Tuesday, 11 February 2014
12 February 2014
Letters to the Editor
Bruce Thain | 16
A headteacher says she is
delighted her school's chess team has made
it to the semi-finals of a national
Pupils from Coldfall
Primary School in Muswell Hill played in the
2013 English Primary Schools Chess
Championships last week and have made it to
the semi final round which will take place
Teams from Year Four and
Year Six took part in the contest, battling
it out against other schools from across
School chess team
into finals of
Evelyn Davis, headteacher
of the Coldfall Avenue school, said: “We are
extremely proud of all our chess teams and
their successes in recent months.
“We've seen what a positive effect it can have on pupils and
are thrilled to have recently introduced chess as part of
the curriculum for all our Year 3 pupils.
“Not only has it improved pupils' concentration and
problem-solving skills but in many children the success they
have in chess has hugely boosted their confidence and
self-esteem, which has been transferred to all aspects of
Read more ...
Sally Clifford | 23
Quietly and patiently,
they ponder their next move.
To see these boys so
focused shows the power that the black and
white board and its playing pieces has over
Entranced, they slide
chess pieces along the board in silence. It
isn’t the kind of atmosphere you would
expect at a place for young people with
Considered at risk of
being excluded from school, the boys are at
Aireview Pupil Referral Unit in Saltaire on
a short-term placement, and while their
behaviour may at times be challenging, a
chess board has had a remarkable effect.
Winston Williams plays chess
with pupils Chris Windle, Callum Sloan and Adam Benson at
Aireview Pupil Referral Unit in Saltaire
Read more here ...
becoming increasingly popular in
schools; nine out of 10 private
schools promote it in some way,
and state schools are slowly
‘Chess helps to
develop children’s critical thinking and
reasoning, encourages them to plan ahead,
and teaches them that their actions have
consequences,’ says Malcolm Pein, chief
executive of Chess in Schools and
Chess has slightly
different benefits for boys and girls.
‘Boys tend to be good decision-makers but
don’t always think their decisions through
first, and chess teaches them to do that,’
explains Mike Basman, founder of the
Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge.
‘Girls are typically more cautious in making
decisions, and chess gives them more
confidence in that.’
Research backs up the
educational benefits of chess: an American
study of 3,000 students showed that playing
chess led to higher grades in English and
Maths. It also encourages problem-solving,
sportsmanship and self-esteem, often
allowing quieter children to shine. ‘It’s
great for children’s concentration and
patience: it’s the antidote to computer
games,’ adds Malcolm.
Read more ...
Richard Garner | 10 Nov 2012
making a dramatic comeback in
primary schools – thirty years
after it all but disappeared
completely from the state school
In the past
two years, a total of 175
schools – including those
serving some of the most
deprived areas of the country –
have reintroduced the game to
charity behind its revival,
Chess in Schools and Communities
(CSC), is optimistic the take-up
will spread to 1,000 state
schools within the next three
agreed the game is a major
stimulant for improving pupils’
concentration and believe it can
also be used in other subject
areas – such as maths – to
Laura Clark | 12 November 2012
reintroducing chess lessons in
an attempt to boost children’s
brainpower. Three decades after
it was virtually wiped out in
state schools, the game is
making a dramatic comeback.
In just two
years, 175 primary schools
across England and Wales have
introduced formal teaching in
chess. It follows research
suggesting the ‘game of kings’
brings a range of educational
benefits including improved
concentration and memory. The
charity spearheading the
revival, Chess in Schools and
Communities CSC, said its aim
was to expose as many children
as possible to the benefits of
the game. [Read
By: Kelvin Kemm
9th November 2012
Dr Kemm is a nuclear physicist and is the CEO of
Stratek Business Strategy Consultants
recently announced the start of
the annual matric exam trek for
thousands of school learners.
One could virtually hear the
drum roll as the country waits,
with bated breath, to see what
the results will be. It is not
only the matric pass rate that
is of interest, but also the
subjects that learners take.
