All children’s names have been changed.

Back to: Indicators of Possible Intellectual Giftedness

Example by Arno Zucknick, Berlin

One morning I picked up a boardgame with its wholes arranged as in Chinese Checkers. I sat down and started to set up for a game.

Jerome (4;5) noticed this and asked me, what I was doing. I explained, this was a game called Chinese Checkers, and I asked him if he wanted to try it. He said yes, and I told him the rules. He understood them immediately – even the idea of building skipping-paths enabling you to cover great distances on the board in one move – and we were able to get right into it. In the first round I still had to point to opportunities for him to make those extended skipping moves. I won that round. The very next round he won – without me intentionally letting him win! On top of this, he wouldn’t be distracted by the hullabaloo in the room and readily played a third round.

I wanted to know more and asked a rather bright and alert girl from that group, same age, if she wanted to play. It turned out that she didn’t come close to understanding the rules of the game. She chose to quit the round before it was over, because she, in her own words, didn’t understand the game. This once more showed me quite clearly the difference in perceptual speed between Jerome and the other children in the group.

Date of publication in German: October 13 th , 2009

Example by Heike Brandt, Remscheid

Marvin (3;10 – name changed) reacted with great enthusiasm when I asked him if he wanted to play a game with me. He chose the game with the black and white pieces (draughts / checkers), which I had played with a day-home child the day before. Marvin didn’t know the game yet at that time. When setting up, he was able to set up the second half of the board by himself after having set up the first half together with me. I demonstrated the rules of the game by the examples of typical playing situations. While playing, he kept to the correct playing direction most of the time.

I only indirectly pointed out opportunities to jump across the opponent’s (my) pieces, he mostly discovered them all by himself and took them. Every time he made a catch, he counted the pieces he had acquired and the number of pieces left for me. In doing so, he counted beyond the number 10.

In the further course of the game he repeatedly clapped his hands in joy when a piece was jumped, even when it was his own. At this time he didn’t care so much to win; more important was the idea of performing that jumping move over and over again. That’s how we temporarily agreed to let him play both sides.

He also noticed when the opposing „Dame“ was threatening one of his pieces “from the far” and moved his piece. “Now the Rook (the Dame) can come; this way, my piece is out of the danger zone.”

At the same table two other children were playing Dominos. Marvin showed interest in that other game while playing our game. He said: “I don’t know that yet. Will you show me?”

This ,too, demonstrated his effortless learning: While he was learning Chinese Checkers, he was able to simultaneously grasp, that the other children were doing something interesting, too.

Date of publication in German: October 30 th , 2008