International Chess Federation
Monday, 27 Sep 2021 11:02
Chess for children with ASD seminar: Registration deadline approaches

The International Chess Federation, together with its Chess in Education Commission, Commission for the Disabled and FIDE Social Commission, is organizing the 2nd FIDE Educational Seminar of Infinite Chess Project' Chess for children with an autism spectrum disorder. Learn and teach'.

The event will take place on October 2-3, 2021, at 15:00 - 18:00 CEST. For registration, please, please fill the form before September 30, 2021. On October 01, all the registered participants will receive the access link to the online seminar. The participants who successfully pass a test will get a certificate of attendance.

The seminar will give core knowledge on using chess in educating kids with ASD. Teachers and coaches working with children with an autism spectrum disorder will share their experience, explain their methodology and present the running projects.

Among them, a special chess club for children with autism, which opened in Minsk in the FIDE Chess Academy in September 2019, with the support of the Belarusian Chess Federation under the leadership of FIDE Vice-president Anastasia Sorokinа. The two-year-long project was launched under the guidance of an experienced coach, WIM, FIDE Trainer, Natalia Popova. Boys and girls aged between 6 and 12 immersed themselves with great interest in the game of chess.

Fifteen pupils divided into four groups have been learning to play chess for nine months. With the help of different teaching methods and memorization techniques, kids were introduced to chessboard and pieces, learned how to play, but more importantly, chess classes had a positive impaсt on their communication abilities, speech, thinking, self-esteem and confidence.

"My son wants to continue attending chess classes; he is always looking forward to playing chess on Sundays," says the mother of Peter Boksha, one of the participants of the project.  "Peter is not ready to participate in mini-tournaments yet. Still while studying chess, he improved his visual memory, thinking, he can concentrate attention longer, and tries to solve logic problems for five or six-year-old children".

The classroom equipment of the chess club was designed specifically for children with ASD. Thus, the demonstration board and pieces are made in a special colour scheme: squares on the board are white and dark grey, and the pieces are white and black with contrasting edging so as not to merge with the squares.  Every child has his own timer on the table with a smiley indicating the break so that they can see how much time is left until the end of the lesson. Fitball chairs for every child are used during the breaks for relaxation. 

"Dasha is so enthusiastic about going to chess classes; she worries a lot when we can't attend them. She learned how to play, understands the logic of chess. Now she feels the desire to win; I didn't notice it before. She begins to understand when she is being deceived in the game and follows the game's progress. Still, we need to train her endurance and perseverance," says the mother of Darya Bashlakova.

Presentation of the project (pdf)

Seminar presentation (pdf)

Apart from the project leader Anastasia Sorokina, FIDE Vice-President and the project supervisor Dana Reizniece-Ozola, FIDE Managing Director, the seminar speakers are:

  • Natalia Popova - WIM, FIDE Trainer, Trainer of the FIDE Chess Academy in Belarus, leader of the two-year-long project teaching chess to children with autistic spectrum disorder (Belarus);
  • Ala Mishchanka - Special needs educational assistant, more than 15 years of experience (Canada);
  • Dr. Anna Charchyan - researcher in Chess Research Institute at ASPU named after Kh.Abovyan, PhD in Pedagogy, Lecturer faculty of Special and Inclusive Education at the Department of Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy (Armenia);
  • Dr. Lilit Karapetyan - Senior researcher in Chess Research Institute at ASPU named after Kh.Abovyan, PhD in Psychology, Lecturer at the Department of Special Pedagogy and Psychology (Armenia).
  • Dr. Sandra Maria Guisso, Researcher with more than 15 years of experience (Brazil)
  •  Luis Blasco de la Cruz, International Arbiter, CEO Madrid Chess Academy, Member of EDU FIDE Commission (Spain).
  • Special guests from the French Chess Federation: Franck Droin, a member of the International Commission of the French Chess Federation and Dr Maurice Bensoussan, President of the French Association of Psychiatry.

Moderator of the event: Judit Sztaray, FIDE Arbiter, Developmental Instructor, General Manager of Events and Youth Outreach at Mechanics' Institute.

For more information, please contact:

Anastasia Sorokina, FIDE Vice President

Nadezhda Krauchuk, project coordinator