Of Really Helps The Chess in The Development of Intelligence?

It is not unusual to see that the majority of Spanish politicians to agree on something, but someone (or rather something) has succeeded in the last hours: chess. In particular, the Committee of education of the Congress of Deputies yesterday approved a proposition of a bill that calls for the Government to promote chess as a sport in the school and in other public spaces.

The idea, as approved, is soon the program “Chess school” should be included in the Spanish educational system. That Yes, the initiative still left tour ahead, since before it must be also approved by the sectoral Committee of the Ministry of education. What is now a “recommendation” would then be a binding decision that the autonomous communities should implement.

It is not the first time that is an initiative of this kind in Spain. We have to go back to 1994, when Coalition Canaria proposed to include chess as a compulsory subject in secondary education. Although it boasted numerous props, the proposal was rejected due in large part to money that would train teachers to teach this course.

In the past also approved a proposal in Spain, but “passed” it

In early 1995 he returned to address the initiative, in this case considering the chess as an optional subject in the that. Was then adopted a similar “recommendation” that urged the Government (which by that time maintained the powers of education in almost all the autonomous communities) to introduce the subject, but was simply that: a recommendation that in the end none of that Executive (and the following) made no case.

“Chess school”, a recommendation of the EU

The proposal of the Socialist parliamentary group does not arise from nothing, but it is driven by the European programme “Chess school”. In 2012, the European Parliament approved the introduction of this programme in the educational systems of the countries members of the European Union considering that chess “is a game that is accessible for children of any social group, it could improve social cohesion and contribute to the policy objectives, such as social integration, the fight against discrimination, the reduction of rates of crime and even the fight against different addictions”.

The text, which was signed by MEPs from almost all political ideologies, called the Commission and Member States to support the introduction of the program in their educational systems and to ensure sufficient for it from 2012 funding. Although on this last aspect I’ve not managed to find more references so far, that there are several countries that have already introduced it in their school curriculum and, in fact, chess is now taught as a subject in several Spanish schools. Again, we are talking about just a statement of intent.

What educational benefits offer chess?

Improve integration and combat discrimination were not the only reasons the European Parliament cited by introducing the “Chess in school” program. Signatory members of the initiative also made mention that “whatever the age of the child, chess can improve your concentration, patience and persistence and it can help you to develop the sense of creativity, intuition, memory and skills, both analytical and decision making; that chess also teaches values such as determination, motivation, and sportsmanship”.

In an interview with mark, Gari Kasparov showed himself very in favour the introduction of their discipline in the classroom, although without characterize it aunque sin caracterizar_ lo como as sport: “chess in school be confused with the practice of the sport of chess in schools – football or basketball-style, while an important educational tool that teaches to think and transmits values I mean. I.e. a subject by itself or a support in the teaching of other subjects, such as math or history.”

But are these readings education experts agree? Yes, at least according to a study by two researchers from the University of La Laguna, which was found as the Group of students who regularly practiced chess There was an improvement in cognitive skills the Group practiced football/basketball. “Is confirmed, therefore, the value of chess as a tool to introduce into the classroom to stimulate cognitive skills and competences”, they concluded..

In addition, and in the sociafectiva dimension, “teachers perceived students as more satisfied with the school and the Professor, with a greater liking for the study, greater satisfaction with itself, greater confidence and security and, finally, with increased coping and problem solving capacity”.

“By way of synthesis, we can conclude that the results of the research credited to chess as a valuable educational tool,” according to the study by two researchers of the ULL

Okay, but what you translate this? “After a year of regular practice of this activity students achieved improve your performance in tests which require cognitive skills attention and resistance to distraction, perceptual organization, speed, planning and foresight”and”not only improves cognitive abilities, but influences socio-personal development and molding capacity of coping and problem-solving of children and adolescents who engage in it”.

Other studies, such as the elaborate by the psychiatrist Hilario Blasco, highlight the benefits of chess in children with hyperactivity. As they explain, a specific chess program “resulted in improvements in the behavior at home, notes of the school, especially in mathematics, the sociability of the child and a reduction in medical consultations”

Leontxo García, journalist specializing in chess which also has trained children and trained teachers, is clear: “chess developed twenty-five qualities: memory, concentration, logical reasoning, scientific thinking, self-criticism, personal responsibility, motivation, self-esteem, planning, foresight of consequences, capacity calculation, imagination, creativity, patience, discipline, tenacity, attention to several things at the same time, calculating risks, sportsmanship, cold-blooded, compliance with the rules, respect for the opponent, spatial vision, combativeness and desire to learn”.

Chess… do mandatory?

However, not all chess experts see clear force that provided this as compulsory subject to the children. At the end of this article for chess lessons include how to compel a child who does not feel interested in this discipline to practise it You can put an end to the hatred of the school to the same. For this reason are skeptical on the blog of the Chess Club of the University of Oviedo: ” enter the chess in schools as would subject? pedagogical tool? activity? […] “Without doubt a step forward, if it is that we believe that chess deserves school hours, but note that doesn’t mean approval of the introduction of chess in school (as it surely will see many headlines).”

Chess players and experts do not see clearly that a “compulsory” is necessary

The BBC also debated with experts on this issue once in 2011 you need to teach chess as subject in Armenia. Raymond Keene, Grand Master International, was not convinced that doing so required was the best option. “There are many other things that could benefit from being mandatory”. “Katherine Birbalsingh, Professor, he showed favorable to include chess, but it posed a problem:”what you quitaríais then? There is much to learn, there are many subjects, would be a shame to lose something like music or art for Chess”.

Initiatives already underway

We have already seen how in Spain was adopted, in 1995, a “recommendation” that the central Government did not follow, but some autonomous communities that decided to implement the chess as a subject on a voluntary basis. Some schools in Canary Islands they taught it for years and in 2012 the Canary Islands Parliament passed a proposición no de ley to teach this discipline as a subject in primary and secondary.

In 2014, chess and education returning to go hand in hand in the headlines when it was announced that 104 Catalan schools They impartirían it during lesson time. What had begun the previous school year as a pilot test in 11 schools in Girona stretched to still more centers. There is a similar project under the name of “Educational chess”, developed until August 2014 experimental in Cantabria.

Unfortunately we don’t have much information about the results of these pilots in Spain, although yesterday Francisco Cabrera, Deputy of the PP, spoke of a “more than 80 percent” satisfaction index with regard to experiences in Cantabria and Catalonia.

In other countries They also highlight similar projects. For example, its compulsory introduction as material last year is approved in Mexico. Cuba, Venezuela, Iceland, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova also include it within their basic all their school subjects, while in other countries such as USA, Germany, Argentina, and Sweden, among others, is taught as optional or mandatory at the choice of the Center.

Chess is also mandatory in Armenia, but for different reason… they want to be a chess superpower

In Armenia did in 2011 but with another quite different reason to all those who have been commenting on article: try to develop in Chess superpower, for which, and from the age of six, forcing children to take two-hour class on chess each week.

How is the proposal in Spain?

In any case, and if we focus on the proposal approved yesterday the Culture Commission of the Congress in Spain, still are many questions unanswered. Are we talking of a compulsory subject? From an optional subject? From its use as an educational tool? In the amendment of the PP was added that it would be implanted “(…) in collaboration with the communities, in the exercise of the powers which they own, and out of respect for the autonomy of schools”and, moreover, we have to wait and see what says the Sectorial Commission of the Ministry of education.

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