The project aims to develop the structured teaching of chess in schools particularly with reference to connections with mathematics and logic. The project is based upon important research findings that children who learn to play chess have improved academic results as well as improved social behaviour. Several projects in the domain of chess and mathematics, as well as didactical games, have been developed spontaneously across Europe. This project aims to pull all of these together and to create a framework for teaching chess in schools which links to the existing school curricula. The aim is to develop materials and a teacher training course which can be deployed across Europe. This is the most effective way of bringing the benefits of chess in schools to the wider society.
The project is led by the Slovak Chess Federation. Three Slovak schools and one Hungarian school will use the materials developed on the project. The materials will take into account feedback from the schools. The other participant on the project is Chess in Schools and Communities, CSC, a UK charity which provides chess education in primary schools. CSC has developed extensive materials in chess and mathematics which will be combined with the work already done in Slovakia and Hungary. CSC also runs an annual conference – the London Chess and Education Conference – at which the results of the project will be highlighted.
The project will involve a meeting of all the partners at the outset in Slovakia to plan the details of the project. The partners will exchange the materials and provide a teacher resource guide which will be written in English. Lesssons based upon this material will be tested in schools in Slovakia and Hungary. There will be several local meetings in Slovakia with the schools. Meanwhile, the teacher training course will be developed in the UK with input from team members. The teacher training course will be designed so that it is eligible for accreditation by European education authorities.
At the end of the project, we will be able to support the growth of chess in schools by having produced a definitive teacher training course and associated materials. The impact on educational results will be to improve performance in numeracy, literacy and reasoning skills.
Of particular interest will be the implementation of the materials on a disadvantaged minority – Roma children in Slovakia and Hungary. We will include findings from our work with Roma children learning chess building upon previous pilot projects.
In the long term, we are of the view that there is no single educational intervention which can have so significant an effect on school performance as a year of learning chess. The relative cost of this is very low compared with any other intervention.