The British charity Chess in Schools and Communities is working with the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe on a political campaign to garner support for chess to be introduced to schools Europe-wide. The focus of the campaign is a written declaration shown at the end of this report. It was sponsored by five members of the European Parliament, from the UK, Finland, Italy, Bulgaria and Malta.
Written declarations need the support of half of all MEPs before they can go before the European Commission for consideration and possible action. For the last six months Garry Kasparov and his team have been working tirelessly to secure the signatures of 380 MEPs. I am delighted to report that to date 377 signatures have been received! Thanks to all those associated with CSC who wrote to their MEPs.
Malcolm Pein, CEO of CSC and Rudi Valcke, chess teacher (BE) explain the benefits
of chess during the Chess in School seminar at the EU (on the left Garry Kasparov)
On Tuesday 14th February we – CSC Chief Executive Malcolm Pein and Operations Manager Director Stefania Matthidi – travelled to Strasbourg to assist KCFE in a lobbying effort over three days while the European Parliament was in session. There are a limited number of such opportunities, and our first objective was to secure another 30 signatures to get to 300, at which point the campaign would gain the benefit of increased access to MEPs at subsequent sittings.
Garry Kasparov, Chairman of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe, talking about
the educational and cultural benefits of chess in school programs
Immediately on arrival at Strasbourg we headed straight to Le Jardin de L’Orangerie, where we joined Garry Kasparov and French MEPs for cocktails organized by the Strasbourg Chess Club. It was lovely to meet IM Daniel Roos, whom I hadn't seen for something like 25 years and who is now in charge of a thriving club in Strasburg with 350 members and 16 schools.
Most of the following day was spent in the European Parliament. The Chess in Schools programme was presented to MEPs and members of the public by Garry Kasparov, Malcolm Pein and guest speakers including young players from Holland and Bulgaria, who by the way spoke impeccable English!
One of the children that played chess against Kasparov talks about why he loves
the game of chess at the seminar at the EU
The presentation was followed by Garry playing a simul against MEPs and children, a particularly enjoyable spectacle! Garry won all the games but one MEP from Slovenia put up stern resistance.
Kasparov playing a simul against 30 opponents, among them children...
... and members of the European Parliament
After the simul with EU representatives and children from the vicinity of Strasbourg
it was time for a picture with the world's most famous chess player
Declaration sponsored by five members of the European Parliament
pursuant to Rule 123 of the Rules of Procedure on the introduction
of the programme ‘Chess in School’ in
Slavi Binev, John Attard-Montalto, Nirj Deva,
Lapse date: 15.3.2012
Written declaration on the introduction of the programme ‘Chess
in School’ in the
The European Parliament,
– having regard to Articles 6 and 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning
of the European
– having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in its
Article 6, provides
B. whereas chess is an accessible game for children from every social
group and can help
C. whereas whatever the age of the child, chess can improve children’s
1. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage the introduction
2. Calls on the Commission, in its forthcoming communication on sport,
to pay the
3. Calls on the Commission to take into consideration the results of
any studies on the
4. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with
the names of the
After publication we received the following message from Stephen Clark-Foulquier, Brussels:
As I work at the UK Representaton to the EU, in the European Parliament Team, and was a keen chess player in my youth, I was interested to read your article on the EP written delclaration to get chess on school's curriculum.
I am afraid that though that it is factually not correct that if you obtain the necessary number of MEPs signatures that the European Commission is legally obliged to do anything about it. A written declaration is more like political pressure on the Commission to act in this area, but there is absolutly no legal obligation on the Commission.
Another important factor is that the area of 'education' is not an EU competency but rather it is for EU Member States to decide on their national education policies. It is however possible though for EU countries to work together on education policy and share best practice.