On December 9, 2023 the Chess in Education Commission met to review their accomplishments in meeting FIDE Chess in Education goals.
While I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with the newly appointed chair, Jerry Nash, for years as a friend and colleague on our Chess in Education – US nonprofit, I was pleasantly surprised at the Commission’s accomplishments, as well as the caliber of the Commission members involved in executing the plan. The Commission made substantial progress on multiple fronts.
This is the story of their accomplishments.
Following the 2022 re-election of Arkady Dvorkovich as chairman of FIDE, the Chess in Education Commission was reorganized. Jerry Nash of the US was named chairman, Rita Atkins (UK) as Secretary, along with several new Commission members. With executive direction from FIDE Deputy Chair Dana Reizniece-Ozola, the new Commission was charged with fulfilling the vision to make chess a tool for educating students around the world.
A four-year plan (2023-2026) was set with goals including:
- Position FIDE as the Global leader in Chess in Education (CIE).
- Double the number of teachers delivering chess-related instruction (from 25 to 50 million).
- Increase the number of participants in EDU courses by 20% each year.
The Commission set general strategies to accomplish these goals, including:
- Providing Training & Resources
- Assisting Federations & Organizations to Expand CIE
- Accessing Key Stakeholders
- Building the CIE Community
- Encouraging & Enabling CIE-related Research
- Increasing Quality Professional Development Opportunities
- Assisting Federations & Organizations to Expand CIE
On December 9, 2023 the FIDE Chess in Education Commission met to review its first year accomplishments. A video of the two-hour meeting is available here.
- Preparation of Teachers Course Revisions
- EDU Website
- EDU Conferences
- Global Initiatives
- Global Involvement
Preparation of Teachers (PoT) Course & Certification
The PoT course targets teachers, chess educators, beginner, and advanced players. FIDE awards successful candidates the School Instructor title. FIDE School Instructors introduce school students to the basic chess rules to improve social and 21st Century skills and to increase the number of chess players worldwide.
Prior to the December meeting, the Commission had offered 9 in person and 9 online PoT courses with more scheduled before year-end. This training included 473 participants from 79 countries with 284 awarded the School Instructor title. This reflects a significant increase over prior years and exceeds the 20% per year growth goal set in the Commission’s strategic plan.
This growth reflects both increased interest by teachers and federations as well as hard work by commission members.
At the same time, a subcommittee did a major upgrade of the course to incorporate new best practices and other improvements. FIDE CIE’s strategy to grow CIE training worldwide is not limited to promoting its own offerings. The Commission is considering ways it might work with other federations and organizations offering their own CIE services.
An important part of the outreach to key stakeholders and the CIE Community, is the Commission’s website which received a major upgrade in 2023, both in terms of content and structure. Check it out at edu.fide.com.
The website carries new of events and initiatives taking place in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America, as well as information about the new CIE Curriculum and certification programs.
Major international chess events often include chess in education conferences. Such conferences provide opportunities to build community, foster contacts with interact researchers, and learn about advances in technology and pedagogy.
Because of this, Commission members were prominent at two major CIE Conferences during the year. The annual London Chess Conference co-sponsored by the European Chess Union and FIDE drew a sizeable audience. The Conference featured the new FIDE EDU leadership and introduced elements of its four-year plan. The annual Educational Chess Summit in Budapest Hungary followed in October.
Commission members also participated in several online conferences around the world.
Assistance to Federations & Organizations
There is growing interest by national chess federation in undertaking CIE programs. FIDE EDU fields inquiries, helps to assess needs, and provide guidance and information about resources. These interactions can range from simple exchanges about available training and resources, to extended visits to countries to interact with key stakeholders involving in-depth discussions.
According to Nash, assistance means more than just training teachers, and lobbying government officials. It means making CIE initiatives scalable and sustainable. This involves consideration of human resources and organizational infrastructure. Because conditions vary so much from country to country, no single model can meet all needs.
A Value Chain Model for a Chess in Education Service Provider
Global Initiatives / Social Media
FIDE EDU maintains social media accounts on Facebook and X. 2023 saw an increase in excess of 30% on Facebook and 46% on X. In addition to individual followers, some government ministries have joined as followers.
Goals for 2024
- Preparation of Lecturers Courses
- FIDE School Awards
- CIE Course Certifications
- Conference Support
- CIE Resources
- Scalable & Sustainable Initiatives
Preparation of Lecturers (PoL) courses
PoL courses are for under development and expected to be available in early 2024. These would represent advanced certification beyond the School Instructor title. The advanced titles are a component of the strategy for a scalable and sustainable training infrastructure.
FIDE School Awards
FIDE School Awards is a certification program for schools designed to recognize and motivate existing and new CIE activities in schools.
As part of this effort, the program seeks to ensure improved standards of educational chess delivery. Details about award categories and a rubric for school evaluations will be published on the edu.fide.com website.
CIE Course Certifications
Recognizing that there are numerous CIE training programs already in place in different countries, the Commission will offer certification of CIE programs already in place. Preparations underway include a framework for CIE programs and a rubric for evaluating programs submitted for FIDE certification.
The Commission will continue its support of CIE conferences in 2024. This may include attendance at a newly announce conference in the US. The St. Louis Chess Club and its research partners are planning a St. Louis Chess Conference set for October 24-26, 2024 in St. Louis. The conference theme is “The Educational and Social Impacts of Chess.” The St. Louis Chess Club is expected to announce details soon.
“The global interest in chess in education – from chess federations and government education leaders – has never been higher. In 2024, the EDU Commission plans to continue its work to advance the message of chess as an educational tool, to share new resources for educators, and to help countries to develop sustainable and scalable CIE initiatives.”
Chair, FIDE Chess in Education Commission
Neil Dietsch is a co-founder and Managing Director of Chess in Education – US. His professional background is in IT and management consulting. He served as Alabama Chess Federation president from 2010 to 2019, a US Chess delegate in 2019 advocating for Chess in Education, and as a presenter at multiple London Chess Conferences.