Kasparov moves for scholastic chess in Turkey

12/14/2011 – "We would like to think of chess not as a game but as a special learning tool that improves results. We focus on the word ‘education’ and not the word ‘chess’." That is the path taken in the heavily funded Fatih Project, which is aimed at realization of computer techology supported education in Turkey. Kasparov met with high-ranking officials to discuss the project and his involvement in it.

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Garry Kasparov Moves for Scholastic Chess in Turkey

On December 9, 2011, the former world champion Garry Kasparov was in Turkey. Together with Cem Yeker, the Managing Director of SAP Turkey, and Kuvay Sanlı, of the Turkish Chess Foundation, Garry Kasparov held several meetings with the Minister of Education and the president of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). Below are news clippings and pictures regarding the visit that appeared in prominent Turkish newspapers such as Hürriyet, Zaman, and Akşam; TR Official Gazette; the official webpage of the AKP ruling party; and the official website of the Ministry of Education.

In his visit to Turkey Kasparov targeted the inclusion of chess education in the Fatih Project, which is aimed at realization of computer techology supported education through provision of computer technology equipment by the year 2013. Kasparov visited Prof. Yücel Altunbaşak, the President of  the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Tübitak) on December 9, 2011. Altunbaşak started the meeting with a few moves on the chess board.


Garry Kasparov and Prof. Dr. Yücel Altunbaşak, President of  the Scientific and
Technological Research Council of Turkey (Tübitak)

After Kasparov’s first move, the two opponents shared some humor. Following Altunbaşak’s remarks on how he had not played chess for a long time, Kasparov said, “Then it will be a short and sweet game!”, causing chuckles in the audience. During the game, he also said that Altunbaşak’s moves were of high quality. Altunbaşak stated that chess could be influential on the development of students and that Kasparov’s opinions would be assessed.

I look for the best move
To a question regarding the difference between a computer and a human being as an opponent, Kasparov said, “I always look for the best move. There are no emotions involved in playing against a computer but the result is always about making a good move or a bad move. Chess has more to do with one than with one’s opponent.”

Exciting Project
Kasparov remarked that the Fatih Project, involving the inclusion of computers in the educational system in Turkey, was a very exciting venture, and further said, “I think chess would fit in perfectly. I believe chess could provide a strong link between the old system and the new, computerized educational system. Chess is a good model for distance learning, as necessary for and foreseen by the FATIH project.”

After the meeting Altunbaşak gave a present to the champion. He had a detailed discussion with Garry Kasparov especially regarding chess, which currently is an elective course in the educational system in Turkey, becoming an  obligatory course in the curriculum.

Ömer Dinçer, Minister of Education, welcomed Kasparov to the Ministry

Ömer Dinçer, Minister of Education, first welcomed Garry Kasparov in his office. Following the visit at his Ministry office they moved to the meeting room. Upon seeing the chess pieces Kasparov brought as a present, the Minister joked, “I hope you are not thinking of playing a game with me. I have no intention of being subjected to such a test!” Expressing his gratitude regarding hosting Kasparov, the Minister presented Mangala, the thousand-year old Turkish mind and strategy game to Kasparov.

Kasparov was reminded by a journalist that chess is currently an elective in school curricula, and was asked, “Do you have anything to relay to students and parents?” Kasparov responded. “This elective course is a part of the old-style educational system, treating chess more as a separate pastime or sport. We are proposing a long-term system of integration based on distance learning. We would like to think of chess not as a game but as a special learning tool that improves results. We focus on the word ‘education’ and not the word ‘chess’. I have no doubt that both students and parents shall benefit from chess becoming an obligatory course in the curricula in Turkey.” After answering journalists’ questions Kasparov made a 30-minute presentation on chess and education to the bureaucrats of the Ministry.


Ömer Dinçer the Minister of Education, presenting the game of Mangala to Kasparov


Kasparov signing the chess board gave as a present to Ömer Dinçer. Managing
Director of SAP Turkey and Kuvay Sanlı are at the back.


Taken during Kasparov’s presentation on chess and education to the Ministry officials

Copyright ChessBase


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