Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chess in curriculum helps school hone kids’ abilities

Artwork by Mike Magnan

Chess in curriculum helps school hone kids’ abilities
Published: Thursday, Apr 28, 2011, 9:26 IST
By Team DNA | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Yes! Chess, the addictive board game, forms a part of the curriculum at the Green Wood High School, Bangalore. Being the first in the city to take this step, the school authorities believe that chess practised from a young age as a sport or a favourite pastime cultivates good habits among students. It not only helps them gain expertise in the game, but also guides them for a better, brighter, and quality life.

“Chess has been a part of our school curriculum for seven years. Since chess is an indoor game and does not require much equipment, it is easy to incorporate it into the curriculum. It helps students immensely,” said Niru Agarwal, director of the school.

Learning chess is compulsory for students of nursery to Class VII, while students of Class VIII to X can learn it by choice. Highly-qualified chess tutors, who are a part of the teaching staff, teach chess at the school. It is taught like any other subject, with 3-4 classes a week for all grades.

“Chess improves a child’s logical reasoning, patience, concentration power and mathematical ability. It also induces competitive spirit as students try to outplay one another, and enhances their decision-making ability,” Agarwal said, when asked how the game contributes in improving children’s cognitive skills.

“Our students have won many prizes at inter-school and state-level championships. This has boosted their confidence and the students are responding brilliantly to this initiative. Parents are also very happy,” she added.

“Children have the unique ability of learning things quickly and grasping them. Once a child is taught the basics of chess and encouraged to play, they develop an interest for the game and will only better themselves. In their pursuit to learn more about the intricacies of the game, they would be anxious to read more about the grandmasters, the different types of games, tactics and strategies and in the process, they cultivate the habit of reading,” said Santosh Desai, of Green Wood High School.

K Somnath, a national chess arbiter and tutor at the school said, “The teaching methodology differs from grade to grade. Nursery students are introduced to the basic concepts of chessboard and chessmen, while the high school students are judged on their playing ability. Playing chess naturally compliments academics as it sharpens students’ concentration and improves their IQ.”
Speaking about the students response, he said, “The kids are enjoying the programme very much, and they look forward to all the classes.”

The game of chess is part of compulsory school curriculum in countries like Russia. In India, Gujarat has incorporated chess into the state school curriculum. Chess, with each passing day is gaining more prominence as a sport globally. Moreover, the trend of incorporating it into school curriculum is expected to catch on in the coming days.

Source: DNA India

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