Staff and students at Camp Middlesex honored Pinkus Pavlotskiy with a cake to celebrate his 20th year of teaching chess at the camp, which is at Middlesex County College. Over the years, he has taught approximately 1,200 children to play chess.
Born in Moldova, he immigrated to the United States in 1995. He currently teaches math in high school, and is on the National Honor Role of Outstanding American Teachers, but his true love is chess. He considers chess “an exercise for the brain” that gives him a “second life” helping him to relax when he is stressed. People who play chess, according to Mr. Pavlotskiy, are able to use both sides of their brain to solve difficult problems, especially in math.
“If you are a chess player you are also better able to understand relationships, which can help in your everyday life,” he said. Mr. Pavlotskiy feels that chess is especially good for children, since they can “develop the ability to solve problems and master difficult situations, learn to react faster, concentrate better, improve their memory and increase their creativity.” He also feels that chess can improve reading skills.
When teaching children, Mr. Pavlotskiy begins by explaining the importance of the 64 squares on the board. He then teaches the children that “chess has specific rules” and that “you must execute the rules and follow them exactly” and then he teaches strategy. He believes that children can begin to learn chess as early as 3 years old. His children and grandchildren all play chess, except for the 2-year-old grandchild who will begin playing next year.