Today, May 19, 2022, is a historical day for Georgian chess. The Ministry of Education Mikhail Chkhenkeli has announced that starting with the next school year, chess will be a mandatory subject for first-grade students in the country. It will apply to all the 2,200 schools in Georgia, both public and private.
The plan aims at "developing the students' analytical, logical, and practical problem-solving skills, encouraging critical thinking", reads the announcement. "Chess improves students' multifaceted skills such as attention, concentration, memory, analysis, logic, decision making, spatial orientation and more. This, in turn, is directly related to the competencies defined by the standards of mathematics and other subjects", it concludes.
The Minister of Education informed that the preparatory work with the Georgian Chess Federation has already begun to allocate the necessary resources to implement the program and start training teachers.
FIDE Vice President Akaki Iashvili expressed his enthusiasm for the announcement: "There is relentless support for chess in Georgia. This plan implies that almost all first-grade students will learn chess, and the game will increase its popularity even further. That, in turn, will translate into more sponsorship. And, hopefully, this will also help us to see how one day a Georgian lady regains the title of World Champion, which is a national dream for us".
It must be noted that the decision of the Georgian Government aligns with the Declaration of the European Parliament of March 15 2012, on the introduction of the programme 'Chess in School' in the educational systems of the European Union, which reads as follows:
The European Parliament,
– having regard to Articles 6 and 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,
– having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in its Article 6, provides that sport is among the areas 'where the Union shall have competences to carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States;
B. whereas chess is an accessible game for children from every social group and can help social cohesion and contribute to policy objectives such as social integration, combating discrimination, reducing crime rates and even the fight against various addictions;
C. whereas whatever the age of the child, chess can improve children's concentration, patience and persistence and can develop the sense of creativity, intuition, memory, and analytic and decision-making skills; whereas chess also teaches determination, motivation and sportsmanship;
1. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage the introduction of the programme 'Chess in School' in the educational systems of the Member States;
2. Calls on the Commission, in its forthcoming communication on sport, to pay the necessary attention to the program' Chess in School' and to ensure sufficient funding for it from 2012 onwards;
3. Calls on the Commission to take into consideration the results of any studies on the effects of this programme on children's development;
4. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories(1), to the Commission and to the Parliaments of the Member States.
Photo: © Government of Georgia
FIDE would like to express its gratitude to Mr Mikhail Chkhenkeli (pictured above), who, previously as Minister of Culture and Sports and currently as Minister of Education, has been a long-time supporter of chess.