Fernand Gobet & Guillermo Campitelli
University of Nottingham
“Chess playing makes kids smarter.” “Chess increases mathematical abilities.” “Chess
improves academic performance.” Numerous similar claims have been made about
the efficacy of using chess to foster education (see, for example, several papers on the
USCF site for education).
Indeed, schools in various countries (e.g., USA, France,
Argentina) offer chess as an optional subject, and some even propose compulsory
classes. There is clearly a strong interest worldwide in the potential advantages of
chess in education, and the conference from which this book stems is just another
example of this interest.
Implicit in all these activities is the belief that skills acquired playing chess can
transfer to other domains. Is this belief based on well-substantiated evidence? Is the
educational value of chess a well-established empirical fact? Or have chess players
been blinded by their love of the game into thinking that it offers instructional
advantages? In this chapter, we attempt, as objectively as possible, to tackle the
question of whether chess is advantageous for general education. To do so, we subject
research into the educational benefits of chess to the same rigorous criteria commonly
used in academia for evaluating educational research.
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