June 09, 2011 3:18

Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe launched

Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe launchedToday, at a press conference in Brussels, Garry Kasparov announced the European branch of the Kasparov Chess Foundation. Operational from September 19, 2011 the foundation attempts to have the European Union include the game of chess in its education system. "It is our ambition to further realize the dream of bringing chess into classrooms far and wide so that everyone may enjoy the benefits the game offers," Kasparov said.

Together with Option CEO Jan Callewaert and supported by the European Chess Union (ECU), Garry Kasparov today announced the creation of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe. From its headquarters in Brussels, the association has the mission to bring the many educational benefits of chess to children and young people – aged between 6 and 18 - throughout schools in Europe, both public and private, by providing a complete chess curriculum and enrichment programs. The foundation will also promote the study of chess as a cognitive learning tool and organize tournaments and competitions for children and young people.

ECU President Silvio Danailov, Garry Kasparov and Jan Callewaert at the photo shoot today in Brussels

"I want as many students as possible to discover the game of chess, so they can enjoy the many benefits that the game has to offer. Chess encourages critical thinking, requires intense concentration and discipline, stimulates creativity, helps to solve problems and generally creates a positive competitive spirit. The chess player also learns to take responsibility for his own decisions," Kasparov said at the press conference this morning in Brussels. "With the creation of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe it is my ambition to further realize the dream of bringing chess into classrooms far and wide so that everyone may enjoy the many benefits the game offers. I’m looking forward to setting up a close collaboration with European institutions to bring chess into schools in the 27 current member states of the European Union." Your Next Move Jan Callewaert, co-founder and member of the board of the foundation, commented: “I’m excited to be part of this new European wide chess initiative. We have come to know Garry very well these past years via the Belgian chess event Your Next Move. When he raised the idea of creating the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe it was a no- brainer to get involved in this project. As chess can bring so many benefits to a great number of people I fully support the foundation’s mission and its activities.” The 13th World Champion and Callewaert already successfully tested their proposal in February with two Commissioners. On September 20th the big test follows, as then the two will defend their views before the European Parliament. "It's an ambitious plan, but by joining forces and the political ties of Jan Callewaert, we will succeed. Chess should not be sport course. It is a valuable tool for bringing education to a higher level," said Kasparov, who is the chairman of the foundation.

Garry Kasparov: ambitious plans for getting chess into European schools

'Teach the Teacher' Specifically, the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe will initially focus on teaching teachers how they can teach chess to youngsters between 6 and 18 years old. In the classroom they can use educational material, supplied by the foundation, which is built around cartoons and fairy tales. The program is rolled out into the school year 2012-2013 in limited numbers. The full launch in the 27 EU countries will follow in 2013. The Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe will be based in the Belgian capital, where a core team has started the preparations for the operational roll-out of the foundation scheduled for mid September 2011. The foundation will live on donations from individuals, businesses and governments. The first 100,000 euros come from Callewaert and five other parties that will be announced the coming weeks. United States The project isn't completely new for Kasparov. In June of 2002, Kasparov Chess Foundation, Inc. was founded in the United States. For the last nine years he has been successfully promoting chess at authorities. 3,500 schools in all 50 states have already subscribed to Kasparov's Teaching Chess Step by Step. Schools and chess teachers that are interested in the activities of the foundation can go to the official website and sign up to receive news updates as the activities of the foundation get under way. The website of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


noone's picture

Cool story bro. I have a better thing. Try meditation 24/7. Monks have been proven to be happier people.

Zomerschaker's picture

It hasn't been proven yet, but I believe monks would be happier if they knew how to handle the poisoned pawn variation of the Najdorf.

noone's picture
Vasili's picture

Chess is over rated.
Math Music Literature
are more enriching.

Ardjan's picture

Excellent initiative by Kasparov, who won't gain financially from it, but some people immediatly feel the need to stress a possible negative side-effect, rather than give the man his deserved praise...
Isn't it clear that chess is way more beneficial for kids in their upbringing, than, say, chatting or a Nintendo? What kind of proof do you need?

Player's picture

his books would not sell better, would they? Similar to Malcolm Pein promoting chess at schools and having a chess shop...

