Chess should be made part of curriculum: Experts
Sangamesh Menasinakai, TNN | Dec 4, 2014, 01.10 PM IST

HUBBALLI: In 2011, when the education department announced that every November 30 will be observed as Chess Day in the state, chess enthusiasts rejoiced. However, their joy was short-lived as the event took place only once and from the very next year, the government dropped the idea.

Inaugurating the first Chess Day in 2011, then education minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri had called upon teachers, especially physical education and sports trainers, to promote the game among students in schools. The department had also coined a slogan ‘Chaduranga Aadi, Chaturaraagi’ (Play chess, become smart). As a result, some schools introduced chess in their school. However, all the enthusiasm died down as the government stopped observing the day from 2012.

Stressing on need to mark the day, Vinay Kurtkoti, general secretary of Dharwad District Chess Association, said it will help create awareness among students. “When the education department celebrated the day in 2011, we imparted training on chess rules and regulations to about 120 teachers in the city. Later, hundreds of students started to participate in chess competitions,” he said, suggesting that the government should incorporate it in its school syllabus. Chess is the least expensive of all games, in terms of equipment and infrastructure requirement. “It can be played in the classroom itself. Hence, it doesn’t take much for the government to adopt it in the syllabus,” he said.

Founder-president of Hubli Chess Academy Shripad K V said chess enhances mental ability and thinking skills among children. “The game is popular even among commoners in rural areas. We get hundreds of participants in tournaments in Hubballi-Dharwad,” he said.

Shripad, who has authored three books on chess, pointed at the need for training teachers first. “As many teachers are unaware of the importance of chess, the government should train them to popularize the game,” he added.

Aravind Shastry, secretary of the United Karnataka Chess Association, asserted that the state government should provide three hours for chess in primary and high schools. “It is already implemented in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, where students, as a result, are showing better performance in curricular activities too. If the government wishes, we are ready to prescribe a syllabus for teaching chess in schools,” he said.

Former education minister Visheshwara Hegde rued that many creative programmes that were introduced during his tenure have been dropped. “This is not due to ignorance of officials or teachers. The minister concerned should encourage programmes that are helpful in all-round development of students,” he said.


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