Armenia Makes Chess A Mandatory Subject in School

Chess is very popular in Armenia. In a move to become globally known for prowess in the game, the government of Armenia has made the study of it mandatory for school children:

The authorities led by President Serzh Sarkisian, an enthusiastic supporter of the game, have committed around $1.43 million to the scheme - a large sum in the impoverished but chess-mad country.

Children from the age of six will learn chess as a separate subject on the curriculum for two hours a week.

Aivazian said the lessons, which start later this year, would "foster schoolchildren's intellectual development" and teach them to "think flexibly and wisely".


Do you think that the children will benefit from this time spent studying chess?

Link via reddit | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user Andréia used under Creative Commons license

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Chess blogger Mig covered most of the angles about this here:
www chessninja com/dailydirt/2011/04/chess-in-armenian-schools htm

WordPress won't let me add a link so I'll just quote the most important part:

"This page [*] is a nice summary of studies and research papers on chess in schools and its impact on development and achievement. There's the usual correlation vs causation problem in most of these studies, of course. Societies really don't like doing serious compulsory experiments on kids, for mostly obvious reasons, so it's hard to do rigorous double-blind experiments with the control groups and random selection needed to produce good science. Plus, the people guiding the experiments are often chess people with a strong desire for the results to come out with a positive spin for chess.

None of this is to say that chess can't improve reasoning or reading scores or discipline -- I believe it can -- but it's also hard to say that kids who are motivated enough to stick with a chess program aren't also motivated enough to improve in other ways relative to kids who don't stick with chess. (E.g. most kids who regularly work on music or painting also have better reading scores than kids who don't.) Patience and focus are increasingly shown to be the determining success factors in (American) school environments. Chess both teaches and rewards these characteristics. One of my favorite statistics in recent years is the one that showed the highest correlation between standardized tests at the high school level and college GPA was not the test scores themselves but how long the students took on each question. More time, better future GPA. Work matters."

[* go to original article for link]
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Sounds like you could be talking about Monopoly, with the unsportsmanlike winners and whiny losers. I hated Monopoly with a passion.
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Most people here with negative experiences of chess were forced to take it up. Chess is beautiful. It's a game, but I've found that it helps a lot in the way you think in real life too.
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