It’s embarrassing to admit, but when I was at high school (way back in the mid-2010s) they actually had a person come around to teach us … chess.

Yes, chess. You read that right.

Even back then, most of us knew enough about the so-called “sport of gentlemen” (rolls eyes) to boycott the classes—but the fact that it was even being offered was so offensive we couldn’t believe it.

After many gruelling days of campaigning on social media, we were eventually able to get the chess tutor fired – and most of us hoped that no one would dare utter the word “chess” in a school again. Yup – this was the last anyone would hear of that gross and hateful throwback to yesteryear.

Well, we were wrong.

Yesterday afternoon, my little sister came home from school with a game box tucked under her arm, thrilled as anything.

“What have you got there?”, I asked. “Monopoly?”

She shook her head, beaming from ear to ear. Not Monopoly? That was the first red flag.

“It’s a new game they showed us today!” she said. “The whole board is squares!”

Alarm bells began to ring.

“Checkers?” I asked nervously. She shook her head again, and excitedly opened the box. A knight; a rook; another knight.

Uh oh.

I immediately grabbed all 32 pieces, and instructed her to shield her eyes as I disposed of them in our family’s InSinkErator®. I don’t think she heard me over the sound of the InSinkerator®, but as luck would have it she began weeping, which hopefully obscured her vision somewhat (of the rooks, especially).

So here we are once more. Will it again take DAYS for the school to fire whoever is responsible and ban chess – this time for good? Or are we actually going backwards? A lot of so-called “allies” on Twitter will tell you that they find chess just as problematic as everyone else, but it’s incidents like this that make me know they’re lying.

Here is my challenge to teachers, principals, and school administration staff everywhere: the next time someone tells you to ban chess, TRY NOT TO BE SO DEFENSIVE. Don’t talk about tradition, and don’t talk about chess values. Just try – just once – actually LISTENING, and BAN CHESS.

It’s really not that hard. 


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