Would you re-up for chess club in this situation?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005
Would you re-up for chess club in this situation?
Wed, 11-21-2012 - 7:51am

Malachi participates in a K through 5th grade chess club in his afterschool program.  It's divided into 3 skill levels, and he plays in the advanced group where most of the kids are in the older grades (M. will turn 7 next month).  He reports that the older kids are having serious problems with sportsmanship when they're losing to him, doing things like walking out in the middle of a match or trying to cheat.  So, this week he called out an older boy for cheating, and the kid punched him in the face!  We had to have M's glasses repaired.  The kid got in serious hot water, but I'm really wondering if this group is properly supervised.  There are two teachers at the program, but still.  M. really loves chess, and is good at it, but he's also dealing with an anxiety disorder right now, and the environment seems hostile.  Thoughts?


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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Wed, 11-21-2012 - 6:07pm

I would do two things.  First, have a chat with the people supervising and make sure that they have rules about good sportsmanship and cheating.   (Like, if you are going to walk away from a game if you are losing then maybe you shouldn't be in the club and go stay with the other kids type of thing.)  It can be as simple as the whole group sitting down, making rules, having everyone agree on them.    I would ask that the supervisiors keep an extra watch on your son when he his playing with the older kids.

Second, I would ask your son how he feels about continuing.  It sounds like he is really good, and this IS something he excells at.  If he feels anxious, by all means, take him out.  But if he likes it, it may be one place where he is not so anxious because he knows he can do well.   I would ask that if he is paired with the particular kid again that staff be very close at hand.  Hopefully it is this one kid, and not all of them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2001
Tue, 11-27-2012 - 9:42am

I am still having trouble posting!  Makes me sign in twice and last week my reply here did not post!

Agree with the previous poster.  The most important thing is what your son thinks. Does he want to continue? Are there any kids that are supportive?  I don't think one incident, especially when it was responded to appropriately, means there is poor supervision.  If he wants to continue, I would let him knowing he could always drop it.

I would also talk to the adults in charge.  While I would want to ensure my child would be safe, I would also want to find out more about how he interacts with the other children - including whether there is anything my child is doing that may encourage the negative reaction of some of the others.  Kids that age sometimes don't understand that they may come off as "poor winners" or as bragging if they are always on top.  Not saying he does this or that he is in any way at fault for having others react badly.  My oldest, at that age, had a hard time understanding that things were harder for other kids and probably sometimes came off as "superior" when he really just didn't get it.  As he matured, he became more empathetic and more adept at being right, without making others feel like he was wrong.  Again, not saying this applies in this situation.

Hope things improve as he seems like he really loves chess.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004

I agree with the other poster.  I do not have any other ideas.  Sorry.