Maths and science are always the
To drive our
industrial economy, the nation
needs people who can actually
‘do’ things; we need people who
can think, people who can
analyse and come to conclusions.
company employs an individual,
that company will be investing
in what that individual will do
for the company in the future –
it will not simply be buying
what the person knows.
A person who
is a walking encyclopaedia but
cannot put any of that
information to good use is not
of much use to the company. It
is output that makes money. At
times, the public asks why the
matric pass rate is not higher.
Teachers tell me that,
frequently, they can see, in the
first couple of weeks of the
school year, which learners in
the class will not pass. It is
rather immoral to allow a person
to study all year, knowing that
he or she is virtually certain
to fail. But what can a teacher
article at Engineering News].
TNN | Nov 5, 2012,
November, thousands of school
students in Belgaum are set to
sharpen their thinking and
improve their IQ.
Chess is the
new mantra the education
department is chanting to
enhance students' concentration.
All the 1,400 schools in Belgaum
have been directed to observe
November as 'Chess Month'.
Deputy director of public
instruction Diwakar Shetty has
instructed block education
officers (BEOs) and school heads
to purchase at least two
chessboards, and ensure that
children are taught chess during
the time allotted for games.
ECU President, Silvio Danailov,
opens the first school chess year in Slivnitsa.
31.10.12 - Bulgaria has
become the first European Union
country to introduce chess as
part of the formal school
curriculum, the European Chess
Union has announced. ECU and
national federation president
Silvio Danailov and local
education officials were in the
Bulgarian municipality of
Slivitsa on 26 October for the
formal opening of a new term
which will feature chess on the
curriculum for the first time,
in accordance with the
continental chess federation’s
Chess in Schools initiative.
Eighty of the
240 children at the St Cyril and
Methodius School in Slivitsa
have chosen chess as a subject,
which means that they will be
the first students from the
European Union to be formally
assessed in chess in this
See complete story and more photos.
Photo - ECU
Leeds MP takes on primary school youngsters
11th October 2012
MP Rachel Reeves takes on
Annabelle Waterhouse at St
Peters School Bramley, Leeds.
She’s used to thinking one step ahead in
Parliament but Leeds MP Rachel Reeves swapped politics for
pawns for the day.
The former junior chess champion tested
her wits against youngsters from St Peter’s Primary School,
in Bramley, during eight games of simultaneous chess.
Pupils at the school have been learning
how to play the game since the start of term as part of an
initiative to help boost their education.
The scheme is run by charity Chess in
Schools and the Community which aims to teach youngsters
about the game for one hour each week as part of the
Full Yorkshire Evening Post report ...
Photo: Simon Hulme
Why chess deserves a place in schools
7 February 2012
In Armenia all six-year-olds study chess; in
UK schools it 'fell off a cliff' in the
1980s. But its educational benefits are
Guardian online commentator calls for chess
to be in schools. [read
My big match with the chess-champion MP
chess-playing reporter couldn't resist playing Labour MP
Rachel Reeves – and how he came unstuck thanks to the great
Rachel Reeves – a former under-14 UK
girls champion – plays
Stephen Moss. Photograph: Sarah Lee for
Labour MP Rachel Reeves
was in earnest conversation with Garry
Kasparov, the highest-rated chess player of
all time, and Nigel Short, the best ever
British player. Well might she be. She will
shortly be facing me across the board.
The 32-year-old Reeves is
a rising star in the Labour party, and was
recently promoted to shadow chief secretary
to the Treasury. She is even being touted as
a possible future leader. Far more
interesting, however, is that she was also
once under-14 UK girls chess champion, and
has today yesterday gathered together a
galaxy of top chess talent in a crowded room
at the House of Commons to promote Chess in
Schools and Communities, a charity that aims
to get children playing chess in the belief
that it will foster self-discipline and
teach problem-solving skills.
