Chess in Schools – a reality in India

by ChessBase
9/3/2012 – A lot of people are talking about it, but in some places – and the most unlikely as such – it's a reality. In the SYNA International School of Katni, northern India, chess is a compulsory subject, same as math, geography or English. The school sends large numbers of students to national tournaments, and they bring home excellent results. Most are academic toppers too! Like to play them?

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Chess in Schools – a reality in India

By Niklesh Kumar Jain

Chess was introduced in our school because we believe that it directly contributes to the academic performance. Chess makes kids smarter, sharper and more active. Students of class 1-12 of SYNA International School of Katni, India participated in an Open Inter Class Chess Championship 2012. Out of 586 students, total 120 students qualified for this event – a huge number of chess players for a single school.

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In SYNA chess is treated as a compulsory subject. Every child learns this game like other subjects: math, science, English, etc. Most of these chess players are academic toppers too!

Every year SYNA school organizes this event for all the students. After the competition,
the school declares its team for different competitions of the same academic session.

Aaryaman Gugalia (above), six years old won, in the U10 group (of Class I-V) .He also won the District Championship and was State runner up in U7.

To the players, the game is like an unfolding drama. Tension builds and a crisis is reached which decides whether or not there will be a happy ending? The players live through the emotions of an exciting story.

Students of Classes 1-5 enjoying chess tournament. Lots of happy faces! Play and enjoy the game. A notable thing was that the tournament was completed without a single touch and move rule claim!

Children are taught the benefits of observing carefully and concentrating. If you don’t watch what is happening, you can't respond to it, no matter how smart you are.

Children are prompted to imagine a sequence of actions before it happens. We actually strengthen the ability to visualize by training them to move the pieces in their mind, first one, and then several moves ahead.

Tournament is not only for players who are participating in tournaments, we are trying to make it popular among small kids too! So we hope to get future stars.

“In chess there no place for anger, it’s all about calmness." FIDE world School 2009, U7 Bronze medalist Anshuman Singh, finishes third, with the score of 9/11.

Ayush Pattanik, Rated 1614, finishes first with 11.0/11 points

Shivam Agrawal, rated 1610, finishes second with 9.0/11

The chess tournament is conducted by the Official FIDE software Swiss Manager

In school chess it becomes a passion for some children.
They love to play no matter they lose or win.

There are no walls of caste, creed or religion to bar children from playing chess.
We are also trying to teach them moral values. Our motto is: “Together we shall”

SYNA organized one of the biggest international tournament, the SYNA OPEN 2009, with a cash prize of Rs. 400,000 (USD 8,000). A total of 350 players from all over India, Sri Lanka and Nepal participated in this event. It was a grand success, and was won by grandmaster Sriram Jha of India.

Mr Bharat Singh Chouhan, Secretary of the AICF, and Mr Sanjay Pathak, School
Secretary and MLA, giving away the trophy to GM Sriram Jha (left)

The Principal of the school, Dr Aditya Kumar Sharma (M.Sc., B.ed., Ph.D. (Physics), has been working hard to promote chess in the younger generation. He feels that chess not only is a game to be played for tournaments but also each individual must learn to use it as a spare time activity. Chess increases the concentration, dedication, devotion and improves the mental skills. After all chess helps in accepting defeat and enjoy a win. Dr Sharma is an ardent supporter of the game. He also encouraged students to play chess while on a sabbatical to Gordonstoun School, Scotland. He has been tirelessly spreading the importance of chess in the US, UK, Singapore, Russia and Thailand. He is also bringing in awareness and importance of chess in the Indian Public School Conference School.

About the author

Niklesh Kumar Jain, international player, FIDE National Instructor, Arbiter, tournament organizer, won the International Tournament in Sri Lanka in 2010. He also worked in television network as an anchor and news writer for two years. He was also in a ChessBase report when he played in France 2007.

With the AICF and the school management Niklesh is working to promote chess in Schools of Central and North India.

                        Link: SYNA International School of Katni

Looking for opponents for an international school match

Niklesh and the SYNA International School is interested in staging Internet matches against other schools in distant countries. They would be on four to eight boards on the Playchess server, and the players should all be present at the school (i.e. play together in a hall or classroom, and not privately from their homes. Here are some reports that give you an idea on how such an event can be conducted.

If you are interested please contact us using the feedback form on the right side of this page. Make sure to use the subject line "Katni long distance match". We will put you in touch with Niklesh and the SYNA International School.

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