Checkmate grandpa!

Chess is one of the oldest and most widespread games, which mobilizes all human mental, intellectual and even physical powers, developing logical reasoning, imagination, intuition, and persistence in seeking hidden possibilities and combinations.

This game shows also surprisingly good results among the latest pedagogical tools for young students. Through chess, children develop cognitive skills and it is believed that playing chess improves intellect, character, morals and emotions.

The origins of chess

Chess originated in India, and its structure is the result of the old Vedic philosophy and mysticism of numbers. First "The game of War" was created or "Chaturanga" 'quadripartite' (divided into four parts) - a poetic name for the old Hindu army which composed of four ranks: infantry, cavalry, elephants and war carts.

The Persians took over the "Chaturanga" very early and gave it the name "Chatrang". When Caliph Omar conquered Persia in the mid-7th century, the Arabs also got acquainted with the game and called it "Shatrandzh".

That's how the game was referred to, according to the old rules in the Middle Ages. An interesting fact is that the Arabic meaning of the term "shah-maht" is "The King is dead".

It is believed that the era of modern chess began around the year 1475, when rules of the game that we know today were established.

Chess in the world of children

Educators increasingly believe that chess should become part of the educational process because chess education is extremely effective for children because it includes all levels of critical thinking, requires cognitive reflection, it cultivates the visualizing capabilities, proves the problem-solving skills, and encourages children to overcome the feeling of fear of risk taking.

Chess improves concentration and discipline. It allows children to take responsibility for their decisions, encourages determination and perseverance, it promote good sporting characteristics, enhances the socializing features and provides the necessary core of education - reasoning.

It's interesting to note that students who find it difficult to concentrate during independent activities can achieve better results by playing chess.

All these facts encourage schools from different parts of the world to include chess as part of the curriculum. Chess has already been part of the curriculum for a long time in schools in Russia, Europe, and in many schools across Canada and the USA.

The schools, from their own experience, have come to the conclusion that playing chess not only improves concentration and educational performance of the students but also the overall features and confidence.

There are many reasons for these improvements. One of these is the desire to win, which makes students approach to things with more patience and attention.

Chess enhances cognitive abilities and pulls out on surface the hidden abilities that were not reached with the traditional educational means.

Studies, experiments, opinions

Studies made in Belgium from 1974 to 1976 have shown that chess creates a positive atmosphere among students, enhances mathematical and verbal abilities. Furthermore, studying chess after a systematic way for more than a year improves the IQ among students of both sexes (male and female), from all socio-economic groups.

An experiment with chess shows that after only 20 days of chess instruction, school performance increased dramatically, i.e. 55% of students showed significant improvement in results in mathematics.

The five-year study by Robert Ferguson shows that the test results improved 17. 3% of students who regularly attended chess classes, compared to only 4.56% of the children who participated in other forms of "extracurricular activities" including problem solving, traps, working with computers, creative writing and more.

Professors of Roberto Clemete School of New York consider that chess not only improves school results, but also the social performance.

New scientific studies get irrefutable evidence for improving the reading skills. In a comparative study, the involved primary school children were divided into two groups: children who do not know how to play chess, and children who played chess throughout the year. At the end of the year, it has been shown that there isn't a change in the results at the children who were not chess players, whereas at those children who played chess, a development of a "general" intelligence was noticed, as well as, self-control, analytical skills and increased concentration.

Teachers of Mathematics describe chess as "the best game for the development of logic and shrewd thinking." The educational curriculum in New Brunswick, Canada, called "challenging math", uses chess from second to seventh grade as a tool for logical reasoning. After establishing this type of curriculum, the average score in math solving problems among students has increased from 62% to 81%.

The published studies on" Developing the critical and creative thinking through chess" by Robert Furguson, including the effects of chess in the educational institutions by testing the students of primary schools as part of ESEA Title IV-C Explore Program, have proven that the average annual increase of critical thinking for the children who were playing chess is 17.3% and for those who do not play chess is 4.6%.

How to introduce the game of chess to children?

The main problem is how to keep the enthusiasm and interest of the child, while it reaches the point when it has developed the necessary skills to start winning the game. In chess, previous experience is not essential and therefore superior performance is possible at many young players.

Children can begin playing chess from 3-4 years of age.

Here are a few helpful tips:

* In the beginning, play simple finishes, for example, give your child only the figures of the king and queen against your king. Then gradually add new figures. This will not require of your child to predict steps so far ahead.

* Give him to solve a situation like checkmate in two moves.

* Play the game on simple level and allow your child to beat you in order to feel the pleasure of winning and not to be sad and lazy.

* Give your child an opportunity to think longer.

* Give your child a chance to take back a move if it changed its mind.

* Don't let your child win at any cost, just give him a chance. Your child needs to learn that it should deserve to win.

Know that you will not go wrong if you teach your child to play chess, because it is an art, skill and sport.

25 November 2012

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