Reeves tells the
assembled audience of kids, grandmothers and
grandmasters that chess was the perfect
preparation for politics, teaching you to
stay one step ahead of your opponents. She
says she has played very little since
school, but has gamely agreed to play me, a
decidedly average club-strength player but
one who, unlike her, does play regularly.
We play a so-called
"blitz" game – 10 minutes each for all the
moves. Reeves is a little rusty, and within
15 moves I have a won position. We trundle
on a little longer, but the game is done and
I am swelling visibly. I have beaten the
former under-14 UK girls chess champion!
We shake hands and
prepare to leave the board. Just before we
do, however, who should drift over but
Kasparov. He quickly sizes up the situation
– that Reeves, his host for the day and the
new standard-bearer of chess in schools –
has been walloped, and suggests a rematch.
He will, he says, intervene on her behalf
just three times.
We play again. The
position becomes complex, messy. At first,
Kasparov keeps his counsel, but as the game
gets more interesting he can't help lending
Reeves a hand. "I'm just offering general
advice," he insists as her position improves
while mine deteriorates. We are both
horribly short of time, but there is no
doubt she is on top. "Now final, final,
final shot," says Kasparov as my position
becomes dire. He has seen a way to win my
queen, and Reeves eventually sees it too.
Amid much laughter and applause I resign.
"Good moves can easily be explained," says
Kasparov. "They are just natural."
"I think that's one of
the best games I've ever played," says
Reeves with neat self-deprecation.
The Guardian has lost,
but it is defeat with honour, and after
shaking hands with the immortal Kasparov at
the end of the game, it will not be washing
for a month.
The moves from both games are shown
Swansea pupils join schools chess drive
There is a
UK-wide campaign to establish chess
as a subject
Pupils from schools in
Wales are amongst school children who are
visiting Westminster to campaign for chess
to be taught in all schools.
The youngsters are
already taking part in an initiative that
sees the game taught in curricular time.
They will join others
from across the UK to challenge MPs to a
The Welsh government says
it provides annual funding to the Welsh
Chess Union to promote the game through
clubs and competitions, particularly in
Thomas, a pupil at Craig y Felin Primary
School in Clydach in the Swansea Valley is
one of those travelling to London.
She has been playing
since the start of the year and it is one of
those being taught chess in school by the
Swansea-based Chess Academy Wales.
"I just like the way you
play it," she told BBC Radio Wales.
Deborah Evans, director
of Chess Academy Wales, said many pupils
like Wallis benefited.
"I teach in schools in
curriculum time and the enthusiasm from
children is lovely," she said.
"They are learning skills
without realising because it's such fun to
"They are also able to
socialise on a very human level because they
are not facing a computer. It's one to one
with a human being and it's great in this
cyber-age to have this opportunity."
The event in London is
part of a campaign headed by the group Chess
in Schools & Communities.
It has the backing of
chess grandmaster Nigel Short.
He told BBC Wales: "There
have been numerous academic studies showing
that chess is beneficial in various ways -
concentration, calculation, planning and
The Welsh government says
it appreciates the benefits of youngsters
playing the game.
A spokesperson said: "The
Welsh government provides annual funding to
the Welsh Chess Union to promote
opportunities for participation by young
people through the creation of clubs and
competitions, particularly in schools".
Compulsory chess lessons in
every school – now that's radical
By Katharine Birbalsingh
| Education | Last
updated: May 10th, 2011
Checkmate: it's not
a geek's game, it's a battle on a board (Photo:
Malcolm Pein in
runs a charity that
promotes the teaching of chess in schools. He has
managed to get chess lessons started in 70 primary schools –
1 hour per week. Children being interviewed about their
chess lessons insist that, in comparison, computer games are
“silly” and a “waste of time”. But chess makes them play
better with their friends, and improves their maths! These
are the kids talking ...
Are they right? Is chess
really what it is cracked up to be?
