Introducing chess education in Russian school system: theoretical and practical aspects

Фотографии: 

PhD, Associate Professor A.I. Alifirov1
PhD, Associate Professor I.V. Mikhaylova1
Dr.Hab., Associate Professor A.S. Makhov1
PhD, Associate Professor, master's student M.S. Belov2
1Russian State Social University, Moscow
2Ivanovo State Power Engineering University named after V.I. Lenin, Ivanovo

Keywords: chess, chess education, chess education models and didactic tools.

Background. In modern developments in the education sector a special priority is being given to intensive educational technologies and models to speed up the knowledge accumulation process and effectively shape up the general cultural and basic and special professional competences badly needed in the modern markets and society with inflow of high technologies [3]. Critical importance is being given to the proactive social and economic national development issues including human resource, educational, technology, science, and life quality elements [1]. The national educational system on the whole and school system in particular with support from science shall take the lead in the socio-economic system humanization process to increase the modern specialist competitiveness in the labour markets and create a new-type personality – mobile, ethical, constructive, prognostic, businesslike and responsible for his/her own decisions. Modern chess, a universal game discipline, offers a great and largely untapped resource for the learning capacity building as verified by the practical experience of the primary school educational systems in Norway, Sweden, Canada, the US, Israel and Switzerland that have made an impressive progress for the last few years to secure the new quality of education [4].

It was on the meeting of the Chamber of Deputies of the Russian Federation on August 29, 2017 where a task group discussed the school chess project implementation prospects since September 2018. S.A. Karyakin, former World Champion and Russian State Social University graduate argued that the modern school physical education curriculum shall include a basic chess course to develop logical thinking, intuition and intellectual capacities in schoolchildren. N.V. Kim, Vice-President of the Moscow Chess Federation, came up with a draft school chess curriculum designed by the School Chess Project and offered for implementation across the country. K.N. Ilyumzhinov, FIDE President, said: “Our country needs to introduce school chess curriculum on an obligatory basis in the way it has been done in the Republic of Kalmykia, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Territory and the Rostov region. Russia shall take the position it deserves among the countries of mass school chess education – all the more that our country is already a global chess leader and no great investments are required to implement the school chess curriculum. The only thing needed for success is a strong political decision”. The meeting resulted in recommendations for the relevant ministries and government agencies on how the school chess curriculum may be designed and implemented.

The ongoing general school education sportization process is designed to build up a set of the relevant values and competences to effectively respond to modern interests, predispositions and expectations of schoolchildren [2]. Modern chess is a sport discipline recognized by the IOC among other non-Olympic sports. On the one hand, there are good and real prerequisites for and social intentions to mobilize the modern chess resource for the intellectual progress of the general school education in Russia; and on the other hand, the chess resource mobilization and school chess project advancement efforts are still limited by at least the following factors:

1. Need for competent chess instructors having relevant psychological and didactic backgrounds plus sound chess qualification – at least Candidate Master of Sport;

2. Need for the relevant assets including chess classes, equipment, overhead digital projectors and/or demo chess boards etc.;

3. Need for formal chess curriculum, formally approved textbooks, teaching aids and sets of education materials;

4. Need for an unlimited access to the relevant online chess educational and training resources (including online chess training courses, video-lessons and other education materials) provided for chess instructors and trainees; and

5. Need for an efficient support of the chess education and sport projects by the relevant ministries and government agencies.

Objective of the study was to offer a theoretical concept and practical recommendations for the school chess educational system design and its operations.

Methods and structure of the study. In the period of October 2016 to April 2017, a research team of the Physical Education Theory and Practice Department of Russian State Social University has designed, offered and piloted the school chess education model in a few schools in Moscow and Moscow region within the valid school educational methodology and curricula, with the experiment including progress tests, monitoring and test data analyses. Subject to the model piloting experiment were the following schools and Experimental Groups (EG) of 23-27 people each: Moscow School #1360 (EG1: chess lessons; EG2: off-class chess studies; Preparatory Group, EG3: chess club); Gymnasium #16 in Mytishchi, Moscow region (EG4: chess lessons; EG5: off-class chess studies; Preparatory Group, EG6: A. Karpov’s Chess School Office). The chess course benefits were rated by the trainees’ IQ (Intelligence Quotient) test by D. Vexler. The progress tests were performed in October and December 2017, February and April 2018. One more experiment was completed in parallel to find the best motivational formats for the school chess lessons, chess groups and off-class chess studies.

Study results and discussion. Having analyzed the practical and theoretical basics for the school chess education, we list the classified school education goals, design models and tools specified hereunder in Table 1.

Table 1. Classified school education design models, goals and tools

Models

Goals and missions

Didactic tools

Lesson

1) Promote mass chess education;

2) Improve mental qualities including attention, thinking and memory.

Complex educational method (CEM): textbook, dairy, chess test book

Optional course with maths, geometry

1) Develop spatial imagination;

2) Produce a chess tests solving algrithm;

3) Improve calculation speed by practical chess game.

