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Checkmate: math club teaches art of chess combat

The college math club is teaching problem-solving skills through chess.

The club, named Math Leaders Of Central Oregon, is in it’s second year at Central Oregon Community College and has just begun partnering with local elementary schools’ chess programs.

“The goal [with the partnership] is to help build critical-thinking skills and teach the kids it’s okay to enjoy math & critical thinking skills,” Lopez said.

During the first chess gathering, over 50 elementary students showed up to learn the basics of the game from school instructors. Members of the math club were present to assist the instructors. Through the partnership, math L.O.C.O is not organizing clubs but rather are volunteering at pre-existing chess groups.

“I’d recommend that people volunteer for this event. Everyone there is so enthusiastic,” said Michelle Lane, Math L.O.C.O club member. “The kids warm up really quickly and it is so neat to see them learning the game and having fun.”

In addition to community involvement, the club has been organizing club meetings, game nights and other events to involve students in the club and encourage problem-solving skills.

“[The club is] not about computations, it’s about all the other things you might not pick up in a mathematics class,” Lopez said. “It’s a place to ask when are we going to use this or when will this benefit us.”

Lopez also hopes to encourages students who are struggling with math to get involved with the club.

“A lot of people struggle with math but you can still appreciate it,” Lopez said. “The club is a resource for students who are struggling or who are interested in learning more about mathematics.”

Through the club, 12 COCC students also registered to participate in the Student Mathematics League Math Competition, a competition that includes more than 165 two-year colleges.

The first round of the competition was finished on Nov. 8 and the second round deadline is March 7. Winners of the competition receive a $3,000 scholarship.

At the first chess meeting the club volunteered at, over 50 elementary school children showed up to learn the rules of the game.


Club meetings and events

Math L.O.C.O game night

Thursdays, 4 – 6 p.m.

Fireside Lounge, Grandview, Bend Campus


Math L.O.C.O meeting

Wednesdays, noon-1 p.m.

Fireside Lounge, Grandview, Bend Campus


For more information and to get involved with Math LOCO email


Molly Svendsen | The Broadside




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