Arne Moll's picture

Actually it is not clear that studying chess improves anything but your chess. In their recent book "The Invisible Gorilla" (2011) on various shortcomings of our intuition (including the illusion from our intuition telling us that stuyding chess is better than playing, say, Nintendo!), psychologists Chabris and Simons say this about the matter:

Practicing games like chess will enhance your ability to do chess-related tasks, but the transfer is relatively limited. Advocates for adding chess to school curricula argue that 'chess makes you smarter', but there is no solid evidence for this claim from large, properly controlled experiments.

They then go on to describe experiments, published in Nature, in which subjects played a lot of video games, leading to improvement of some cognitive tasks:

Green and Bavelier's experiment suggests that video-game training might actually enable people to release some untapped potential for broader skills without having to spend effort practicing those particular skills. (...) Feng, Spence and Pratt of the University of Toronto showed that playing an action video game for ten hours improved the ability to imagine simple shapes rotating as well as the ability to pay attention to objects that subjects were not directly looking at. They also found that women, who are on average somewhat worse than men on these spatial tasks, improved more from the training.

However, in the end they conclude that there's still a lot of research to be done before reaching any final verdicts on this extremely difficult topic.

Personally, I think the best reason for adding chess to a curriculum is simply that it's such a beautiful game - much more beautiful than, say, Medal of Honor or Tetris which were used in the above-mentioned video game experiments.

jussu's picture

Certainly not this kind of proof. Slamming one's head against a wooden wall is clearly more beneficial than slamming one's head against a brick wall. Fortunately, I haven't heared about any attempts to introduce the former into school curricula.

I myself was very sceptical about any benefits of chess. I have never noticed any positive effects of the fact that I play it; the gamemerely eats up a good chunk of my time and energy. But I was a late starter (17 as I recall), and it seems that there is evidence for chess having positive overall effects on children. I was recently kindly directed to this page which has collected some evidence: http://www.quadcitychess.com/benefits_of_chess.html. Many of the references presented there are methodologically rubbish and the collection is certainly biased, but still there remains a sizeable body of evidence for improved learning results among children who have been introduced to chess.

Arne Moll's picture

Indeed many studies seem flawed, e.g. not randomly assigning subjects. But as far as I can see the only thing tested in these experiments was comparing studying chess as opposed to studying *nothing else* in this time. It would be much more interesting to compare studying chess to, say, playing video games or playing monopoly, or to studying Greek or Philosophy. Only then could we begin to say something meaningful about the added value of teaching chess in schools compared to other subjects.

Ardjan's picture

Chess is a positive activity; just ask any parent whether they like to see their kids playing chess with each other or staring at a TV or computer screen - I bet the great majority chooses the first option. Adding chess to the school curriculum (or even draughts or...) would surely enhance this. Apart from the beauty of the game, and independent of the influence it'll have on their cognitive skills, kids love competition and parents are proud when their kids excell in chess. To me that's all the proof I need to endorse Kasparov's new initiative.
@ Player: you're rather optimistic about the expected progress of kids that start to play chess and would (soon) run to the book shop to purchase Kasparov's series on his predecessors! Come on...

Arne Moll's picture

I tend to agree Ardjan although chess can also damage people and even ruin their lives, as I've seen many times in my very own environment...

By the way, it strikes me that the word 'parent' is very prominent in your comments. Perhaps some parents want it more than their kids? At any rate, I'm sure most kids would look rather surprised if their parents started stimulating their playing Grand Theft Auto in schools! :-)

Bert de Bruut's picture

Hey Ardjan, long time no see. Well, I am one parent that has no trouble with his kids prefering online gaming to chess. I actually encouraged them. Why? First, not all games are ugly splashers. Second, for instance Real Time Strategy games not only look good, but like chess take skill to master. So practising these games improve their abilities. Perhaps not their memory and calculating skills, like chess does, but yet cognitive abilities. I would rather get brain surgery by a doctor who has trained his eye-hand coordination and situational awareness by playing RTS-games, then by one who has only pondered positions from turn-based-strategy games like chess. Not to mention how much my oldest learned from joining a guild in WOW. Communicating mainly in writing in the guild channel surely improved his writing abilities in English, I can tell you. That kind of daily exercise is just what my kid (having issues spelling) needs!
Don't get me wrong. I love chess! Especially the esthetical and scientific sides of it. But it doesn't do harm to even the youngest children when they try to improve their dexterity by for instance playing this neat little game:


