Chess in Schools – the Shevah-Mofet Academy in Tel-Aviv

1/8/2009 – In many countries the education system is in crisis, with academic scores dropping. Some schools are discovering that chess lessons dramatically change the attitude of students, and develop intuition and experience in modulating most practical solutions for similar tasks in their real lives. An elite school in Israel has set up a Chess Academy run by a grandmaster. Boris Alterman reports.

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Shevah-Mofet Chess Academy

 By GM Boris Alterman

It’s no secret that today, when the education system in many countries faces huge problems of new materials and methodology, that students in school are having even more problems absorbing this new and rapidly changing material. Tests have shown that academic scores across the board went down dramatically in almost all countries. Unfortunately, the education systems are ignoring an important tool that could help students do better at school. Studies have proved that chess lessons improve students’ scores, help their social interaction, teach responsibility, and have a positive effect on their behavior.

According to my own experience, chess lessons dramatically change the attitude of students, and develop intuition and experience in modulating most practical solutions for similar tasks in their real lives. Chess lessons become the greatest tool for developing mind skills of students in the modern education systems.

In April 2008, I came with my middle son to an appointment at one of the most acclaimed high schools in Israel, “Shevah-Mofet” in Tel Aviv. The school is a result of a merger between Shevah, a vocational school, named after a relative of one of the founders, and Mofet, a night school for Russian immigrants, trying to assimilate in Israel.

The principal of the school, Dr. Dov Orbach, approached me and asked me to open the Shevah-Mofet Chess Academy. He promised me to do his best to bring chess lessons into the classes, build a special chess classroom for all levels, where the most gifted students will get the best opportunities to pursue the game intensively.

The Israeli Chess Federation and its chairman, Aviv Bushinsky, were pleased with the initiative and promised to support the Shevah Mofet Chess Academy.

The chess room is equipped with LCD screens, computers, an extensive library and, thanks to ChessBase’s generous contribution, plenty of the latest chess software.

 
ChessBase – sponsor of Shevah Mofet Chess Academy


There is a great chess atmosphere welcoming everyone who visits


A 42 inch flat screen showing top-of-the-line lessons by the best chess teacher – Garry Kasparov 

On the first of September with the start of the new school year the Shevah-Mofet Chess Academy opened its doors, and every morning kids learn chess on a regular basis. The more advanced students work with professional chess coaches, and the top kids are offered a master class. Curiously, school enrollment went up thanks to the new program! Principal Dr. Orbach has a high aim, wanting to see chess in the Israeli ‘Bagrut’ exams (the high school matriculation exams).


WFM Marsel Efromsky World under 12 Champion in the chess classroom

On December 22-29 during the Hanukah Holidays the Shevah Mofet Chess Academy organized the grandiose chess Festival. As a part of the Festival they had:

  • the Shevah-Mofet Chess Academy Opening Ceremony;
  • Simultanious exhibitions with the President of the Academy Nathan Sharansky, GM Boris Gelfand, GM Maxim Rodshtein, GM Eugeny Postny, IM Mark Berkovich and WFM Marsel Efroimsky;
  • The Israeli Youth Championships with 200 participants.


Former cabinet minister and author Natan Sharansky opens the Chess Academy


Boris Alterman demonstrates the ChessBase software to the guests

Simultaneous demonstrations with Nathan Sharansky, Boris Gelfand, Maxim Rodshtein , Eugeny Postny , Mark Berkovich and Marsel Efroimsky.


Nathan Sharansky


GM Boris Gelfand


GM Maxim Rodshtein


GM Eugeny Postny


Marsel Efroimsky

Closing Ceremony of the Israeli Youth Championships


Gil Popilsky Israeli Champion Under 15 (Shevah-Mofet School, Tel Aviv)


Marsel Efroimsky, Israeli Champion Girl Under 15 (Shevah-Mofet School, Tel-Aviv)
and Nitzan Shtainberg, Israeli Champion Open Under 11 (Haifa)


GM Boris Alterman, General Manager of the Shevah-Mofet Chess Academy



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