Does chess really improve grades in Maths? Some studies would seem to suggest so. If that is the case, how come we do not have more kids playing chess in African schools. A number of countries have integrated chess into their curriculum. A few examples are Venezuela, Iceland, Russia, Canada and parts of USA. How come we do not have the same thing in Africa?
FOR GEEKS AND NERDS?? – One of the big challenges with chess is the way it is portrayed in popular culture. Chess is seen as a past time for nerds and geeks. Thanks to this portrayal, very few people want to be seen or associated with chess. Sadly we are losing out on this dynamic game of tactics and strategy. I think chess is a game that can be enjoyed by the masses but before that can happen, we must make the game accessible to everyone.
NOT SO HARD – I have been amazed by the number of people who say chess is difficult. After a few lessons we both realise that chess is not that difficult. Most there is a another reason why someone thinks chess is so hard. It could be the way the person was introduced to the game, lack of practice and the person who is teaching the game. This is not a hard game to learn but there are a few rules and basics to remember, as is the case with most things in life.
THE IDEA – In Africa grades in Maths and Sciences could do with some improvement. We could introduce chess in schools as early as possible following models that have been used successfully in other countries. If the model does not work for us, we could modify it or abandon completely. I have seen many kids playing chess and can honestly say there is a lot of potential.
EAST EUROPE TREND – A number of Eastern European countries which had a very strong chess culture have had several prominent scientists over the centuries. Is this a mere coincidence? Several mathematicians have been fairly decent chess players. Without any specifics my argument is not strong at all. However, I do think there is a great deal in common between chess and maths. In future articles I will give specific examples.
CHEAP – Compared to most sports and activities, chess is quite cheap. A chess set can be a basic vinyl set of pieces and a roll up artificial leather board. Clocks are quite expensive but beginners can do without one. Once you have invested in chess pieces, you are not likely to need one for many years. Chess could be rolled out to schools in rural and urban schools.