So Armenia wants to become a superpower when it comes to chess and will now make lessons in the game mandatory for school-children as young as six. I think this is brilliant.
As a former school teacher, I have seen the attention span of young children dwindle to nothing in the last 20 years. If they do not have their hands on something that is blinking, flashing, ringing and otherwise causing their tiny thumbs to be subject to carpal tunnel syndrome, then they are not interested.
While technology has improved our ability to manage data in a world bursting at the seams with bits and bytes, its development has slowed the brainpower of the children who can no longer live without it. They cannot think. They cannot analyze or strategize. What’s worse – they don’t even want to.
Chess is a wonderful game – it teaches you to focus. It’s mathematically based and exercises that left side of your brain where analysis and judgment are developed. It forces you to strategize watching the actions of another human being and more importantly, interacting with another human being. It is a game of social, intellectual and analytical skills that cannot be bested by numbing my thumbs with a joystick or touchpad.
I truly miss those long, drawn-out chess games with my Dad (an architect) or cousin (a financial analyst). As a girl, it taught me to match wits with boys who think differently. It taught me to analyze more than any game of Barbie prepared me for life.
I think the Armenians are on course to getting to the head of the class in more than just a chess match – just watch how their young citizens today develop into leaders tomorrow. Bravo!