Posts Tagged ‘Chess and education’

It was in the late 90’s when I said to my ex-headteacher that I would love to see chess as a subject in schools, for all the known reasons why children would benefit from it. – There are many entries on my blog about research and the benefits of chess – in the ‘search’ box you can type key words and you should find about 10 entries-or even more about the benefits of chess. You can read similar/same entries on many other sites too. Research conducted by various people from various countries in different/same areas has shown the same results. There is no doubt that chess, not only help children with all subjects in school [including reading!], but also support children in building/developing their skills for life. The fact that the European Parliament has made this decision,  is great news for chess and chess-lovers all over the world!

“This is a historical success for the European chess. The date of March 13th, 2012 will go down in chess history as the date when the game of chess advanced to a higher level of recognition by the society – not just like sport, but also like a part of education in the modern world.” – said Mr. Silvio Danailov, the President of the European Chess Union.

The President of the European Chess Union Mr. Silvio Danailov was applauded by all the MEPs for the success of the ‘Chess in School’ Declaration. This happened during the official parliamentary session at the EU Parliament where Mr. Danailov was invited as a special guest and presented by the Bulgarian MEP Mr. Slavi Binev. The President of the EU Parliament, Mr. Martin Schulz officially announced from the rostrum that the Written Declaration 50/2011 about Chess in School was endorsed by the EU Parliament.
After the session, some of the MEPs said to Mr. Danailov that the acceptance of the Declaration is really a great success, because the EU MEPs usually adopt only small number of Declarations, 10-15% of them. The final number of the MEPs who have signed the Written Declaration 50/2011 is 415.
Silvio Danailov, Bulgarian MEP Slavi Binev and the chess legend Garry Kasparov, also gave an official press conference, which reached audience on 250 national TV stations from Europe and the world. All activities and events connected to the project “Chess in school” were held under the high patronage of the previous President of the European Parliament, prof. Jerzy Buzek and Mr. Slavi Binev, who is the main supporter of the project and who introduced the Written Declaration 50/2011. During the press conference, Mr. Danailov gave a special award to Mr. Binev for his big contribution to the acceptance of the Written Declaration. MEPs John Attard-Montalto and Hannu Takkula, who were among the strongest supporters of the project, also took part in the press conference.
The Written Declaration will officially be communicated from the Parliament to the Commission and to the Parliament of each EU Member State together with the list of signatories.
The Declaration calls on the Commission and Council:

– To encourage the introduction of the program ‘Chess in School’ in the educational system of the Member States;

– To pay, in its forthcoming communication on sport, the necessary attention to the program ‘Chess in School’ and to ensure sufficient funding for it from 2012 onwards;

– To take into consideration the results of any studies on the effects of this program on children’s development.

The development and implementation of the program will be carried out as a joint project between the European Chess Union and Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe.

Source: Please click HERE for the site of EUROPECHESS

Toasting success! Garry Kasparov, Silvio Danailov and the team celebrate. Image: chess.com

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Image: pda.88000.org/wallpapers/12/World_Chess_Game.jpg

I’ve blogged before about Dyslexia, Hyperactivity, Chess Research and also about the Irlen Syndrome. Irlen Syndrome is an eye condition that relates to Dyslexia. All the links about these topics are at the bottom of this post and all links  will open in a new window. If you’re Afrikaans speaking, then you will find Juffer’s entry about severe low muscle tone interesting or click here to read about it in English, it’s also called hypotonia. Some children with low muscle tone sometimes find it hard to stay focused on activities in class and therefore have concentration problems. You do get different degrees of low muscle tone.


Image: edcollins.com/chess/chess-comic
I’ve had parents with children in the lower grades in Primary School whose children were diagnosed with ADHD. They’ve heard or read that chess is one solution to solving concentration problems. Yes, it is, but if your child has no interest in chess or he’s not motivated, why would you bother to burden him/her to learn the game to improve his concentration?  I can’t see the point as those children will not concentrate on the game and will only attend the chess club because: “my mum/dad said I have to“. You’re really not doing your child any favour of  forcing him/her into chess, nor the teacher that has to produce the results!  Parents also expect the results within a short period of time and sometimes don’t understand that it’s not possible…and if it doesn’t happen in that short period of time…they don’t believe that chess is good for their child’s concentration. Of course you will reap the fruit if you’re child is interested/motivated! I’ve had one little boy and he ended up playing chess for Gauteng Junior Chess…but not with my help only…it was more his coach of course, but at least his dad gave me the credit for getting him enthusiastic about the game…hehehe..What I also found interesting each year, (when starting with a new group – especially if they were Grade 1/Grade 2 ) I could immediately identify the little ones with concentration problems and could then point them out to their teachers and that helped them to know who needs support in that field quite early on.

I have an article for you to read and a couple of links. On the two links – near to the bottom, you can read more about ADHD too, but I would like to advise you to follow my blog-links first as you might find more useful information/links than the two near the bottom.

