Updates on the Chess Programs in Bontang, Borneo Wednesday, Jan 6 2010 

Hello everyone,

It has been too long since I have had a chance to write.  Life is busy here and I was traveling during the relatively long Christmas/New Years break.

The chess club here at SMA YPK will be starting again next week with different days for the new semester.  A Facebook group has been started to for the club to better manage all of the students.  I invited about 25 of the students whose names I had and who I was friends with.  Since then over 80 people have joined!!  Though I wish I could, I don’t think I can handle that many at all, lol.

Also, I was able to start with one of the teachers at SMA 2, also here in Bontang, another chess club.  The club is going beautifully so far and in the first two days about 15+ students came.  It was roughly split between both guys and girls which is great too.

I will try to get more updates and pictures later.

Thank you,

Paul Chiariello

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Growth at the Kakemer Resource Center Saturday, Dec 12 2009 

Below is an email I received that I was told I could share from the director of the Kakemer Resource Center in Kakemer, Western Kenya. For more picture an information of the KRC chess program you can read below.

All the secondary school kids love coming and playing, we are now going to start a play off between the club members so we can build a first and second team to compete against schools in the area. Thanks for your encouragement – enjoy the photos!

Diana, Supervisor at the Resource Centre, ensuring all players are enjoying the competition and keeping the score.

the two finalists in the playoffs

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First, second and third place (L to R) Collins, Edwin and Hellon. A young girl took 4th position (not photographed).

The winner of the tournament, Collins, is not from Kakemer, he came from Nairobi as he could not find work, and lives about 30 minutes from Kakemer but likes to come and play. He is by far the strongest player as he has been playing for 6 years. Whilst Erwin is a teacher at the Kakemer secondary school and Hellon is one of the teachers at the Resource Centre, and they came second and third respectively – but the students did not mind getting beaten by them – in fact it encouraged them to improve.

Cheers,
Colette

Chess Clubs Ups and Downs Wednesday, Dec 9 2009 

It has been more than a month since I have been able to write an update, sorry…

The Chess club in SMA YPK in Bontang is going slowly, but is hopeful. In the week after my last email 50 students signed up for the chess club. Unfortunately as we started the first week of the club there was a lack of communication about times and i had to again announce the club in each of my classes. Only 2-6 students on average came. Compounding on this, after another week exams started and the semester ended. Classes, and with them the chess club, will not start again until Jan 4th.

In order to organize everything better I plan on making a chess club Facebook page to send emails, reminders, updates, etc to everyone who signed up. With better communication and the next exams no where to be seen there should be more kids coming than I can handle.

Also, while my school is having their vacation another high school in Bontang, SMA 2, isn’t. With two of the teachers I know there, Emma Sutton, another Fulbright English Teacher who was assigned to my town (or I to hers), and Edi Ruswanto, I will be starting up another chess club.

We will have our first chess club meeting there this coming Monday the 14th.

Thanks for reading,
Paul Chiariello

Chess Club Beginnings at SMA YPK in Borneo Tuesday, Nov 3 2009 

Starting up the chess club at SMA YPK in Bontang, Indonesia has been slow. I’m working here as an English teacher and also facilitating the English Club as well.

The pictures below of some of my students playing Western chess and XiangQi are from my house, just some students coming over to play.

After the 3 days of signup for the Chess (or ‘Catur’ in Indonesian) Club only 2 people came. After this depressing result I decided to postpone the club officially and announce it in my classes.

Since then I’ve announced it in almost all of my classes and in a few of the classes in the other two grades as well (high school in my school only has three years, 10th – 12th). 20 more people have signed up already. At this rate I’ll hopefully have a lot more students than I can handle.

Wish me luck,
Paul Chiariello

Arrival in Bontang, Borneo and Other Chess Sites Thursday, Oct 1 2009 

This past Saturday two other Chess for Education Abroad volunteers and myself set off for their sites throughout Indonesia.  We will be starting several chess clubs in east Kalimantan (Borneo), South Kalimantan, and West Java.  I will be working in Bontang, East Kalimantan setting up several Western Chess clubs as well as the CEA’s first pilot XiangQi, or Chinese Chess, clubs.

