This is the second Massachusetts Institute of Technology expert analysis in a series that Yamie Chess Ltd conducted with nationally-respected academics for parents and educators across America. (MIT civil engineering graduate Anna Sylvan-Jaffe provided the first MIT analysis.)
This page includes copyrighted material by Professor Michael Ching, Ph.D. and has been split into sections below for your ease of reference.
Professor Michael Ching, Ph.D., Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
With a teaching background at Johns Hopkins University as the J. J. Sylvester Professor of Mathematics, Prof. Michael Ching, who is an MIT Math Ph.D. and is currently a senior lecturer in Mathematics at Amherst College in Massachusetts, writes an in-depth assessment of the first Yamie Chess® K-8 math learning aid. Prof. Ching, who is also a Kennedy Scholar from Trinity College, Cambridge University, meticulously analyzed the Yamie Chess® math product's educational merit from his expert MIT perspective. The MIT math Ph.D. concludes with a strong recommendation of Yamie Chess® for children's K-8 math education.
2. MIT Professor Ching Ph.D.'s analysis of Yamie Chess®
3. More about the Expert
4. Suggested Reading and Related Articles
One of the country's leading mathematicians, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mathematics Ph.D. Professor Michael Ching, an award-winning and nationally respected math educator who resides on the Mathematics Faculty at Amherst College as a Math Professor, gives an objective, fair and balanced analysis of Yamie Chess®.
Professor Ching, who was formerly the J.J. Sylvester Assistant Professor of Math at Johns Hopkins University, strongly recommends Yamie Chess on merit, and provides here for interested parents and educators a reliable and extremely well-researched analysis of Yamie Chess, after examining all the evidence pre-publication.
Yamie Chess Ltd used Professor Ching's impartial analysis in an internal evaluation to assess the view put forward by Caltech engineer Gerardo Morabito, that Yamie Chess: The Adventures of Tigermore and the Mind Angels® is a valuable educational investment for parents and teachers to develop and supplement student's math problem-solving skills.
MIT math Ph.D., Professor Ching, independently confirms Caltech engineer Gerardo Morabito's considered opinion, and he further validates Yamie Chess® as a credible and useful math educational resource that reinforces key mathematical ideas, and that will help children to develop their math skills and learn chess.
MIT Professor Ching Ph.D.'s analysis of Yamie Chess®
Review of Yamie Chess: The Adventures of Tigermore & the Mind Angels
By Prof. Michael Ching, Ph.D., Mathematics, MIT
Date: November 3, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Professor Michael Ching Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.
Skill at chess has long been viewed as a marker of academic ability. Generations of children have learned to play, some at school, some at home, both for fun and for the intellectual challenge.
Chess has maintained its popularity in the face of modern technology because of its relative simplicity to learn and its acknowledged difficulty to master.
The Yamie Chess math and story book brings a new approach to learning the game by integrating a chess tutorial with a fantasy storyline and math questions of various levels.
The result is an amazingly imaginative introduction to chess that provides connections to, and inspiration for, the mathematics that a child will be learning in school.
I think the biggest strength of Yamie Chess is its appeal to a wide range of ages and abilities.
For preschool children this is a coloring book portraying a dream world inhabited by a variety of fantastical creatures.
No knowledge of chess as a game is needed to follow the adventures of the boy Kimi as he dreams of the flying tiger King Tigermore and his vulture counterpart King Vigdor.
The older child can use Yamie Chess to learn the game, while simultaneously practicing basic math skills.
The story also contains an impressive line-up of scientific references that will intrigue and inspire children of all ages, and keep adults on their toes as well.
It is as a setting for learning the game that Yamie Chess really shines.
The ways that different pieces move are explained clearly (and neatly tied to the personalities of the characters in the story).
The sample chess match illustrates all the basic rules and is short enough not to overwhelm a child learning the game for the first time.
This book really makes chess sound like fun!
The book wisely does not attempt to explain the strategy behind every move, but basic tactics are considered in various cases.
Problems integrated into the text help the beginning player think about, for example, what pieces could be used to protect another, or which squares a king might move to in order to escape check.
The ultimate educational goal of the Yamie Chess comic, however, is to enhance and strengthen children’s mathematical ability.
Research has shown that, by itself, learning to play chess is tied to better logical reasoning and stronger performance in math.
Yamie Chess adds to this by integrating both mathematical content and math puzzles into the text.
The puzzles include both relatively standard ‘textbook’ problems to reinforce what a child learns in school, and more interesting ‘mindteasers’ that will help to extend that material. Most importantly there is a focus on explaining as well as just solving problems.
For example, the book includes a discussion (again, integrated into the storyline) of why the area of a triangle is given by the familiar formula.
This is in line with the current trend in school math toward asking why as much as asking how.
The math content of Yamie Chess covers a range of areas of the elementary and middle school curriculum (mainly grades 2-8), providing reviews of basic arithmetic, number lines, decimals, fractions and some geometry.
It should not, however, be confused with a textbook.
The problems here are suited to give a child some extra exposure to mathematics while learning to play chess, or while reading a fun story, but any one child will find only a few aimed directly at his or her level.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Yamie Chess comic.
It brings imagination and fantasy to the basic game of chess, making it easy to pick up this classic skill, while simultaneously reinforcing key mathematical ideas.
I expect children of all ages will find it inspiring and interesting.
I strongly recommend it.
More about the Expert
An accomplished mathematician, Professor Michael Ching earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Professor Ching was J.J. Sylvester Assistant Professor of Math at Johns Hopkins University, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Georgia, and he is currently Associate Professor of Math at Amherst College. With extensive post-graduate teaching experience at MIT, University of Georgia and Johns Hopkins University and Amherst College, Professor Ching has conducted sophisticated mathematical research for the United States Government's National Science Foundation.
In 2007, Professor Ching won an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Department of Mathematics at Johns Hopkins and in 2005, he won the Dean's Educational & Student Advising Award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's School of Science, for dedication to educational programs and student advising. Professor Ching has an academic background as a post-graduate honors mathematician at Trinity College in the University of Cambridge where he won the Yeats Mathematical Essay Prize and was a Senior Scholar. Professor Ching was also a Kennedy Memorial Trust Scholar. In High school, Professor Ching won the Gold Medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad.
Visit the author's professional profile at Amherst College »
Suggested Reading and Related Articles
Yamie Chess Ltd works with six math Ph.D.s from top U.S. universities.