and forward thinking. It is also a great tool to increase mathematical skills and develop their concentration. I believe it helps students to make choices for the future as they will learn that there are often several ways to come to a desired result.
David is passionate about bringing chess back into our lives, making it fun and freely accessible. By bringing back chess in Adelaide's iconic spaces like North Terrace, Rundle Mall, and the parklands, we bring the city to life and help people to see that chess is wonderful family entertainment - even for children as young as four years old.
There are currently three free events scheduled for Chesslife on North Terrace, although it's planned that there will be more. Be sure to check the website for other times and locations.