In 2011, Armenia launched a program to make chess a mandatory part of the curriculum for all students above the age of 6. It might sound strange to make chess compulsory in schools, but the decision was a well-founded one. Teaching chess in schools for the sake of chess itself might not make sense, but when you understand the power of chess as a tool for growth the benefits are clear.
The Sociological Impact of Chess in Schools
The Armenian Minister of Education suggested that the decision was based on a range of real life impacts of learning chess:
.. leadership capacities, decision-making, strategic planning, logical thinking, and responsibility… We are building these traits in our youngsters. The future of the world depends on such creative leaders who have the capacity to make the right decisions, as well as the character to take responsibility for wrong decisions.”
Chess can be a powerful tool to teach children how to manage defeat, engage in healthy competition of the mind, and consider the long term consequences of their decisions. All these traits not only lead to a healthy leadership drive, but they are all building blocks for success in other academic subjects as well.
The Effect of Chess on Academic Success
It’s no surprise that chess can have a profound impact on academic success. In 2000 a study was carried out among 6th grade students in the United States, attempting to understand the effects of chess on other academics. Students saw significant academic improvement in English, social studies, and science after just one year of chess in school.
Since then, the positive impact of chess on other subjects has been studied thoroughly. Some studies propose that the reason for this impact is that chess is great at training ‘general cognitive abilities’, cognitive skills that can be generalized across many subjects. These include working memory, fluid intelligence, and concentration capacity. Boosting these skills with chess could cause the ripple effect we see across other academic subjects.
Getting Chess in Your Schools
As the benefits of chess are becoming clear, we are helping London schools include this important tool in their classrooms. If you would like to invite us to start a chess club your child’s school, start the conversation here. We also do private and group lessons with our amazing coaches!