Friday, December 31, 2010

The Chess Dad at Tarrasch

A few days ago, over at the Tarrasch Knight Chess Club, I was speaking to a fellow chess dad. He was with his three young boys, one of which was a grade school chess champion. According to him, during his own boyhood, his father prevented him to play chess for some reason. But, when he became a dad himself, he encouraged and supported his boys to play the game. It's different now that's his turn! He testified about the value of chess in the development of character and balance in his boys.

Monday, December 27, 2010

On Being A Chess Dad

I had a surprise this weekend! Less than a month ago, I taught my 8-year-old daughter, Angel, the fundamentals of the game of chess. Yesterday, she participated in a prestigious kiddies' level chess tournament sponsored by giant National Bookstore/Bestsellers. She won a chess medal! Of course, I became a smiling, proud chess dad! ... In Russia, USA, and many other parts of the world, chess is used as a specialist subject in schools and communities among youth and children. I'm glad the Philippines, which has its share of international chess masters, is fast catching up. Cheers!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dr. A. Subida, Certified Chess Arbiter of National Chess Academy & Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence

Dr. Angelo Subida, along with four others, were graduated as new CERTIFIED CHESS ARBITERS by the National Chess Academy and the Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence (Home of Filipino Grandmasters run by Grandmaster Jayzon Gonzalez) last December 2010 in Quezon City. Instructors were FIDE International Arbiter Gene Poliarco, FIDE International Arbiter and National Master Elias Lao Jr., and Boyet Tacorda, director of the National Association of Philippine Chess Arbiters.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Chess, This Side of Heaven - by chessmaster Jerry Evans

1) History

Chess is a classic game of strategy, invented more than 1500 years ago in India. Legend has it that the ruler
of India asked his wise men to devise a way to teach the children of the royal family to become better
thinkers and better generals on the battlefield. Chess was the result. In the centuries since its invention,
chess has spread to every country in the world. While countless other games have died out, chess lives on.
In the United States, it has received endorsements by many educators, ranging from Benjamin Franklin to
former U.S. Secretary of Education, Terrell Bell. In Western Pennsylvania, more than 70 schools and a
dozen libraries offer chess programs, reaching several thousand students each year.

2) Academic Benefits

We have brought chess to the schools because we believe it directly contributes to academic performance.
Chess makes kids smarter. It does so by teaching the following skills:
Focusing - Children are taught the benefits of obsserving carefully and concentrating. If they don't watch
what is happening, they can't respond to it, no matter how smart they are.
Visualizing - Children are prompted to imagine a sequuence of actions before it happens. We actually
strengthen the ability to visualize by training them to shift the pieces in their mind, first one, then several
moves ahead.
Thinking Ahead - Children are taught to think first, then act. We teach them to ask themselves "If I do this,
what might happen then, and how can I respond?" Over time, chess helps develop patience and
Weighing Options - Children are taught that they don't have to do the first thing that pops into their mind.
They learn to identify alternatives and consider the pros and cons of various actions.
Analyzing Concretely - Children learn to evaluate the results of specific actions and sequences. Does this
sequence help me or hurt me? Decisions are better when guided by logic, rather than impulse.
Thinking Abstractly - Children are taught to step back periodically from details and consider the bigger
picture. They also learn to take patterns used in one context and apply them to different, but related
Planning - Children are taught to develop longer rrange goals and take steps toward bringing them about.
They are also taught of the need to reevaluate their plans as new developments change the situation.
Juggling Multiple Considerations Simultaneously -Children are encouraged not to become overly absorbed
in any one consideration, but to try to weigh various factors all at once.
None of these skills are specific to chess, but they are all part of the game. The beauty of chess as a
teaching tool is that it stimulates children's minds and helps them to build these skills while enjoying
themselves. As a result, children become more critical thinkers, better problem solvers, and more
independent decision makers.

3) Educational Research

These conclusions have been backed up by educational research. Studies have been done in various
locations around the United States and Canada, showing that chess results in increased scores on
standardized tests for both reading and math. A study on a large scale chess program in New York City,
which involved more than 100 schools and 3,000 children, showed higher classroom grades in both English
and Math for children involved in chess. Studies in Houston, Texas and Bradford, Pennsylvania showed
chess leads to higher scores on the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal and the Torrance Tests of
Creative Thinking.

