"...To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." ~from Tennyson's Ulysses
After the fall of Troy, the ancient Greek hero Odysseus (pronounced Oh-dis-ee-us, and also well-known by his Latin name, Ulysses) sailed home to Ithaca. The voyage should have taken months. It took ten years! In The Odyssey, the blind poet Homer recounts the many obstacles and challenges Ulysses and his crew faced as they navigated the Mediterranean world. It is an epic adventure which has thrilled readers for millennia, and will for millennia to come. It is also a powerful metaphor for the process of learning chess.
We named Chess Odyssey with this metaphor in mind. An odyssey is a long, adventurous journey, and that's exactly what learning chess is for most of us. Proficiency at chess is not developed overnight; it is a demanding and often frustrating game. That is a major reason it can be so satisfying, and why it is such a marvelous crucible for learning. Learning to play chess well is learning to make hard decisions in situations where information is incomplete and ambiguous. It is learning to face tough challenges as well as how to deal with unexpected adversity. Learning to play chess well is learning to maintain one's emotional and intellectual balance in the face of both triumph and disaster. It is learning to believe in yourself and what you can accomplish. Learning to play chess well develops a solid work ethic, through the sustained efforts required to reach goals of increased skills and deeper knowledge. It is learning to courageously face your weak spots without flinching or tearing yourself down. Learning to play chess well is, above all, a voyage of discovery.
Many centuries after Homer wrote The Odyssey, British poet Rudyard Kipling summarized these mature character qualities in his inspirational poem, If. Similarly, the great British prime minister Winston Churchill spoke of the tough-minded determination and courage needed to "stay the course" in his famous speech at Harrow School. Neither Kipling nor Churchill were referring specifically to qualities developed at the chessboard, but they certainly could have been.
At Chess Odyssey, we are focused on developing positive and useful habits, skills and perceptions through formal chess instruction, specially-designed learning activities, casual play and various kinds of formal and informal competition. Since virtually all learning is most effective in an enjoyable and exciting environment, we've developed our programs to maximize both safety and fun.
Finally, not surprisingly, our
mascot is a bulldog named Ulysses. We hope you'll join
Ulysses, along with Pete and the rest of us at
on the fascinating odyssey that is learning the game of chess!
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