Playing chess may well help child diagnosed with ADHD
Parenting by Dr. Marilyn Heins
Tucson, Arizona | Published in the Arizona Daily Star: 07.22.2007

I recently was introduced to our neighbor´s 8-year-old grandson, who has been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The child has been extensively evaluated by medical practitioners, pediatricians and psychologists, and he has been on medication for five weeks.

I´m still reading up on this matter, and I saw some of your articles. However, before I was aware of his diagnosis, I was told that he had a problem sitting still and concentrating for any length of time. I immediately suggested that he be exposed to the game of chess, because my experience is that playing this game improves concentration and thought processes, and builds self-esteem. Some time ago, I also read a doctoral thesis from South Africa that dealt with chess as a tool to help children with learning difficulties.

I´ve been teaching this boy to play chess for about two weeks, and he´s able to sit still for up to two hours while playing. I´m pleasantly surprised by his grasp of the game and his thought processes. Do you have any views on teaching chess to children with ADHD? I´d also like to know whether one can overstimulate a child with playing chess, and if so, what´s the maximum time this child ought to be playing the game?

The relationship between chess and acquiring math, reading and critical-thinking skills is fairly strong. One study showed critical-thinking skills improved by seventeen percent in students taking chess classes, compared with five percent for other classes. Chess also teaches patience and courtesy while waiting for your opponent to make a move. I think one reason playing chess can enhance learning is that the child realizes chess, unlike other games dependent mostly on chance, demands skill and a plan to win. This makes winning such a game so much fun that kids may want to translate skills and planning to other areas, such as schoolwork.

There are no real data, but there are lots of anecdotes about chess improving concentration and focus in ADHD kids. And this can translate into better school performance. Indeed, professional chess players in international tournaments are tested for Ritalin, a drug that improves focus, just as athletes are tested for bodybuilding steroids. However, some children with ADHD become more distracted with the stress of competing, so parents can´t assume that chess is a panacea for everything.

The best thing about chess is that it provides attention from an adult and time away from TV! Both factors benefit all children, whether or not they have ADHD. When you think about it, zoning out in front of a television set is the direct opposite of focus. You just figuratively inhale what the network presents, commercials and all.

My father taught me and all his grandchildren how to play chess. For me, it was a very precious time. I knew my father played postcard chess with a brother who lived across the country. (These were the days before cheap cross-country flights and long-distance calls, so my father and uncle did not often meet.) My dad kept one chessboard set up for this cross-country game and looked forward to his brother´s next move.

I knew this game was special for my father, and it was a great honor when I was considered knowledgeable enough to move Uncle George´s men on the board. Playing a game of chess with my father was a great treat. Winning was like being awarded an Oscar.

I don´t play chess anymore, and neither do my children, but it taught me a lot about thinking ahead and planning a strategy. Chess also taught me something about family ties and the importance and joy of imparting the skills you´ve learned — whether they be chess or cooking or fishing — to your child.

It sounds as though the boy you´re teaching is taking to the game of chess very well, and it´s improving his ability to concentrate, which I hope will translate into better school performance. There´s no danger of overstimulation — either the child will stop playing or the adult can tell from the child´s behavior and body language that it´s time to stop.

Dr. Marilyn Heins is a pediatrician, author, newspaper columnist, lecturer, wife, mother, step-mother, and grandmother.
She has written over 800 parenting columns published in the Arizona Daily Star. Resource :



On this link you can read about chess  in schools as a subject in different countries.

The next PDF-link will open in a new window too and you can read about it or even save it on your pc for some midnight reading before you turn the lights out…and of course if I didn’t like chess and need to learn this wonderful game, I would love to have a chess set like the one in the next image! That will get me into chess..haha…



Image: ursispaltenstein.ch/blog/images/uploads_img/art_chess.jpg

Great chess players are great thinkers


Read on the next two links about ADHD.



Links on my blog..for you to read more…
this link you can read about the Irlen Syndrome and HERE about Dyslexia and Hyperactivity…and HERE about Chess Research…and education…that was carried out a few years ago. Even South African female chess players agree about the benefits of playing chess. The news article is in Afrikaans unfortunately.

Update: September 2009 -On this next link you can read about chess research that was done in Germany.


SA vroueskaak

Drie van Suid-Afrika se skaak-Groot-5. Carmen de Jager (19), Daleen Wiid (17) en Ezet Roos (17) was in van die topvyf-posisies wat die junior vroue tydens die Afrika- junior skaakkampioenskap onlangs in Bronkhorstspruit verower het. Foto: Leon Botha.
Kliek op hierdie link vir die oorspronklike artikel. Die link sal in ‘n nuwe bladsy oopmaak.

5 SA vroue is Afrika se junior skaakkampioene
Jan 08 2009 08:48:07:700PM  – (SA)

Leon Botha

Suid-Afrika het die vyf topposisies vir vroue verower tydens die Afrika- junior skaakkampioenskap wat die afgelope week in Bronkhorstspruit aangebied is.

Melissa Greeff (14) van Kaapstad, drie Pretorianers – Ezet Roos (17), Daleen Wiid (17) en Carmen de Jager (19) – en Nicola Alberts (17) van Port Elizabeth het onderskeidelik die eerste vyf plekke voor die neuse van hul mede-Afrikane opgeraap. Altesame 12 lande, waaronder Libië, Angola, Botswana, Kenia en Uganda het aan die kampioenskap deelgeneem.

