Registration open for new chess academy in Maple Ridge

Registration open for new chess academy in Maple Ridge

There is a well-known claim in the world of chess that there are more possible moves on the board than there are atoms in the observable universe.

It was an American named Claude Shannon who invented the number of possibilities in chess, 10 to the power of 120 according to the publication The Chess Journal, and it is known worldwide as the Shannon number.

Although this number could possibly be debated, what cannot be debated are the lifelong skills that are gained through playing the game.

Lifelong skills Dejan Radic knows about and now the Maple Ridge resident has started a chess academy in the community to share his passion with a new generation.

Radic took over operations of the Maple Ridge Chess Club following the departure of Chris Dickson and decided to merge the club with the Academy.

The club is for those who want to play occasionally, and the academy will support those kids and adults who are serious about improving their game with formal instruction and instruction, Radic said.

Radic developed a complete chess program at Terry Fox Secondary School in Port Coquitlam, which he directs. First, Radic developed a course, Chess 11, as a pilot project. Then he was asked to expand the course and he developed Chess 12. This September the school will introduce Chess 10.

“So it’s a whole program,” he explained, adding that the hardest part, aside from creating the curriculum, was finding a way to assess and evaluate the students.

“I know kids take it to get better at chess,” noted the 48-year-old teacher.

“But what they don’t know is that you’re becoming little problem solvers and learning to plan and think critically, which I think are invaluable skills in helping them succeed in the game of life,” he said.

And, Radic says, parents also noticed improvements in their children who took the course — that they became more mindful in their decisions and more proactive in planning for their future.

Radic started the game more than two decades ago in Edmonton, where he grew up. He was introduced to chess by a teacher.

His game fell by the wayside until college, when he picked it up again to rehabilitate himself from multiple concussions and trauma-related brain injuries by playing high-performance sports like hockey and wrestling.

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“I just fell in love with the game and found that a lot of my concussion symptoms disappeared. I was thinking clearer, sharper than ever, my memory improved and I just noticed that all everyday functions improved. And I owe everything to chess,” he said.

Radic has been playing competitively for about a decade.

“Now I teach high school students with scented candles and jazz music in the background. It’s incredible,” he commented.

Some kids start playing as young as 5, but generally players start playing around six or seven, he said.

He noted that this is a great way to get kids – and adults – off their smartphones, computers or video game consoles and to meet people in the community.

It teaches children confidence and social skills and how to manage their emotions, “win with grace and lose with class”.

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Radic also takes questions from older adults who want to learn to play because they want to keep their brains active.

“Some people call it a game, some people call it a sport, some people call it a science, I call it an art,” Radic said.

The Drop in Chess Club plays at the Maple Ridge Public Library, 22470 Dewdney Trunk Rd. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for seniors and Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for adults and children.

Registration for the chess academy, which will begin after the March holidays, is now open. There are three membership options: a Bronze package, which offers play and practice; a silver package that offers tuition; and a gold package that combines both – lessons and play and practice.

Classes are Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and occasional play and practice from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at St. Andrews Heritage Church, 22279 116 Ave., Maple Ridge.

Visit for more information.

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