Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chess in Education Part I

The game of chess has long been associated with intelligence and mental development; some of the greatest minds that the human race has ever known have played chess for the challenge and enjoyment of matching their wits against a similarly gifted opponent. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica (Chess, 1993) the game of chess originated in either India or China around the 6th century A.D. and then migrated westward toward Persia and Arabia, finally reaching Europe by way of the Muslims and Byzantines. Chess master Jerry Meyers in the article Why Offer Chess in Schools? (2005) further amplifies this history; he reports:

"Chess is a classic game of strategy, invented more than 1500 years ago in India. Legend has it that the ruler of India asked his wise men to devise a way to teach the children of the royal family to become better thinkers…chess was the result." (History section, para. 1)

Indeed, Benjamin Franklin embraced chess as an educational tool for schools in the United States, and this support continues to the present by many in the teaching profession (Meyers, 2005). This paper intends to examine how the classical game of chess assists in mental development and how that is beneficial to students and educators. Additionally, and of equal importance, this paper will analyze how chess maintains cognitive ability and will argue that the game is effective in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, this report will deal the following issues:

  1. Chess
  2. Chess and mental development
  3. Chess in education
  4. Chess maintains cognitive ability

Friday, December 14, 2007

Chess in Education: Beyond Mental Development


This paper deals with the subject of chess in education, and its value beyond mental development; it gives a general history of the association of chess to intelligence and includes the origins of the game. This report outlines chess as an educational tool for schools in the United States that has the endorsement of many prominent educators, including Benjamin Franklin. A brief description of the game is given. The chess in education research summary by Dr. Robert Ferguson Jr., Chess in Education: "A wise Move" Conference (1995) provided research study information linking chess to cognitive development and an increase in mental abilities. Studies have proved that chess has a positive influence in education from both the student and educators perspective, and that the mental stimulus provided by playing chess reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In conclusion, chess education needs to be part of every school curriculum, especially at the elementary levels, where its benefits will have the greatest impact on thinking abilities of children.

Monday, December 3, 2007

My Playchess Rating...Revisited

I have done this before, I gave everyone a wee peek at my rating on the Playchess server. This time it was G10. As I stated before, I tried to keep my opponents Elo within 100 points of my official USCF rating of 1294. Today, I went all out and challenged a 1784 rated player in a rated game. It seems I always have the black pieces against the higher rated; nevertheless, I won. He seemed quite upset, as he never gave me applause nor did he offer a rematch.

Doing the problems in PCT has given me the confidence to play progressively higher rated opponents. I still make loads of mistakes, but I notice that my opponents due too. This processes has increased my vision at the board and has this has lead to an increase in creativity in my play. Hopefully, I will be able to post the game from today and get feedback.