Cribbage teaches math skills to area students |

Cribbage teaches math skills to area students

Dan Zeisler, principal and superintendent of Chicago Park School, has a little-known alter-ego: board member of the American Cribbage Congress and the director of its national youth program.

The American Cribbage Congress is a nonprofit organization that promotes cribbage for people of all ages.

Zeisler has taught cribbage to more than 900 children over 15 years.

In 1993, he started the Sierra Youth Cribbage Tournament in Sonora, where he taught middle school.

Last Saturday, Chicago Park School hosted the event, now in its 15th year, with 18 participants from schools in Grass Valley, Chico, Castro Valley and Lafayette.

“In a day and age of video games, where you are just playing against a computer, cribbage gives you a chance to interact and play with another person,” Zeisler said. “In the process, you learn social skills and good sportsmanship.

“I get letters from grandparents thanking me that I taught cribbage to their grandkids, because it provides a common bond between generations.”

Cribbage also helps develop math skills and critical thinking skills, Zeisler said.

“Kids who would count with their fingers, are able to count inside their heads more accurately and quicker” after they learn to play cribbage, Zeisler said. “Cribbage allows you to see numbers in a broader sense and how they work in patterns.”

Zeisler is the author of a 22-page manual for teachers on how to teach cribbage to large group of students.

In Saturday’s tournament, Dusty Zeisler from Pleasant Valley School took first place; Leif Jurgenson of Chico placed second; Vinny Carrillo of Nevada Union High School stood third, and Michael Zahn of Castro Valley came in fourth.

At the consolation event, Chris Marcum from NU placed first and Johnny Lee of Chico was second.

Know & go

For more information on the American Cribbage Congress, go online to

You can get an electronic copy of the cribbage manual written by Dan Zeisler by e-mailing him at

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