26 February 2017

Correlating Chess with the 'Real World'

In this series on The Sociology of Chess (November 2016), I've been using art to illustrate some of the most obvious themes, as in the previous post, Chess in New York Parks. Another avenue to explore the connections between chess and society is video. I touched on this in World Championship Sociology,

Surprisingly few of those [World Championship] videos show the spectators, the everyday people whose collective interest makes the event worth playing and worth broadcasting.

but there is a richer mine of information in videos that document the efforts of chess players/instructors to use chess as a positive force to change people's lives. Here's one example.

How a simple game of chess can break through stereotypes (7:56) • 'To Lemuel LaRouche, chess is more than a game. By getting young people from different backgrounds to engage in the game of chess, you can alter bad perceptions, stereotypes and mistrust. Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault sits down with LaRouche for a conversation.'

PBS NewsHour (from Athens, Georgia):

This is one of Lemuel LaRouche's day jobs, teaching graduate students at the University of Georgia's School of Social Work. But LaRouche is a man of many parts, one who doesn't separate town from gown, especially the parts of town populated by troubled youth.


These kids are looking for opportunities, looking for a way out, bouncing from foster home to foster home. [...] Chess is such a metaphor for life. When I teach chess, I try to teach it from the perspective of, how do you take this game and correlate it with the real world?

For a full transcript of the video, see How a simple game of chess can break through stereotypes (pbs.org).

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