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Compulsory Chess

The Ministry of Education of the country of Georgia announced that chess will be compulsory for all first-grade students in both public and private schools. Starting with the 2022-2023 school year, students in the country’s 2,200 schools will receive instruction in chess.

As noted in the FIDE (International Chess Federation) news post, “The plan aims at ‘developing the students’ analytical, logical, and practical problem-solving skills, encouraging critical thinking’, reads the announcement. ‘Chess improves students’ multifaceted skills such as attention, concentration, memory, analysis, logic, decision making, spatial orientation and more. This, in turn, is directly related to the competencies defined by the standards of mathematics and other subjects’, it concludes.”

Not only is this a historic moment for chess in Georgia, it is evidence of the growing appreciation for the benefits of the game as an educational tool.

Compulsory chess instruction is not currently an option in many countries.  But the challenges for educators in the post-pandemic world may force them to think outside the box. Increasingly, teachers and administrators see the game’s value for addressing issues such as Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and changing the teacher-student relationship dynamic. This, in turn, has the potential to change the culture of the classroom.

Those in the field of chess in education look forward to positive reports about the Georgian initiative.

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