Chess enables children, parents and teachers to go through creative and playful learning together. The impact of chess on skill building is widely known and accepted. Chess is also recognized as the key to strategic and creative thinking, encouraging children’s development of cognitive skills in particular. When playing chess it teaches discipline, patience, develops logical thinking, the ability to tolerate failures, helps Math skills, and prepares children for dealing with challenge. You could say that chess teaches life skills, it is giving such munitions that assist in getting ready for life's challenges.
The potential of chess is still not fully exploited, but there are many initiatives in Europe and around the world using chess as an educational tool based on the unity of education, sports and culture. "Whatever the age of the child, chess can improve children’s concentration, patience and persistence and can develop the sense of creativity, intuition, memory, and analytic and decision-making skills; whereas chess also teaches determination, motivation and sportsmanship." In light of this introduction, the European Parliament adopted the Written Declaration of “Chess in School” in 2012 for the European Union.
Recognizing the potentials in educational chess many European countries increased their focus on chess tools for preschool and elementary school children. At the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair an international jury of experts evaluated the best European products and the special prize of the Best European Learning Materials Awards (BELMA), the Merit Award, was given to Judit Polgar's Chess Palace Program. From the evaluation of the respected jury: "The material is cross-curricular: it uses a lot of references and develops important skills for other subjects like math, writing etc. The storytelling aspect about the life at the Chess Palace and its inhabitants engages and motivates students with playfulness and develops imagination and creativity."
Since 2011 all elementary schools have chess as a compulsory subject in Armenia, a small country that grew into a chess super power recently. In Corsica every child knows how to play chess and there are huge chess programs in Turkey and Britain. Whether supported by the government or by sponsors, schools realize the importance of chess in education. According to the plans, starting with 2017 chess will be part of the national educational system in Spain, too. There are countless programs in, schools chess clubs and cultural centers implementing chess in structured classrooms, after-school, weekend and summer programs in their educational and recreational programs.
Like in Europe, across the Ocean in both North and South America chess in education is also flourishing. Since 1986 in the United States the Chess in the Schools program has taught, inspired, and empowered more than 500,000 students in low-income New York City public schools. In the US there is great interest at university level as well, in both research and in the sportive aspect of the game. Similarly to other sports annual championships are organized, amongst them the most prestigious one: Final Four of College Chess. A leading chess faculty at Webster University is the college chess champion at Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE). Many top chess champions including Anand from India, the Norwegian Carlsen and the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF)work on bringing chess into education around the world. "It is vital that we work together and assist each other for the best interest of our sport." says grandmaster Susan Polgar, five-time Olympic Chess Champion.
In addition to the educational benefits for children we need to highlight another important dimension. Given that chess is an excellent tool for self-improvement, improving foresight, prudence and decision making, it is never too late to learn how to play chess. After all, chess is a very important bridge between generations, it is a common language for young and old, regardless of time and space. The positive effects on cognitive function and psychological health provides exceptional advantages for the elderly age groups as well. Consequently we can conclude that chess connects us and chess is for everyone.