Without training or study, few chess players play well. Just learning to move the pieces and playing with other novices results in very slow progress. Chess professionals have visited schools where enthusiastic teachers who knew little about chess encouraged play. They found players with no sense of strategy and very little skill. What they lacked was (1) teaching of principles; (2) process feedback (they only experienced outcome feedback whether they won or lost); and (3) specific chess drills.
We will evaluate all students on their own relative progress. We believe that a student’s personal advancement far outweighs comparison to their peers. We hope to track students by USCF rating and academic grades.
Helping learners think logically is not easy. But our observations and research show that young children can be taught to think clearly with discipline, to plan ahead, and to make sound decisions. We’ve seen that the way children acquire these skills differs in fundamental ways from adults. Implications for education are basically two-fold: teach children, emphasizing their natural capabilities, to take a global perspective and to acquire and organize data quickly; and attend to the processes of their thought rather than the outcomes.
Our group would like to stress the importance of “the learning pyramid.” Those who play chess learn so much from playing, because the game involves them mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Between the ages of nine and fifteen the development of a child begins to break away from their parents’ identity to seek their own. Children must discover how she or he will best survive and win. We desperately want to make chess a part of every child’s winning formula.