4) Social Benefits

In the schools, chess often serves as a bridge, bringing together children of different ages, races and
genders in an activity they can all enjoy. Chess helps build individual friendships and also school spirit
when children compete together as teams against other schools. Chess also teaches children about
sportsmanship - how to win graciously and not give up when encountering defeat. For children with
adjustment issues, there are many examples where chess has led to increased motivation, improved
behavior, better self-image, and even improved attendance. Chess provides a positive social outlet, a
wholesome recreational activity that can be easily learned and enjoyed at any age.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chess Research

The following are excellent CHESS RESEARCH articles. You may request a copy of any or all of them through this site. Simply email:

#1 - "Chess in Education Research Summary" by Robert Ferguson (1995). A 14-page summary of key chess research.

#2 - "Chess Improves Academic Performance" summary of NY School Chess Program. 1 page.

#3 - "The Importance of Chess in the Classroom"- Atlantic Chess News-1990 (Michael D. Wojcio) Wojcio teaches chess to slow learners in 5 NJ schools and this describes his program and the benefits. 3 pages.

#4 - "Chess and Education" (John Artise) After 2 years of psychological research in chess, Artise found cognitive improvements in memory, logic, observation and analysis, and operant conditioning. 3 pages.

#5 - "The Effect of Chess on Reading Scores" by Stuart Margulies, Ph. D. 13 pages.

#6 - "Teaching the Fourth R (Reasoning) Through Chess." (Robert Ferguson) A 1979 project teaching the gifted (grade 7-9) in Bradford Pa. Statistical "proof" that chess increases thinking scores. Also, includes description of teaching program. 4 pages.

#7 - "Chess Legislation" by Roz Katz. New Jersey did it, you can too. 14 pages.

#8 - "Chess Makes Kids Smart" (Anne Graham-PARENTS-Dec 1985) Urges parents to introduce their kids to chess and quotes work of Pete Shaw, Jeff Chesin, Bob Cotter, etc. Good to show to administrators. 3 pages.

#9 - "A Guide to Scholastic Chess" (Dewain R. Barber and USCF) A guide to starting a chess club. Very practical. 33 pages.

#10 - "Chess Makes Kids Smarter" (Dr. Gerard J. Dullea) 1 page.

#11 - "Chess as a Way to Teach Thinking" (Diane Horgan) 4 pages.

Supplementary Articles

#12 - "Chess and Standard Test Scores" (James M. Liptrap) Purpose of this study is to document the effect of particpation in a chess club upon the standardized test scores of elementary school students. 2 pages.

#13 - "Craig Hill School Lesson Plans" (Herman Bernhardt) Interesting. 8 pages.

#14 - "Chess as a Classroom Tool" (Lev Alburt) Handout. 2 pages.

#14a - "Chess Textbook to Aid a Teacher" (Lev Alburt) Handout. 2 pages.

#15 - "Can Chess Improve Thinking, Social and Organizational Skill in Learning Disabled Students? (Carol Ruderman). Chronicles work with bright high school students with adjustment problems, and also learning disabled kids 9-14. Social and emotional progress was demonstrated. 4 pages.

#16 - "The Social Pedagogical Significance of Chess" (B. Gashunski) After a general introduction he concentrates on academic successes of some Russian programs. 8 pages.

#17 - "Checkmates" (Susan Elan-Fairfield County Advocate, March 20, 1989) Deals largely with Mr. Jovanovic and the Dalton kids but also deals with the growing popularity of chess with young kids. 4 pgs.

#18 - "Chess a Subject Taught at School" (Isaac Linder-SPUTNIK-June 1990) Chess is on the curricula in nearly 30 countries. Brief survey. 2 pages.

#19 - "The World of Youth Hobbies: Chess" (NV Krogius and B.S. Gershunksi.) A translation of a 1987 Soviet Pedagogics Magazine article dealing with specific skills chess develops that are used elsewhere (selectiveness, discipline, objectivity). 9 pages.

#20 - "From Street Kids to Royal Knights" (Jo Coudert-Readers Digest- June 1988) The work of Bill Hall in an East Harlem ghetto, and their trip to Russia. 6 pages.

#21 - "Washington State Bill" (1985) To establish a mental sports competition and research commission. Key section vetoed. 11 pages.

