Your move: Chess will be focus of Friday Forum this week

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 3, 2019


NATCHEZ — While most kids may spend their afterschool hours playing sports or video games, Franklin County students learn to strategize while taking down kings.

Apparently, chess and academia go hand in hand, and locals can find out how during a Friday Forum at the Natchez Coffee Company on Franklin Street.

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Starting at 8 a.m. this Friday, attendees will hear from guest speaker Jeff Bulington of Southwest Mississippi Chess Foundation

Bulington been teaching chess since he was in high school back in the early 1980s, he said.

However, as opposed to the traditional classroom setting, Bulington said his students get to challenge their teacher’s mind, too.

“When the student makes a move, the student is questioning the teacher,” he said. “It provides more of a back-and-forth dialogue.”

Bulington said his first-grade teacher introduced him to chess in 1972.

Bulington said he has since learned that chess is more than just a game, but it has real-world value for young developing minds.

In 2015, Bulington joined SMCF, a chess program in Franklin County Schools, as a veteran chess instructor, he said.

Not only does chess provide a window of educational opportunities for children after school dismisses, but it also teaches life lessons, Bulington said.

“If you lose, it’s because you made bad choices,” Bulington said. “That’s one of the values of chess. It helps you learn that you are responsible for your own choices.”