Check out these inspiring examples of successful
chess programs in schools around the country!
We believe strongly in the value of integrating chess into schools. It could be as simple as a student-run chess club which meets before or after school, or an actual class where students receive instruction from a knowledgable chess teacher. Experience has shown that any exposure to chess is beneficial, but organized and structured lessons show the greatest benefit of all.
A 1994-1997 study on Houston area schools with active chess clubs found that chess-playing students scored 4.3 points higher in reading and 6.4 points higher in math as measured by TAAS scores. 1 A similar 1996 study of students in New York and Los Angeles found that those who received chess instruction scored almost 10 points points higher in reading tests, even compared to students who had received an additional reading class instead of the chess class. 2
Robert Ferguson, executive director of the American Chess School in Bradford, PA, examined the impact of chess instruction for his doctoral dissertation. He studied middle-school students who were enrolled in one of four activites -- playing chess, creative writing, working with computers, or playing Dungeons & Dragons. After the students had spent approximately 60 hours in their respective activites, the chess players scored almost 13 points higher in critical thinking and 35 points higher in creative thinking. 3
There are dozens of similar studies, see for example "The Benefits of Chess in Education" and "Literature Review of Chess Studies" for a detailed analysis of some of the most important ones. The conclusion is obvious -- chess has enormous educational advantages and should be a part of every school curriculum!
1 James Liptrap, "Chess and Standardized Test Scores," Chess Coach Newsletter 11 (1999): 5-7.
2 Stuart Margulies, "The Effect of Chess on Reading Scores," (Chess-in-the-Schools, 1996).
3 Robert Ferguson, "Development of Reasoning and Memory through Chess," (United States Chess Federation, 1988).