Saturday, 21 February 2015

Chess in (Spanish) Schools

The Spanish Parliament has just decided to add chess to the list of subjects that students must do at school. Part of the reasoning is that chess improves the 'maths and reading scores among the children who were taught to play'. The join a few other countries (including Armenia) who have it as part of the curriculum, but a world where every child learns chess at school is probably still a fair way off.
While I think there are clear educational benefits in learning chess, I don't think being a chessplayer necessarily makes you instantly smarter. What I think it does is improve your problem solving skills, your memory, and possibly pattern recognition. Nonetheless this often translates into improved marks at school, which of course makes you look smarter.
If you want another take on this decision, you can read this interesting article by Stephen Moss. Moss is his himself a chessplayer  so he has more than a journalists usual understanding of chess. And while you are there, the comments section supplies and even broader discussion of this decision.

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