Believe it or not,
Armenia has recently made chess compulsory in all of its
primary schools. Children from the age of six will learn
chess as a separate subject on the curriculum for two hours
a week. Arman Aivazian, an official at the Ministry of
education, says that chess lessons will “foster
schoolchildren’s intellectual development” and teach them to
“think flexibly and wisely”. President Serzh Sarkisian has
been so inspired that he has committed around £1.5 million
(a large sum for an impoverished country) to the scheme. His
intention is that Armenia should rule the world of chess.
This is not just a pipe
dream. In 1963, Armenian Tigran Petrosian defeated Russian
Mikhail Botvinnik to take the world chess title. Armenia’s
national team won gold at the biennial International Chess
Olympiad in both 2006 and 2008, and the country’s top
player, Levon Aronian, is currently ranked number three in
But should chess really
take the place of other national curriculum subjects? I
doubt Malcolm Pein thinks so. He simply believes that young
children should be taught the game and given the chance to
enjoy it. Teachers involved in his scheme notice its
immediate impact on children. They say the children are more
aware of their peers, better at problem solving, more
forward-thinking and better at building strategy: quite an
extraordinary array of skills from just a little game of
It is said that the great
chess masters have hundreds of different chess boards
memorised which they simply pull out of their head as they
play. Without super sharp powers of memory and
concentration, one cannot hope to win at a game of chess. So
perhaps there is some truth in it.
No one wants to deny a
child the opportunity of learning the game of chess.
Contention only arises if one suggests that chess is more
important than something else. Is it more important than
music or art? What about maths or history?
Once I sat in the theatre
in New York and next to me was a woman with her 8-year-old
little boy who wore funny glasses and shorts. He was glued
to his electronic chess board during the entire performance,
obsessed with winning against the computer. It was a sight
to behold. All I could think was, there is something
different about that boy… something I wish I could bottle up
and give to all my kids back home.
Whatever one’s feelings
on chess, what I find most endearing is the comment of an
ordinary Armenian man when interviewed about chess. “Chess
offers us hope – the chance of salvation. For in chess,
every pawn can become a queen.”
If chess does that, then
compulsory it should be.
making chess compulsory in schools, but could
mandatory study of a board game really help
children's academic performance and behaviour?
Every child aged
six or over in Armenia is now destined to learn
chess. The authorities there believe compulsory
lessons will "foster schoolchildren's intellectual
development" and improve critical thinking skills.
The country has
plenty of reasons to believe in chess. It treats
grandmasters like sports stars, championships are
displayed on giant boards in cities and victories
celebrated with the kind of frenzy most countries
reserve for football.
It may only have
a population of 3.2 million, but Armenia regularly
beats powerhouses such as Russia, China and the US
and its national team won gold at the International
Chess Olympiad in 2006 and 2008.
Added to that,
the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has just been
re-elected as chair of the Armenian Chess
Armenia makes chess compulsory in schools
AFP Sunday, 17 April
Armenia is to make chess a compulsory subject in
primary schools in an attempt to turn itself
into a global force in the game, the education
ministry said on Friday.
"Teaching chess in schools will create a solid basis for the
country to become a chess superpower," an official at the
ministry, Arman Aivazian, told AFP.
The authorities led by President Serzh Sarkisian, an
enthusiastic supporter of the game, have committed around
$1.5 million (one million euros) to the scheme - a large sum
in the impoverished but chess-mad country.
Children from the age of six will learn chess as a separate
subject on the curriculum for two hours a week.
Aivazian said the lessons which start later this year would
"foster schoolchildren's intellectual development" and teach
them to "think flexibly and wisely".
The game is hugely popular in Armenia, where grandmasters
are stars and important match results make headline news.
The country of 3.2 million people has already established
itself as a serious competitor in global tournaments.
The national team won gold at the biennial International
Chess Olympiad in both 2006 and 2008, and the country's top
player Levon Aronian is currently ranked number three in the
world, according to the World Chess Federation.
are pawns in nation’s bid to be chess superpower
April 19 2011
children will learn chess at school
queens will not be confined to history
classes for children in Armenia, where chess
is being added as a compulsory subject in
The former Soviet
republic aims to boost its reputation as one of the world’s
leading chess-playing nations by teaching the game to every
young child for two hours a week alongside a normal
The Armenian Education
Ministry plans to spend about $1.5 million (£920,000) to
introduce the scheme from September. The country’s chess
academy, where many of Armenia’s top players learnt to play
the game, will be recruited to help to train teachers.