More updates will follow about our progress in the coming weeks.  And, hopefully, the other CEA volunteers will be able to post updates on their own progress as well.

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Thank you and Terimah Kasih

Paul Chiariello

New Chess Partnership in Indonesia Friday, Sep 25 2009 

Chess for Education Abroad and Chess for Life in Bandung, Indonesia are officially partnering to help promote and establish both Western and Chinese Chess in Indonesia.

Chess for Life (from a few articles ago) is a for profit chess school that tutors chess students in Java, Indonesia to become chess masters.  C4L is a new organisation founded earlier this year in Bandung, Java.  But they are already making plans to expand to other cities in Java and then throughout Indonesia.

C4L’s for profit chess school will work perfectly in tandem with the CEAs non-profit mission.  The CEA hopes to work with C4L in their partnership to identify and establish chess clubs in schools in rural and developing communities in the area with C4L tutors.  In return the CEA is helping establish Chinese chess, or XiangQi, and, one day, Japanese Chess, or Shogi.

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Chess philosophy at Chess for Life Indonesia

Chess philosophy at Chess for Life Indonesia

Above – Peter Mallozzi and Paul Chiariello, CEA volunteers, are learning a little chess philosophy from one of Chess for Life’s nationally recognized chess instructors.  Needless to say, he beat both of us in games.

"Friendly" Chess Matches at C4L

"Friendly" Chess Matches at C4L

Of course I (on the right in green) got beaten pretty quickly.  However, Peter (on the left in blue) had a 2 hour neck and neck game with another tutor at Chess for Life.  In the end: America 1, Indonesia 1.  Hopefully we’ll have a rematch one day.

Posing in front of Chess for Life

Posing in front of Chess for Life

Paul Chiariello (far left) and Peter Mallozzi (far right) are both CEA volunteers, helping set up chess clubs in schools in Kalimantan (Borneo) and Java, respectively.  Marulitua Manalu (center) is a tutor for Chess for Life and is deeply passionate about both chess and its ability to improve the lives and minds of students.  I have a feeling it will be a very productive partnership!

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Thanks you,

Paul Chiariello

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Compiled Research: Chess and Education Sunday, Sep 20 2009 

The pieces presented in this post were taken from Dr. Robert Ferguson’s compilation “Chess in Education Research Summary.”

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“John Artise in Chess and Education states: “Visual stimuli tend to improve memory more than any other stimuli; . . . chess is definitely an excellent memory exerciser the effects of which are transferable to other subjects where memory is necessary.” The following studies offer some hard evidence to support the claims of Artise and others.

The Zaire study, Chess and Aptitudes, lead by Dr. Albert Frank at the Uni Protestant School (now Lisanga School) in Kisangani, Zaire, was conducted during the 1973-74 school year.

Frank wanted to find out whether the ability to learn chess is a function of a) spatial aptitude, b) perceptive speed, c) reasoning, d) creativity, or e) general intelligence. Secondly, Frank wondered whether learning chess can influence the development of abilities in one or more of the above five types. To what extent does chess playing contribute to the development of certain abilities? If it can be proven that it does, then the introduction of chess into the programs of secondary schools would be recommended.

The first hypothesis was confirmed. There was a significant correlation between the ability to play chess well, and spatial, numerical, administrative-directional, and paper work abilities. Other correlations obtained were all positive, but only the above were significantly so. This finding tends to show that ability in chess is not due to the presence in an individual of only one or two abilities but that a large number of aptitudes all work together in chess. Chess utilizes all the abilities of an individual.

The second hypothesis was confirmed for two aptitudes. It was found that learning chess had a positive influence on the development of both numerical and verbal aptitudes.

he Venezuela experiment, Learning to Think Project, tested whether chess can be used to develop intelligence of children as measured by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.

