Pawns, rooks, knights, queens. The strategic game of chess has been around since the 15th century B.C. For those of you who believe it is too complicated or confusing to play, children as young as four are learning how to play this game that takes place on the black and white checkered board of another favorite- checkers. Playing chess is more than just a way to spend time. It is increasingly being shown to offer advantages to kids of all ages.
Benefits- The thinking skills learned while playing chess can be applied to tasks like school work. Chess helps kids learn to focus. It enhances math skills, helps kids develop patience and analytical skills, and helps kids connect with others. Chess has even been shown to improve reading scores on standardized tests.
What other countries are doing- Countries such as Armenia have made chess mandatory for all children aged six and older. They believe chess fosters intellectual development and improves critical thinking skills. In London, 175 schools have added chess back into the curriculum after a thirty year hiatus. They hope to increase this to 1000 within the next three years.
An Australian study demonstrated that chess raises IQ scores, strengthens problem solving skills, enhances abilities in a variety of subject matter, fosters creative thinking, improves thinking efficiency, and teaches logic. The authors of this study went as far as calling chess “one of the most effective teaching tools to prepare children for a world increasingly swamped by information and ever tougher decisions.”
How World of Enrichment helps- At World of Enrichment, our classes are small and taught by highly ranked tournament players, enabling numerous opportunities for individualized instruction. We provide customized lesson plans that allow students to excel at an accelerated pace. Children learn tools such as tactics, thinking ahead, correct positioning, and controlling the board. We teach vocabulary and notation, and even help kids work together to solve problems and analyze historical games. Skyrocket Chess teaches children to analyze, plan, and execute. Creativity is recognized as a strength, and children quickly learn that what they imagine can be powerful if they are able to plan and execute moves.
Ah, the satisfaction in uttering those two words: “Check Mate.”