Chess in school: Government says board game will help pupils’ IQ

Chess in school: Government says board game will help pupils’ IQ

Photolure

GM Levon Aronian playing a simultaneous chess game at the Academy of Chess (June 2010)

Citing the need to help children develop their intellectual capacity, the Armenian government on Thursday decided that chess should to be taught as a separate subject at elementary school level across the country.


In accordance with the decision, a total of about 177 million drams (about $470,000) is allocated to the Chess Academy to organize the teaching of chess at elementary school level, as well as print corresponding textbooks and manuals, purchase chess equipment and train skilled personnel for chess teaching jobs. Another 386,100 drams (a little more than $1,000) is allocated to the Ministry of Education and Science for the purchase of chess tables and chairs.

“Already this year Armenia will join the countries where chess is taught in schools,” Education and Science Minister Armen Ashotyan said at the government meeting, stressing that introducing chess in elementary school curricula is a key step in the series of changes aimed at raising the quality of education in Armenia.

Armenia is considered to be one of the world’s chess powerhouses and is currently ranked fourth among some 140 nations listed by the game’s international governing body FIDE. The game enjoys tremendous popularity in the country whose men’s team twice became Olympic champions in the past decade (in 2006 and 2008). Armenian male and female grandmasters successfully compete in various international tournaments, regularly winning titles and top prizes.