The other games from Orisinal are equally good of course, like Milking the Cow. Custom made for us Dutchies! Have fun try to keep up with your kids! (I am not disclosing any secret when I predict you will rather sooner than later be unable to)

ejh's picture

Chess is a positive activity; just ask any parent whether they like to see their kids playing chess with each other or staring at a TV or computer screen – I bet the great majority chooses the first option.

But they'd probably rather they were running around outside in the fresh air than doing any of these things.

E's picture

Some people just don't look good in a suit.

Zeblakob's picture

Oo Dainalov next to Kaspy ??? something iz wrong.

Game of Kings's picture

Danailov is not smiling....

Hortensius's picture

Did they shake hands??

noyb's picture

Kasparov & Danailov? I'm feeling nausea... That's like jalapenos and asparagus...

Al's picture

Kasparov has done so much for chess. He has attracted a lot of new players around the world and ultimately helped make chess a better more exciting game. Very important for the future of the game.

He is and will be a hugely historic figure in chess.

sporty's picture

Danailov and Kasparov are partners since ECU elections. Actually, Danailov is ECU presidential thanks to Kaspy, and now he owes him and promotes him.
What is next? I guess Kaspy or Danailov running for FIDE in a few years, they will be a team this is sure.
And man, just a few years ago they were scratching and fighting each other, how people change.....

ablos's picture

I wish this endeavor may not go to waste by reason of corruption as any southeast asian country have experienced.

William's picture

"Chess encourages critical thinking, requires intense concentration and discipline, stimulates creativity, helps to solve problems and generally creates a positive competitive spirit"

Allways these same, boring, unproven claims of chess making you a better and more successfull person. There is no scientific prove for these claims and they are constantly misused by people who want to make money out of our beloved game.

Chess does not need these claims and does not need the people who employ them
We all love chess for its own, for what is is, whatever it is....

LudoMedemblik's picture

I think Chess is not over-or undervalued but in my view it gets the wrong approach.
There are so many elements in this game that total study may lead to overload.
I plead for a controlled study of the chess game in theme-related subjects within the general education.
Involve in the study of the psyche the elements of the battle against yourself, being able and willing to accept (a) loss, dealing with profit, the feeling of superiority to total defeat and handling promotion or stop after study.
Involve in the study of sciences such as mathematics, history, etc. the elements of recognition of the movements of characters, identifying structures, identifying many options, retention and storage of data, Strategy, Warfare etc.
Involve in the study of Biology and the body (physical sports included) the elements of concentration, memory training, physical condition in general, overloading etc.
Ofcourse there are more elements but they also should be involved and redirected in/to seperated studies.
In my opinion only then Chess can play an important role within education and give a healthy contribution to the grow up of the human being in general.

ejh's picture

3,500 schools in all 50 states have already subscribed to Kasparov’s Teaching Chess Step by Step

Just so I know - what, if anything, does this actually mean?

Nikodim's picture

It is totally wrong to compare chess with video games of any kind - they work in completely different areas in children's development. Studying chess (if it's done properly) boosts children's IQ (and EQ!) potential in general terms. I've seen it: chess playing children (if they start at 6-8 years of age) are slightly more mature intellectually and emotionally, their language is more fluent and complex, their learning skills - more enhanced. This little advantege becomes more obvios with time... or sometimes not. Our hope is that they will become better and versatile people.

BUT, it is essential that you should avoid to overdose... Vitamin Chess; this game (like any other) should NOT become a major part of your life - ALL my pupils cut off chess entirely when they become adults (even adolescent). And this is good - this game helped them to pass relatively painlessly through a hardest part of their lives. Nothing more.

And... one more thing: you have to combine chess with some physical activities: swimming, table tennis, etc., AND with some team sport (basketball, volleyball, football, I mean soccer). It's a must.

P.S.: As you see, english is not my native language; I'm bulgarian.

Nick's picture
skate Games's picture

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