Chess could change education - Kasparov

2012-08-30 17:17

Johannesburg - South Africa's educational system could be more successful if it invested in teaching pupils to play chess, Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov said in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"Chess is a great educational tool... it helps kids to build universal skills, it is [about] mental discipline, it is logic and it is emotional control. When it is [taught] in school, it boosts attendance because it is fun," he said at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit.

"I saw the effects that chess had on every level of society, whether you do it in slums or in the most prestigious schools."

The game boosted confidence, especially in children from underprivileged families.

He said the world's current educational model could not keep up with modern pupils, who he dubbed "iPad kids".

"iPad kids do not see the teacher as the sole force of authority in the [class] room. Real time interaction [like chess] stimulates the mind and encourages participation."

Analytical tools provided by chess could also be applied to politics.

"When people ask me about how my chess experience helps me design strategy to do battle with my colleagues in Russia, I tell them the difference between chess and politics in [President Vladimir] Putin's Russia, is that in chess we have fixed rules and unpredictable results," Kasparov said.

"In Russia it is exactly the opposite."

He said schools, businesses and politicians needed to take advantage of the opportunities provided by innovative ideas and technology to succeed.

"It's hard to believe that the entire computing power of Nasa in 1969, when Americans landed on the moon, is now the size of one iPhone," Kasparov said.

"We have a choice, with this computing power... we can put a man on the moon and bring him back safely, or we can throw birds at pigs [like in the Angry Birds game]."

  • larry.piggott1 - 2012-08-30 17:38

    Some of our youth could not be thought how to play Darts, let alone Chess?

      gieljam.gomtor - 2012-08-30 19:03

      Some blokes will promote a mouse to a goat for the things that they love hopefully the Government won't take this seriously and let Naledi Pandor create another enigma basic education outcome buckled back door.

      danny.levin.351 - 2012-08-30 19:22

      Larry, you are spot on. Besides, most of the teachers are too stupid (and unqualified) to learn chess themselves in the first place. And off course, the ANC will say that it can only be played if the black figures are given a BEE forced advantage.....

      clint.rusford.3 - 2012-08-30 19:41

      ja larry spot on!! Jus like sum of our youth or elderly cant even b THOUGHT how to spell properly??

  • charles.wolfaardt1 - 2012-08-30 17:38

    I endorse Mr Kasporov. Chess teaches many life skills including discipline , which people need. Plus you meet people from all different backgrounds

  • logical007 - 2012-08-30 17:58

    Haaibo.. Its white vs black... Why must White go first That's racist!!!! I can just see South Africa changing rules of this game to 'A.A chess' to level the playing fields for the black pieces.

      Riffak Traws - 2012-08-30 18:50

      ur comment is the exact opposite of your name

      clint.rusford.3 - 2012-08-30 19:37

      lol typical narow minded comment.. Wel done buddy

      sean.bagley.50 - 2012-08-30 19:59

      Still can't see how FIDE rates this guy higher than Bobby Fischer,Jose Raul Capablanca or Alexander Alekhine and calls him the "greatest chess player of all time".It's a known fact that the best chess players in living memory were terrible in school academically.

      s4turnz - 2012-08-30 20:11

      sean, just because you don't understand something doesn't mean that it makes no sense, it just means you do not have the sufficient faculties to understand. Judging from your comment I can see why you can't understand why Kasparov is rated higher than the other players you mentioned.

  • j1c17u5s - 2012-08-30 18:41

    Be that as it may. But who is going to teach them. They can not even deliver a proper freaken textbook for current subjects.

      Riffak Traws - 2012-08-30 18:49

      unfortunately, the chess pieces will get stolen. Unless the students make their own chess sets in woodwork class, now thats learning.

      alfred.machingambi - 2012-11-24 17:58

      We really have to be innovative to hunt for those people who are capable to teach chess like me.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-30 18:49

    Clued up with a vision, Kasparov might very well be on the mark as to the ability for technology to out teach the teacher. South Korea has been applying this principle for two decades now and from rice farmers they have become the worlds number one technological country, with the most applied sovereign usage of technology in every aspect of their society. Every school going child has a computer in front of them, they do not use black-boards anymore, and have replaced this with touch screen's and with the fastest internet in the world free to it's citizens even homework is done online with special homework teachers. Top grade teaching is tapped into online, all this is less than two decades. And there is no stopping what-so-ever as to how much the government is prepared to do to push for the education of their society. The very process has rocketed productivity to heights never before perceived or planed for as the more successful people become there the more they want to be successful. I don't know if chess could be regarded as such a catalyst though, maybe a spark in the right direction, provided there is enough flint.

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-08-30 20:08

    No. At world championship level and at town club level, the game attracts a disaproportionate number of unpleasant characters, mostly men. I was good at the game, but stopped playing 45 years ago. Bridge is better. Look at the world chess champions: some nice guys - Winawer, Capablanca, Reti, Euwe, Spassky. The nasties: Morphy, Tarrasch, Lasker, Alekhine, Fisher. One on one games are generally socially destructive

  • clint.rusford.3 - 2012-08-30 21:12

    i agree with the great grandmaster.. Chess can help stimulate and excercise school kids brains in such a way which in turn could help them prosper in their school work and in general analytical task and duties life throws their way.. Period.

  • alfred.machingambi - 2012-11-18 16:49

    l am an educator in Gauteng also an abiter/coach/trainer. l absolutely agree with the fore mentioned benefits of chess as a life skill art/science/Math

  • alfred.machingambi - 2012-11-18 16:50

    its absolutely true. l do concur with all the above mentioned benefits of chess. As an abiter/Ccoach/trainer in GAUTENG l absolutely agree with this article.

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