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).”

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Restore Academy Chess Tournament Pics Wednesday, Sep 16 2009 

At each of our chess programs we hold tournaments toget the students excited about the game and show off their chess talents.  So far we’ve been holding looong double elimination tournaments which become big events at the schools.

Below are pictures from the first official CEA tournament at the Restore Academy in Northern Uganda.

Siobhan and Paul Facilitating the Restore Ac Chess Tourn

Siobhan and Paul Facilitating the Restore Ac Chess Tourn

Above Paul Chiariello, chess tutor for the CEA, and Siobhan Riordan, director of media resources for the CEA (she’s taken most of these photos), are watching and organizing games for the Restore Academy’s first chess tournament.  Only weeks ago these students didn’t know what chess was.  Now they’re planning several moves ahead and securing checkmates left and right.

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Me and the 4 Winners of the Restore Academy's Chess Tourn

Me and the 4 Winners of the Restore Academy's Chess Tourn w/ Trophies

Above are the first, second, third and fourth place winners of the all day saturday and sunday affair.  These students came out through the thick and thin of it, neck and neck, each losing at least one game before it came down to the finals.  The Principal of the Restore Academy and Restore International, the non-profit which founded the school, promised to continue to hold tournaments seeing how much of a success they were.  Though currently we dont have the funds, in the future the CEA plans to offer small academic scholarships to tournament winners.

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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

CEA Recent Progress Saturday, Aug 22 2009 

Hello everyone,

Recently we just finished opening a bank account. Last week we finished all of the incorporating and tax registration with the state of New Jersey. You can also check us out on facebook. There is now a Causes page where you can show your support for Chess for Education Abroad. Please join!

We are still working on getting a website. hopefully we will have something up soon.

Also, I am soon leaving for the island of Borneo on the Indonesia side on my Fulbright grant and will be establishing another few chess programs with the CEA. I leave Friday the 28th.

If you have any questions about the CEA or would like to help, either by volunteering your time or creating a partnership with chess clubs in the states, please leave a comment.

Thank you,

Paul Chiariello

What Chess for Education Abroad, Inc. is All About Tuesday, Aug 11 2009 

Hello everyone, some people reading this may have read part of the other, general blog where i wrote while in Uganda and Kenya this past summer where discussed the CEA and the projects I was working on there.  Now that the CEA has taken off so well i decided to devote a blog to follow its progress and programs.

The idea for Chess for Education Abroad, Inc.  (CEA) came after realizing how well a few little ideas fit together that could continue to build on the success of the chess club I started at the Restore Academy in Gulu, Northern Uganda.

The basic idea for the CEA is that we make connections between chess clubs and other organizations in the US and develop and nuture chess clubs abroad in rural and disadvantaged schools in developing economies.

US chess clubs will partner with overseas schools to provide chess supplies, hirer tutors and give small scholarships for tournaments. Each of these are relatively small sums. Chess supplies will cost less than $30 (though more with books) and maybe that again to ship them overseas (for now we have volunteer contacts to bring supplies to most locations). In schools where we could not find volunteers, tutors would only cost 10-20 dollars a month.  Lastly, scholarships would not only help with student fees to (which for many children in the areas where we work are hard often to meet) but also encourage the clubs and tournaments.   Prizes would  be small by US standards but would cover 20/15/10% of tuition for 1st/2nd/3rd places, relatively.

We envision chess clubs holding tournaments with a portion of the entry fee going to the CEA clubs overseas.  Our goal is to help both the supporting US club members expanding their global perspective as well as develop quality chess clubs in areas where rote memorization and resourceless classes are what “education” means.  Currently interactive communication between clubs in the US and clubs overseas will be limited because of limited web access in these overseas rural areas.  We expect this to start to change soon as the internet access expands.

All of the CEA staff is made of volunteers who donate themselves to the organization and its programs.  We will be partnering with educational organizations abroad to continue to expand our contacts. Already, organizations like the Global Literacy Project and Invisible Children, though informally, have expressed a strong interest and work closely with several dozen schools in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.

I have already set up the second and third pilot programs in Kakemer and Malaba in Western Kenya at the Kakemer Resource Center and the Isegeretoto Primary School. The 1st pilot program in Uganda was at a secondary school, while both of these programs involve only or a mix of primary students.  So far each of the programs have been beyond expectation successes.

I am also planning on setting up 3-5 more pilot programs in Indonesia on my Fulbright grant starting in August.  And I would like to introduce XianQi, or Chinese Chess, to one school while in Indonesia as well.

After the CEA is settled, i.e. all pilot programs are running well, we have a stable support base in the US from partnering clubs, all incorporation documents have been finalized and we have worked out a set curriculum, the non-profit will start setting up chess programs vicariously. Hopefully this goal will be achieved around a year from this post in 2010.

* *  If you would like to help and know of a possible chess club in the states that may be willing to hold such tournaments, please leave a comment with details. * **

Thank you for reading,

Paul Chiariello