1. WHY CHESS?
(This section is extracted from Why Offer Chess in
Schools by Jerry Meyers)
We have brought chess to the schools because we
believe it directly contributes to academic
performance. Chess makes kids smarter. It does so
by teaching the following skills:
Focusing - Children are taught the benefits of
observing carefully and concentrating. If they don't
watch what is happening, they can't respond to
it, no matter how smart they are.
Visualising - Children are prompted to imagine a
sequence of actions before it happens. We actually
strengthen the ability to visualise by training them to
shift the pieces in their mind, first one, then several
Thinking Ahead - Children are taught to think first,
then act. We teach them to ask themselves "If I do
this, what might happen then, and how can I
respond?" Over time, chess helps develop patience
Weighing Options - Children are taught that they
don't have to do the first thing that pops into their
mind. They learn to identify alternatives and
consider the pros and cons of various actions.
Analysing Concretely - Children learn to evaluate the
results of specific actions and sequences. Does this
sequence help me or hurt me? Decisions are better
when guided by logic, rather than impulse.
Thinking Abstractly - Children are taught to step
back periodically from details and consider the bigger
picture. They also learn to take patterns used in one
context and apply them to different, but related
Planning - Children are taught to develop longer
range goals and take steps toward bringing them
about. They are also taught of the need to reevaluate
their plans as new developments change the situation.
Juggling Multiple Considerations Simultaneously -
Children are encouraged not to become overly
absorbed in any one consideration, but to try to weigh
various factors all at once.
None of these skills are specific to chess, but they are
all part of the game. The beauty of chess as a
teaching tool is that it stimulates children's minds a