Does your child know how to play chess? A recent study carried out in Armenia to see whether or not children there would take to playing chess, has been so successful it is now a part of the national curriculum. Now in Armenia, school children over the age of six play chess with their follow classmates for at least 2 hours a term. Teachers have reported that it not only improves children’s concentration and strategy skills, but it also stimulates their creativity and opens up new ways of thinking to them. They also benefit from a new form of social interaction, as it teaches pupils good sportsmanship and therefore helps their people and conversational skills. A study conducted on behalf of the Armenian government by Dr Stuart Marguilles, conclusively showed that the majority of children who played chess for a few hours a week did indeed gain higher reading scores and were much more focused when it came to schoolwork and lessons.
Malcolm Pein, Chief executive of UK Chess in Schools and Communities was quoted saying, ‘Not only does it give children good thinking skills and improve concentration, memory and calculation, but it teaches children to take responsibility for their actions.’ If you make one wrong move in chess it can end up forfeiting you the entire game, which is a lesson that will come in very handy for most children later on in their adult lives. Pein is currently in the middle of preparing a proposal for the government to review that will put chess and other ‘thinking games’ such as bingo on the UK national curriculum for children in primary school.
The best thing about chess overall has to be it is both fun for children to play and they are learning lots of vital knowledge and life skills, so it’s a win on all fronts for children, parents and teachers alike!