7 News Belize

The Educational Virtue of Chess
posted (July 15, 2008)

We have seen it played in tournaments even in some people’s backyards. But while the game of chess is enjoyed by some as a past time, now chess activists want to use it as an educational tool to help develop the minds of primary school students. According to the co-founder of the Belize National Youth Chess Foundation Ian Anderson, the game develops learning capabilities. And now they’re trying to make chess a part of the school’s curriculum. The idea will be volleyed around this weekend during the first Belize national education symposium.

Ian Anderson, Co-Chair
“We thought that if we could encourage, maybe 20 or 30 teams from the country with 200 to 250 kids, primary school children to be playing when in actual fact we have over 50 teams that are now organized and playing chess with over 500 primary students from across the country, from the northern border right down to the southern villages in Toledo playing chess and when we exercise the brain in that way, a lot of wonderful things happen. Some of those things are critical thinking, the brain starts developing the ability to do critical thinking and logical thinking and memory development because they constantly have to think what might happen and what’s already happened in the past, they are developing memory. We’re not playing chess for the sake of chess but to develop our young primary students’ minds in a way to think more positively than they’ve been taught to in the past.

Chess in Belize program, introducing it into the primary school curriculum is probably one of very few options that the education system has in Belize to take our education one step further and to solve a lot of the problems we have in the Belize educational system now is to use chess as an educational tool and introducing it to our primary schools as an educational tool to assist them in the development of our young children’s minds.”

The Belize national educators symposium is scheduled for Saturday morning at the George Price Centre in Belmopan. You must pre register to attend. If you would like to participate you can do so by calling 822–2800. Among the special invited guests to the symposium are international chess player and coach, Jennifer Shahade and Jean Hoffman.

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