1) Tests and scetches on the demo chess board;

2) Blind game i.e. memorizing practices/

Off-class chess

Leisure time sport

Game practice, competitions, tournaments

Chess group/ section

Competitive accomplishments; qualificaitons at precompetitive stages; training process planning; trainees’ progress check ups and tests

Every didactic tool, technology and educational resource

Special health groups

Adaptive chess models for rehabilitation and mental/ physical resource mobilization in people with disabilities/ special needs

CEM, adaptive chess, diagnosis-specific training programs

Competitions and tournaments

Competitive accomplishments; qualifications; contributions to mass chess/ physical training events

Chess sport rules, FIDE Code, competitive practice

Simultaneous chess, master classes

1) Popularize chess sport;

2) Contribute to culture, emotions and sensations.

Chess history in films; video reports from top chess tournaments; success stories of Grand Masters.

Online chess Olympics, chess zones and portals

Peer training and communication; game experience accumulation via online game resources and matches

1) Local networks;

2) Chess zones and portals: Chess Planet (RF),

Playchess (Germany), ICC (USA).

 

Given in Table 2 hereunder are the trainees’ progress test data.

Table 2. Trainees’ progress test data: IQ rates in the Experimental Groups by periods: I – October 2017; II – December 2017; III – February 2018; IV – April 2018

Group

Headcount

Pre-experimental IQ

Progress test data by periods, IQ

I

II

III

IV

EG1

27

93,3

94,4

95,0

96,8

96,2

EG2

25

92,4

93,5

94,5

94,7

94,1

EG3

23

93,0

95,1

96,3

97,0

99,0

EG4

27

9,3

94,2

95,6

96,8

94,4

EG5

25

94,0

94,2

94,6

97,6

97,6

EG6

23

93,1

94,1

97,1

99,4

101,1

 

The trainees’ progress test data showed their IQ test rates being on the rise for the training period to reach their maximums in 8 months of the chess educational and training process.

Conclusion. Our analysis of the theoretical and practical basics for the school chess education model within the general education school curriculum and school chess education model piloting experiment gave the grounds for the following conclusions and recommendations:

1. School chess education is indispensable fo the intellectual and mental progress as verified by the model piloting experiment, and, therefore, it may be recommended for inclusion in the valid general school curriculum to facilitate the miltisided and harmonic personality development process.

2. Phased implementation of the school chess education model in school curricula shall be designed to give a due priority to the beginner (propaedeutic) training offered on an off-class/ optional basis.

3. The human resource problem of the school chess education project may be solved by adding higher vocational educational programs to the valid FSHES to secure inflow of skilled primary school teachers and physical education instructors having sound chess competences for the school service in the Chess Theory and Practice Basics and the Chess Mastering Technology and Educational Methods disciplines.

4. Under the school chess implementation project, a 3-level (federal, regional, municipal) system of volunteer training centers shall be established, with the volunteers providing assistance to school trainers and instructors, conditional on their competences including Class I chess mastery qualification, Class III refereeing qualification (for the 14+ year-olds) and relevant psychological and pedagogical backgrounds.

References

  1. Lubysheva L.I., Zagrevskaya A.I., Peredelskiy A.A. et al. Sportizatsiya v sisteme fizicheskogo vospitaniya: ot nauchnoy idei k innovatsionnoy praktike [Sportization in physical education system: from scientific idea to innovative practice]. Moscow: Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury i sporta publ., 2017, 200 p.
  2. Mikhaylova I.V., Makhov A.S., Alifirov A.I. Shakhmaty kak mnogokomponentny vid adaptivnoy fizicheskoy kultury [Chess as multicomponent type of adaptive physical culture]. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury, 2015, no. 12. pp. 56-58.
  3. Mikhaylova I.V., Alifirov A.I. Shakhmaty dlya lits s narusheniyami psikhicheskogo i intellektualnogo razvitiya [Chess game application for people diagnosed with mental and intellectual disorders]. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury, 2017, no. 3, pp. 46-47.

Corresponding author: fizkult@teoriya.ru

Abstract

The article considers the key provisions for the chess course introduction in the general education school curriculum; gives arguments to demonstrate benefits of this game discipline for the students’ intellectual, competitive, mental, physical and spiritual progress; offers a frame design for the chess education curriculum; and gives practical recommendations on how the school chess education may be designed and implemented on a systemic basis.

Phased implementation of the school chess education model in the school curriculum shall be designed to give a due priority to the beginner (propaedeutic) training offered on an off-class/ optional basis; with the necessary human resource for the chess education being trained as required by the relevant additions to the valid FSHES to secure inflow of the skilled primary school teachers and physical instructors having sound chess competences for the school services in the Chess Theory and Practice Basics and Chess Mastering Technology and Education Methods disciplines. Under the school chess implementation project, a 3-level (federal, regional, municipal) system of volunteer training centers shall be established, with the volunteers providing assistance to the school trainers and instructors, conditional on their competences including Class I chess mastery qualification, Class III refereeing qualification (for the 14+ year-olds) and relevant psychological and pedagogical backgrounds.