#22 - "Chess and Cognitive Development" (Joan Christiaen - translated for MACA) A 65 page study loaded with statistics and bibliography on the benefits of chess to cognitive development in Belgian children. (Piaget tests used)

#23 - "Commission for Chess in School" comments from an international meeting. 4 pages.

#24 - "Chess and Education" (Russell Potter) A Bibliography of 11 pages. Useful.

#25 - "School Chess Handbook" (RV Mahon-Chess Federation of Canada). Very useful on basics such as what you need to know to start a club. 22 pages.

#26 - "Children and Peace: Report by FIDE to UN" (Naciso Rabell Mendez). Emotional speech but contains summary of research. 6 pages.

#27 - "Race for the Mind" (Bill North) Appeal for a course in chess analysis in the schools by the chairman of the Santa Clara Chess League. 5 pages.

#28 - "Chess Expertise in Children" (D. Horgan & D. Morgan) 33 pages.

#29 - "Chess and the Humanities" Papers at conference in Lincoln, Neb., May 1978. 3 pages.

#29a - "Chess Contributions to the Understanding of Human Cognition" (Sara E. Goldin-Carnegie-Mellon Univ.) 7 pages including bibliography.

#29b - "Chess as Education: Character Assassination or Life of the Mind" (Tim Redman) The first 2 pages are charming but seem to knock chess; the rest is solid on benefits, particularly on Frank's Zaire study. 6 pgs.

#29c - "Global Community: The Phenomenon of Postal Chess" (Helen Warren) Covers history, mechanics, and the character of players and how they benefit from postal chess. 9 pages.

#29d - "Chess and the Transformations of American Values" (Troy L Armstrong) This study indicates that changing American attitudes toward leisure will bring chess into more prominence. 6 pages.

#29e - "Some Demographic Aspects of Chess" (Arpad Elo) A brief history of chess and a statistical study of which countries currently have heavy participation. 13 pages.

#29f - "Chess and the Federal Government" (Bernard Hagerty) Suggestions for getting money from the NEH and the NEA. 6 pages.

#29g - "Chess and the Search for Freedom" (David Stevenson) Urges Tal as a role model. Seems to say little. 6 pages.

#29h - "The Social Functions of Chess in Yugoslavia and in America-A Comparative View" (Michael Spangler) In Yugoslavia, chess is much more closely integrated into society, physical conditioning is more stressed, and the chessplayer's disposable income is twice as great. 10 pages.

#29i - "Chess is for Heavies: Images of Chess in Detective Fiction"(Frank Blaha & Marge Cathcart). 10 pgs.

#30 - "Using Chess to Promote Self-Esteem in Perceptually Impaired Students." (William Levy -Hopatcong Schools for NJ Dept. of Education) 93 pages of tests and worksheets in a detailed program. (teachers guide)

#31 - "Chess in the Classroom, an Answer to NIE" (prepared for MACA) A massive document of 57 pages containing a challenge to NIE claims of the non-transferability of chess skills by Adrian de Groot, a critique of another study by Harry Lyman, The Philosophy of Karl Popper as annotated and illustrated on the chess board, and 2 key experiments- the Christiaen one mentioned above and A. Frank's experiment in Zaire in 1973-74.

#32 - "Chess and Aptitudes" (Albert Frank) Part 1 item F of "Chess in the Classroom, an Answer to NIE" 89 pages.

#33 - "The Effect of Learning to Play Chess on Cognitive, Perceptual and Emotional Development in Children"(Steven Fried & Norman Ginsburg) The effect of chess training on 3rd and 4th grade children in the 3 areas mentioned in a middle class Brooklyn elementary school. 18 pages.

#34 - "Chess Gives Hope for Our Youth." (The Saratogian in Saratoga Springs) 1 page.

#35 - "Educators Using Chess as a Tool of Development" (David Kibbs) 1 page.

#36 - "Intelligence and Chess" (Rafael Tudela) 2 pages.

#37 - "How to Develop Experts" (Diane Horgan) 1 page.

#38 - "Competition, Calibration, and Motivation" (Dianne Horgan) 7 pages.

#39 - "This Game Might Make You Smart" (Dianne Horgan) 3 pages.

#40 - "Chairman of the Boards" (Dan Sorenson) Youngsters from Tucson, Ariz. achieve success. 2 pages.

Thursday, December 16, 2010