Both males and females showed an increase of intelligence quotient (IQ) after less than a year of studying chess in the systematic way adopted. Most students showed a significant gain after a minimum of 4.5 months. The general conclusion is that chess methodologically taught is an incentive system sufficient to accelerate the increase of IQ in elementary age children of both sexes at all socio-economic levels. It appears that this study also includes very interesting results regarding transfer of chess thinking to other areas of study. (FIDE Report, 1984, p. 74)

B.F. Skinner, an influential contemporary psychologist, wrote: “There is no doubt that this project in its total form will be considered as one of the greatest social experiments of this century” (Tudela, 1987). Because of the success of the study, the chess program was greatly expanded. Starting with the 1988-89 school year, chess lessons were conducted in all of Venezuela’s schools (Linder, 1990, p. 165). Chess is now part of the curricula at thousands of schools in nearly 30 countries around the world (Linder, p. 164).

Dianne Horgan has conducted several studies using chess as the independent variable. In “Chess as a Way to Teach Thinking,” Horgan (1987) used a sample of 24 elementary children (grades 1 through 6) and 35 junior high and high school students. Grade and skill rating were correlated (r=.48). She found elementary players were among the top ranked players and concluded that children could perform a highly complex cognitive task as well as most adults.

Horgan found that while adults progress to expertise from a focus on details to a more global focus, children seem to begin with a more global, intuitive emphasis. She deduced: “This may be a more efficient route to expertise as evidenced by the ability of preformal operational children to learn chess well enough to compete successfully with adults” (Horgan, p. 10). She notes that young children can be taught to think clearly and that learning these skills early in life can greatly benefit later intellectual development. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Terrell Bell agrees. In his book Your Child’s Intellect, Bell encourages some knowledge of chess as a way to develop a preschooler’s intellect and academic readiness (Bell, 1982, pp. 178-179).”

New Chess Oppurtunities in Indonesia Saturday, Sep 12 2009 

Currently I am in Bandung in Java learning Bahasa before I go out to Kalimantan (Borneo).

I was not planning on starting to work on CEA stuff before I got to my site, but while i was driving down the street earlier this week I saw a sign for “Chess for Life.”  More than intrigued, I copied down the number and later met with some of the tutors there find out about their program and tell them about Chess for Education abroad.

After meeting with two of the teachers there, Jimmy and Marulitua, and losing a game of chess was told that C4L is a for-proft chess club and gives private lessons to kids in the area.  There goal is to teach life skils through the game of chess.  They just recently opened this past year and are already doing so well they hope to expand to other cities in Java.

There are a lot of possibilitiesof partnering for both sides.  The CEA may be able to provide small scholarships and introduce othe chess variants while C4L would be able to provide tutors and help manage CEA programs.

The future is a fruitful place and i’ll be back at the C4L office next week to see what it holds.

Thank you,

Paul Chiariello

A Few Pics from our Programs in Uganda and Kenya Sunday, Sep 6 2009 

Last summer we set up three pilot programs in Gulu, Northern Uganda in an area recently torn apart by a 20 year civil war  and Malaba and Kakemer, Western Kenya which is the lowest scoring educational disctrict in the country.  Currently we are setting up more programs in Borneo, Indonesia and elsewhere on the archipeligo.

Playing a few games at the Restore Academy in Gulu, Uganda

Playing a few games at the Restore Academy in Gulu, Uganda

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To the left – you can see myself (the only mzungu in the picture) and a bunch of the other kids at the Restore Academy.   This was our first pilot program.  For details about all three of these programs you can check out my personal blog: paulchiari.wordpress.com.

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Teacher and students getting into the game at Isegeretoto Primary in Kenya

Teacher and students getting into the game at Isegeretoto Primary in Kenya

To the left – the kids at Isegeretoto Primary school in Malaba, western kenya learned a lot quicker than their teachers.  It was a beautiful thing to see the pasison and interest that these little kids had for the game.  With very few other intellectually stimulating activities outside of the rote learning of the classroom, these kids couldn’t get enough.
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Two high school girls playing at the Kakemer Resource Center in Kenya

Two high school girls playing at the Kakemer Resource Center in Kenya

At the Kakemer Resource Center in rural           western Kenya I was finally able to get the girls as interested in     Chess as the guys.  With the first two programs there seemed to be the notion that chess was a guys game and a lot of the girls stepped aside (though in both places there were a few female stars).  However, at the KRC the girls were just as aggressive and interested.  A lot were even better than most of the guys.  It was a beautiful thing.

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Thanks,

Paul Chiariello