Chess in Schools: Holy Grail or Snake Oil?

3-Star learning experiences

Paul A. Kirschner & Mirjam Neelen

holy grail chess

‘Armenia makes chess compulsory in schools’, according to this article in the Guardian. Armenian authorities claim that chess is the key to success in school and life. By playing chess, children not only learn how to think creatively and strategically, they also get better at solving problems and become more intelligent. Even better (notice the slightly sarcastic tone here), this creativity, problem-solving, and other similar good stuff, isn’t just specific for chess. The promise is, that it will generalise to other subjects AND to life in general (near and far transfer). In other words, chess seems to be the holy grail!

What the Armenian authorities actually claim is that learning how to play chess on the one hand is the key to developing generic skills (in particular problem-solving) and on the other hand is a vital element when it comes to generic traits

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