Successful scholastic chess day sees chess placed on the school curriculum


Seven out of Billund Municipality’s nine schools recently participated in a scholastic chess day, an event that proved so successful the game will now be used as part of the school curriculum.

One of the participating schools was Grindsted Private School and principal Annette Lundgaard was very impressed with the day’s effect on the students.
“The teacher of the second class asked me to visit his class. I could feel he was slightly taken aback and when I entered the classroom I could see why. The class is usually full of life but the chess game had made them completely calm and concentrated, for as long as half an hour at a time. The students remembered what they were taught: to shake hands with each other, play a good game and not to distract their opponent during the match,” says Lundgaard.

Teachers from the Billund School had the same experiences.
“The students learnt to think and play in chaos as part of a new game called ‘Action Chess’, where competitors would change places and play on a different board. And they did really well,” says teacher Hanne Jørgensen.

Billund School principal Hanne Enggaard adds:
“It surprised us how many different types of children benefitted from the rules and regulations of chess – patiently waiting your turn, making your move and concentrating.”

Scholastic chess to be included in teaching
After the success of the scholastic chess day across Billund Municipality’s schools, several are now including it in their teaching programs, including Hejnsvig School.

“I was very sceptical at first. But after seeing how scholastic chess can be practically applied, I can see many advantages to including it in education at both primary and secondary school level, " says Hejnsvig School teacher Sanne Brink Rasmussen.

School principal, Marianne Nielsen, adds:
“We want to build on our experience with scholastic chess and make it more than just an annual event. We will use scholastic chess both in teaching and in the SFO (after-school program).”

Educators at the Billund School are of the same opinion, with school principal Enggaard believing that math and Danish teachers can use scholastic chess to improve students’ concentration and strategic thinking.

“Pupils work well in this format. They are physically close and look each other in the eye while playing. And a student from kindergarten can play a student from the forth class without a problem. There are many opportunities to use it in our future teaching,” adds Annette Lundgaard.

Capital of Children to host the national finals
As well as scholastic chess being adopted into the curriculum of Billund Municipality schools, the Capital of Children will also be hosting the scholastic chess national finals. The event will take place on Friday 12 April 2013 at Lalandia Billund, with the Capital of Children Company (CoCC) and Danish Scholastic Chess Federation expecting hundreds of young chess players to attend.

Each school that participated in the scholastic chess day can send eight representatives to the annual final in Billund. This year the Danish Scholastic Chess Federation has concentrated on schools in Jutland and Fyn but next year will see the organization branch out into Sjælland, too.

A teacher at the Vorbasse School first gave the CoCC the idea to put scholastic chess on the Billund Municipality school curriculum. It then evolved into the current collaboration with the Danish Scholastic Chess Federation, with the Billund Municipality and the LEGO Foundation also involved.

School leaders were introduced to the concept during a meeting in the Billund Municipality. The LEGO Foundation sponsored the chess materials given to the participating schools and also made it financially feasible to host the scholastic chess national finals in the Capital of Children.

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