“Teaching chess in
schools will create a solid basis for the country to become
a chess superpower,” Arman Aivazian, a ministry spokesman,
said. He added that chess lessons would also strengthen
children’s intellectual development by helping them to
“think flexibly and wisely”.
The plan, part of reforms
to boost the quality of education, has been enthusiastically
endorsed by President Sargsyan, who is an avid chess fan.
The game enjoys huge popularity in Armenia, where
grandmasters are treated in the same way as star footballers
in other countries and the results of important tournaments
are broadcast on television news.
Despite having a
population of only 3.2 million, Armenia currently ranks
fourth in the world league produced by Fide, the sport’s
governing body, behind Russia, Ukraine and China. It counts
33 grandmasters among its current top 100 players, six more
Armenia’s top player,
Levon Aronian, 28, is ranked No 3 in the world and is the
current world champion in blitz chess, played at rapid
speed. He led the Armenian national team to the gold medal
at the International Chess Olympiad in 2006 and 2008.
Armenia also has a long
tradition of success in chess as part of the Soviet Union,
when the sport was turned into an intellectual battleground
with the West during the Cold War. Tigran Petrosian was
world champion from 1963 to 1969 and won the Soviet
championship four times. Garry Kasparov, widely regarded as
the greatest chess player of all time, is half-Armenian.
Born in neighbouring Azerbaijan, he adopted a Russified
variant of his mother’s surname, Kasparian.
Armenia is not alone in
deciding to make chess compulsory in schools. Pupils in the
southern Russian republic of Kalmykia, whose former
President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is the head of Fide, already
learn to play the game. Israel announced in December that it
planned to add chess to the school curriculum.
school chess compulsory
Saturday April 16, 2011
Armenia is to make chess
a compulsory subject in primary schools in a bid to turn
itself into a global force in the game, the education
ministry said on Friday.
'Teaching chess in
schools will create a solid basis for the country to become
a chess superpower,' said an official at the ministry, Arman
The authorities led by
President Serzh Sarkisian, an enthusiastic supporter of the
game, have committed around $US1.5 million ($A1.43 million)
to the scheme - a large sum in the impoverished but
Children from the age of
six will learn chess as a separate subject on the curriculum
for two hours a week.
Aivazian said the
lessons, which start later this year, would 'foster
schoolchildren's intellectual development' and teach them to
'think flexibly and wisely'.
The game is hugely
popular in Armenia, where grandmasters are stars and
important match results make headline news.
The country of 3.2
million people has already established itself as a serious
competitor in global tournaments.
The national team won
gold at the biennial International Chess Olympiad in both
2006 and 2008, and the country's top player, Levon Aronian,
is currently ranked No.3 in the world, according to the
World Chess Federation.
Uganda's chess champions from the slums
says playing chess has
helped her to
learn how to plan ahead
When Phiona Mutesi
saw a chess board for the first time, five years ago,
all she wanted to do was touch the pieces.
Then 10 years old,
she was taught chess by a six-year-old girl, like her
visiting a charity project for children in the slums of
Uganda's capital, Kampala. "When I play my former
teacher now, I always win," Phiona says and chuckles.
improvised lessons set Phiona on the path to become a
chess prodigy: At 15, she is her country's No 2 and the
top woman player in the under-20 category - a title she
has held for three consecutive years.
Last year, she
travelled to Siberia to compete in the World Chess
And she has helped
change the public's perception of chess and who in
Uganda should play it.
Having grown up in
Kampala's Katwe slum, Phiona never expected to succeed
in anything, let alone travel abroad.
Her family's poverty
forced her to leave school and sell food in the streets.
to read full BBC article online]