Harvard Prof. Christian Hesse, PhD’s Review of Yamie Chess: The Adventures of Tigermore & the Mind Angels
By Prof. Christian Hermann Hesse, M.A., M.S., PhD, Mathematics, Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington.
Date: November 30, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Professor Christian Hesse, PhD All Rights Reserved.
I have now completed a detailed reading and evaluation of “The Adventures of Tigermore & The Mind Angels”. It has been a pleasure and it is a great product. It took close to 20 hours of my time….Yamie Chess is a fine product. It’s a pleasure to be a part of Yamie Chess, even if only as a reviewer.
Yamie Chess Ltd has produced a book on chess and mathematics for children.
The book combines the best of many worlds: in particular, the fascination and usefulness of chess with the usefulness and beauty of mathematics.
It manages to find a playful and friendly approach to enjoy both: how to learn chess and how to do math.
This is achieved by embedding the learning process into a fantasy story, that children will find heartwarming and take pleasure in reading.
A commendable idea of the team of creators of the project is to personify the rather abstract chess pieces: A mythical character impersonates each of them. Children will find it easier and less challenging to digest the way the pieces move when they associate them with Little Bu, the light pawn, Belskina, the Queen of Lights, Aurora, the light bishop, Siberia, the light horsey to name only a few.
Apart from being entertaining for the envisioned age groups, the fantasy story touches on an impressive range of topics from various disciplines. Included are some medical expressions from cardiac arrest and what to do about it to x-rays and what they are good for.
In terms of physics, children hear about photons, velocity and the principle of conversation of energy. From biology the term double helix is mentioned. In this respect, children`s vocabulary is enriched and their verbal skills are extended.
Next to the chessic aspects, the mathematical topics are at the center of the book: Here the readers are exposed to sets and Venn diagrams, numbers and raising them to powers, fractions and triangles including the theorem of Pythagoras. In terms of special numbers, the Fibonacci sequence appears.
And even probability and randomness are addressed at an elementary level. All this is done in a friendly and attractive way.
In addition, both the chessic and the mathematical themes are enriched with multiple-choice problems.
Without exception, they are well chosen and all of them are appropriate for the specific grades.
A great deal of the charm of the book stems from the drawings. They are first class and some of them are even exceptionally beautiful, such as the first and last drawings and others in between.
Quite astonishing also are the two maps at the beginning which depict Snowmelt, the mind planet. The maps encompass many suggestive locations such as Euwe Cape, 4 Knights Bay, Lake Karpov, The Coast of Gödelian Love, Gauss Bay as well as Descartes` Mathematical Ocean.
In addition to all of this, there is a chess game which unfolds move by move throughout the book.
It is a 12-move miniature game. This game is supremely suitable to expose children to the beautiful aspects of sacrificial mating attacks in chess.
In summary: A great deal of creativity has been put into this project. It is a beautiful, inspiring and very valuable educational tool. Teaching chess and math in a playful manner, embedding both in a fantasy story, is a great approach. The outcome is a feel-good-book for children and their parents with great pedagogical value.
I recommend it highly.
© Professor Christian Hesse PhD (Harvard University)