Benefiting from chess: star player teaches clients
Mark Barbar was once sponsored by the country of Liberia at chess competitions. Today, before picking up a consumer to take to a group home, he's sharing his chess knowledge with ProAct people in Eagan.
The game that some believe dates back some 1,600 years is still challenging minds in 2011, including those in the Adult Day Services program. Barbar sets up on-board scenarios to teach strategy. He has studied many books and played in numerous chess tournaments, achieving a U.S. Chess Federation rating of 1600 to 1700.
The training involves on-board puzzles to solve, including challenges to find out how to achieve checkmate in a certain number of moves.
Human service technician Dan Abramowicz provided the enthusiasm and planning to keep the sessions going. He started the game when he was five, playing against Russians who competed against his father. "I played people who didn't speak any English and we would communicate through chess," he said. The game has become an excellent outlet for ProAct's consumers to improve their thinking skills.