Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Czech Rep to teach chess to boost kids' logical thinking
LN: Schools teach chess to boost pupils' logical thinking
9 October 2013
Prague, Oct 8 (CTK) - Some schools in the Czech Republic have joined the Chess to Schools project and introduced chess lessons as a compulsory subject to improve pupils' logical thinking and concentration skills, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
"We started teaching our first graders chess last school year. As it proved good, we've introduced the lessons for second graders as well now," Jiri John, teacher from the elementary school in Bila Tremesna, east Bohemia, is quoted as saying.
A total of 23 Czech elementary schools teach chess now, some as a compulsory and some as an optional subject.
Expert studies have shown that chess not only improves children's logical thinking and concentration capability but also helps them cope with other school subjects better, LN writes.
If the Chess to Schools project proves itself, chess may become a common part of school education in the Czech Republic.
The kids who learn the basic rules of chess in kindergarten or in the first grade have better school results and also acquire important social habits, surveys have shown.
This also applies to children who are otherwise viewed as hyperactive and unadaptable and who are not expected to seek higher than elementary education.
Also owing to chess, a number of them can continue their studies at a high school or an apprentice center, LN says.
Positive effects of chess on the development of a child's personality and school results have been confirmed by numerous foreign studies since the 1980s.
In Venezuela, chess was introduced as a compulsory school subject as early as 1989, LN writes.
A test of chess lessons' effect on children's intellect was also carried out by the Beskydy Chess School in Frydek-Mistek, a north Moravian town where chess is especially popular and where over 200 children play chess in kindergartens alone.
Experts compared two groups of pre-school kids, chess players and non-players with a similar intellectual level and living in similar social conditions.
The survey showed that the small chess players did better in all types of tests, mainly in tests focusing on logical operations, chronological sequence and concentration skills, the school head Pavel Benco told LN.
Martin Kubala, former Czech international chess champion and one of the Chess to Schools project organisers, emphasises that chess players not only have to think logically and analyse variants and strategies, but they also have to anticipate the rival's decision and put themselves in the rival's thinking.
This skill can be used in everyday life, in inter-personal relations, Kubala points out.
Moreover, chess enhances children and adults' capability of making decisions and bearing responsibility for them, Kubala says.
The question of whether chess will be introduced as a school subject across the Czech Republic, like in Venezuela, Armenia and some regions of Britain, the USA, Italy, Germany, Austria and Spain, remains open, the daily writes.
"Chess is a game that can desirably develop the logical thinking of kids, but as a leisure time activity rather [than a compulsory subject]," Education Ministry spokesman Marek Zeman told the paper.
A possible change of the ministry's opinion will much depend on the results to be reported by the schools participating in the Chess to Schools project, LN concludes.