Saturday, September 13, 2014

Schools take to Chess

“Chess in Schools” is the Sikkim Chess Association's new initiative to further the popularity of chess in the state especially among the younger generation.  The association has been relentlessly pursuing promotion and development of the game of Chess in Sikkim for the last 2-3 years and producing FIDE Rated players has been one of its major achievements.
With its new initiative, the association is looking at introducing chess as a subject in the school curriculum. To start with "Chess in Schools" is being implemented in three private schools of the state and they are Indrakeel School [Ranipool], Saraswati Vidya Niketan [Tadong] under Vidya Bharati Sikkim and Mt Zion Kidzee [Tadong]. Chess classes have already begun in these schools where rated players of SCA are teaching the kids all about the game.
Bikash Thakuri is the instructor for Indrakeel School, Durga Prasad Sharma for Saraswati Vidya Niketan and Sushmita Lama and Rakesh Gurung for Mt Zion Kidzee.
SCA general secretary, Mahendra Dhakal, who is also the only international arbiter from the state, has thanked these schools for coming up with the idea of the "Chess in Schools" programme. Chess is part of school curriculum in many countries across the world while in India, government schools of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have chess as part of their curriculum, he informs. In Sikkim, apart from the three schools mentioned, some others are also interested in including chess in their curriculum, he adds.
“Our aim to introduce chess in schools is not only to produce quality chess players but also to enable children to perform better in their studies since many studies have proven that chess can help improve analytical abilities and increase concentration levels", says Mr Dhakal.
He points out that chess can also provide means to earn a livelihood. The chess instructors at the three schools for example are also getting paid for their services.  
Saraswati Vidya Niketan coordinator, Binod Adhikari shares that the school decided to include chess as a subject in view of the aid it can provide for the intellectual development of its students. Also, since the school lacks a proper playground, chess is a good alternative activity for students , he adds.
“This game also provides a single platform for students of any age to sit together and play,” he says.
The school, which teaches students till Class V, has chess as a compulsory subject from Class I onwards. However, if students of UKG are also interested then they can also join the classes.
Mr Adhikari thanked a donor Amit Agarwal for supporting this initiative in the school.
Constantly striving towards producing quality chess players and promoting the game, the SCA has taken another step forward with the "Chess in Schools" programme. Interestingly, all rated players of the state are of very young age and with this programme in place it might not be long till the state gets to see its very own Grand Master or even an International Grandmaster.

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