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Young chess players in school [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for young chess players in school.

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The benefits that school pupils can reap from learning chess are numerous and well-documented. Chess can help children to develop essential cognitive skills, such as concentration, memory, logical and critical thinking, and enhance their creativity, through problem solving. Playing chess also teaches planning, determination and sportsmanship – all positive aspects in a child’s personal development.

EU countries are solely responsible for organising their educational system and its content. Nevertheless, those countries agree that the EU should contribute to the development of quality education, by encouraging cooperation between countries. This means that it supports or supplements national education systems, and develops an exchange of experiences on common educational topics.

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The social virtues of chess in schools, like helping social integration, were emphasised in a March 2012 European Parliament declaration, endorsing the introduction of the ‘Chess in School’ programme in all EU countries. This programme is a cooperation between the European Chess Union (ECU), an independent association with 54 national federation members, and the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe. Since then, according to ECU, the number of pupils learning chess at school is expanding.

As this game is classified as a sport, it is more accessible to pupils as an option during sports periods at school. It is also eligible for funding under the not-for-profit sport events strand of Erasmus+, the EU funding programme dedicated to education, youth and sport.

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