Children playing chess
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How to raise a chess champion

With age comes wisdom, the saying goes, but at an elementary school in New York's Chinatown the children are wise beyond their years when it comes to playing chess.

In 2011, Public School 124 took its students to compete in the second highest category at a national high school chess competition - and won.

The pupils at the school, where kids are aged six to 11, are predominantly Asian American and come from the surrounding middle- to lower-income neighbourhood.

Chess is a source of pride for a community whose first language is not English. Parents say learning the game helps with concentration and thinking strategically.

"These games are four hours long and that would definitely help with their testing [in school] because that is getting longer and longer," said Jennifer Kong, whose two daughters are on the chess team.

The BBC's Franz Strasser visited the 'Panda Pawns' - the name for the school chess club - in New York and followed the students to this year's National Championships in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • 11 Jul 2012
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