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Is chess really the king of all learning interventions?

It’s a game of strategy, patience and calculation, but can chess help children with their academic studies? And should it be taught at school? Andrew Hankinson hears the arguments for and against

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At the ATL teaching union’s conference in April, Hank Roberts, a retired teacher and former president of the union, suggested that chess should be taught in schools. And it wasn’t the first time he’d brought it up at the conference.

On a previous occasion he’d made a speech that included the paragraph: “Chess covers or comes into many areas of the curriculum. It’s not just about kings, queens, rooks, etc – it’s about quadrants and coordinates, thinking strategically and foreseeing consequences. It’s about lines and angles, weighing options and making decisions. It’s about teaching patience.”


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