Chess in schools for better mental agility
Computers are a part of our lives now, but no matter how good computers can become there are several things that does not benefit children, whereas Chess teaches kids creativity, innovation, and to use their imagination.
Chess is a game of patience, strategy and analytical prowess. In a day and age when the remote control holds complete sway over a generation, games such as chess ensure that one’s mind doesn’t completely go into cathartic mode. A great way of doing this is by introducing chess as part of the curriculum in schools just like Greenwood High has done for its students. Chess as part of the school’s curriculum began on a very small scale in the school’s primary section in Koramangala around 4 years ago.
The immense response it got prompted Greenwood High to introduce the curriculum at the main school soon enough. Today, the school has an entire classroom dedicated to chess where 15 tables can seat 30 students playing the game at one go. Students are divided into batches according to their age group with 8-14 years being in one group and 14-17 years forming the senior group. “We introduced chess in our curriculum because it teaches the children to solve problems, increases their concentration and also helps them recognize patterns and develop tactics. We have a weekly time table charted out for the entire school with each division getting one hour a week dedicated to playing the game. The children’s games are analyzed and graded and included as part of their scholastic evaluation,” Says Manas Mehrotra, Managing Trustee, Greenwood High.
He further adds, “Tests have shown that the ability to concentrate and the attention span improves. While playing chess the kids evaluate various positions and chess variations and have to develop a strategy. They have to react to unforeseen situations on the chess board in a flexible way, because in chess surprise moves occur quite often. They learn to react flexible and to wait patiently for their chance to make a good move or execute a plan. They develop strategic thinking and determination,”
Introducing chess as a part of the curriculum in the school has brought about several benefits for the students. The school has also been All India inter-school champions in chess for the last three years. Manas says, “Mathematics in the earlier days was often done mentally or with pen and paper. The introduction of a calculator has made people even more laid-back. Chess has proven to be an excellent tool for children to improve their mathematical skills. Children who display high levels of aggressiveness on the field undergo a complete transformation when faced with the chess board. In the long run it teaches children to grow into mature adults and handle any given situation with a degree of responsibility and calmness,”