Ezet, Daleen en Carmen speel al bykans tien jaar lank saam skaak. Hulle het al in 2001 in die Wêreld-jeugskaakkampioenskap saam deelgeneem.

“Die lekker van skaak is om iemand se brein te klop,” verduidelik Ezet.

“Skaak leer jou baie meer oor die lewe as net die spel. Jy leer om geduldig te wees en om te konsentreer. Dit leer jou ook uithouvermoë en om altyd ’n oplossing vir probleme te vind; met skaak sit jy heeltyd met ’n probleem voor jou.”

Daleen vertel dat die meeste vroulike spelers verdedigend speel. “Die belangrikste is om jou skaakstukke op die bord te ‘ontwikkel’, die koning veilig te kry en dan vir jou opponent se swak punte te kyk.

“Maar jou gemoedstoestand speel ook ’n rol. Soos jy daar (by ’n kompetisie) instap, gaan jy klaarmaak; wanneer ’n mens af is, waag jy net minder kanse.

“In skaak moet jy ’n plan hê. Dit moet so ’n agtskuifplan wees. Jy moet ook meer as een plan reghou. As jy byvoorbeeld voor twee moeilike keuses staan, leer skaak jou om die situasie te ontleed. Skaakspelers dink in detail; ons is nie impulsief nie. ’n Mens moet ook skaakfiks bly en gereeld speel,” sê Daleen.

“Die ander Afrika-lande se skaakspelers is sterk spelers,” meen Carmen, “maar hulle het nie genoeg diepte nie. Skaak is egter baie groot in Afrika.”


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Images: http://roseandchess.lib.uchicago.edu/chess.html

“When you see a good move, look for a better one”
(Emanuel Lasker)
In real life…when you want to do something good…try something better instead!


Chess can be used, at least indirectly, as a component of character education. Michael Potts, “Chess and Aristotle’s Ethics,” in Chess and Education: Selected Essays from the Koltanowski Conference
If you could be a piece on the chess board, which piece would you like to be? …if it was a real life situation and you could chose a “position” according to this book that was written in the 13th Century? I have said before in my own chess games-posts that I find the Knight very useful on a chess board whilst other people value a Bishop more…I think if I have to chose a “position”, I will stick to the Knight…they are there for “protection” and I think in real life situations, this is what I would like to do…to “protect”.
has tagged me to blog about what’s important in my life. She’s blogged about God and Love and I agree with her as I put God/Jesus first in my life and secondly…or with God, comes love…almost automatically…….because I believe if you have Jesus in your heart, you have love the same time…you can’t separate the two…..but to follow-up my homework I want to add to her post education/discipline. These two can definitely not be separated and if you do separate it, you get chaos. My opinion about education in schools? If there’s no discipline, you can not teach, thus…no education/learning can take place. If you think it’s possible, you fool yourself….If you want to disagree, feel welcome, make your head stand and sing your tunes, but I will stick to my view. Do you want to see an unmanageable class where learning doesn’t take place? Go into a school/class where there is NO discipline.  To come back to “protection”… I would like to be a  protector of Children and I would like to keep a “watchful eye” over any educational issue…as I think education is very important and with education goes discipline and I would really like to see  any government taking on parents for not taking responsiblities when it comes to disciplining their children. Chess is really a game for “royals” played by “royals”……and by that I mean…people who can respect others and can take up a role in society to make it a better place for all….and you still can’t play chess? Hey, all you have to do in real life/society, to make it work for everybody…play your “part” and play it well! And if you have to make a “move”, make a proper move! A move that is there to the benefit to everybody around you!


Le Jeu des échecs moralisé (The Moralized Game of Chess) was written in Latin in the 13th century by Jacobus de Cessolis, an Italian Dominican friar. Cessolis took advantage of the opportunity to use a relatively new game, chess, to describe an ideal society through the medium of the chessboard. Written at a time of political instability, his work was read centuries later as a guide to proper behavior, both because of the readily understood nature of the metaphor and the references to biblical and classical literature that buttress the argument.

Each piece and its attributes is thoroughly described; for example, if the Knight can move in front of a Pawn it is because the role and responsibility of the Knight is to protect the commoner – who in turn serves the Knight. Morality is prescribed: the King who leaves his wife for another acts against nature; the Queen must be chaste, docile, and concerned with the raising of her sons; the peasant should respect the laws and serve the lord. Each of the eight Pawns stands for a group of people, such as innkeepers or doctors and apothecaries. An intertwined society of mutual obligation is neatly laid out, as Cessolis says, “talents are distributed so that no one suffices by himself, but only has value in his relationships with others.”

With the focus on societal behavior rather than on the rules of the game, it would be nearly impossible to learn to play the game of chess from this text, but it is clear that the rules of medieval chess are quite different from those in place today. The King, for example, was restricted in his movement to the first three rows of the board, as it is his duty to stay close to home and defend the country.

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