Reports | October 31, 2012 18:11

First municipality introduces EU "Chess in Schools" program

Silvio Danailov giving a simul in Slivnitsa on October 26th

On October 26th, Silvio Danailov, President of the European Chess Union, officially opened the first school chess year in the town of Slivnitsa, Bulgaria. Slivnitsa is the first EU municipality to introduce chess as a school subject, in accordance with the EU's Chess in Schools project.

Silvio Danailov giving a simul in Slivnitsa on October 26th

Via its newsletter, the European Chess Union (ECU) this week informed us about a small but symbolic act that took place on Friday, October 26th in Bulgaria. In the town of Slivnitsa, located 22 km northwest of Sofia, the "Chess in Schools" program of the European Union was introduced.

ECU President Silvio Danailov officially opened the first school chess year at the St. Cyril and Methodiusin school in Slivnitsa. Besides Danailov, the ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Slivnitsa Vasko Stoilkov, the Deputy Governor of Sofia district, Rositsa Todorova, the Vice President of the Bulgarian Chess Federation, Prof. Nikolay Nedkov, Hristo Andreev, Head of the Regional Educational Inspectorate Sofia district and others.

80 children out of 240 graduates of the school chose to study chess as a subject during the school year 2012-2013. This means that they will be the first students from the European Union who will receive assessments in chess.

On this occasion the Bulgarian Chess Federation gave a number of professional "Staunton" chess sets to the pupils. Danailov said:

I wish one day the new Veselin Topalov is born in Slivnitsa!

Part of the event was a simultaneous exhibition by Danailov, who himself is an IM rated 2466. It was the first professional chess lesson to the students.

On March 13th, 2012 in Strasbourg the European Parliament endorsed the "Chess in European schools" program, a cooperation between the European Chess Union (ECU) and the Kasparov Chess Foundation. It was a clear indication of the recognition of MEPs across Europe of the benefits that chess can bring to children. It remains to be seen whether other EU member states will follow Bulgaira to introduce the program in one of its schools, or even nationwide.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Chris Girardo's picture

Having taught chess in schools for quite a while now, I can say that it's pretty pointless(though symbolic I guess) to give a simul on the first day of instruction :-)

Anonymous's picture

Nonsense. Danailov is doing excellent work. As an International Master he inspires the kids just as they are first learning how to play. They will now want to learn how to beat him.

Good Jorb Danailov, don't listen to the jealous haters!!

valg321's picture

very nice! good work by Danailov, i wish this concept expands to other EU coutries too

S3's picture

Unfortunate. Chess should not be structurally taught in valuable school time. And the EU shouldn't deal with crooks like Kasparov and Danailov.

Anonymous's picture
S3's picture

I bet you agreed!

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