Marija and Kosara's project 'Children in Chess'

by ChessBase
7/13/2011 – The two Serbian sisters Marija and Kosara Stojanovic are on a mission to help hearing impaired children, and young people with mental disabilities, to find pleasure and enjoyment in chess. In their pilot project they conduct classes once a week, and organise simultaneous exhibitions and outdoor events. Wonderful work that needs to be supported – or simply emulated by others. Take a look.

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Project “Children in Chess”

A project entitled "Children in Chess" was created and conducted in Belgrade. In cooperation with the Savski Venac Municipality, the sisters Marija and Kosara Stojanovic (picture above), who are chess players and International Arbiters, worked on the pilot project, which encompasses work with hearing impaired children, and young people with mental disabilities.

Project participants from the school for deaf children

The classes were held at the Center for Accommodation and Daily Care of Children and Youth with Mental Disabilities, as well as at the Anton Skala Primary School.

Project participants from school for children with mental disabilities

The pilot project started at the end of February 2011 and lasted until the beginning of June, when a big simultaneous exhibition was held at the Anton Skala Primary School, along with three tournaments in each of the institutions. Apart from the project participants, the simultaneous exhibition also involved Serbian chess players GM Bojan Vuckovic, IM Jovan Todorovic and IM Dragan Stamenkovic, as well as famous Serbian actors and singers.

Kosara with designer and painter Milos Sibinovic, actor Goran Danicic

Serbian actor Nikola Ðuričko

Nikola can be seen on film, television, and in theater. His first notable film was in 1989, in a movie Poslednji krug u Monci. The Internet Movie Database lists him as appearing in at least 157 roles.

Marija with one of participants

Kosara with another participants

Participants enjoying a day our outdoor chess with Marija

The project engaged children aged from 6 to 20, accommodated at the Home for Children without Parental Care and the children from the Anton Skala Primary School, while the Daily Care of Children and Youth with Mental Disabilities included persons aged between 20 and 50. The classes were held once a week, in the format of two regular school classes. There, the attendants learned about the basic notions of chess as a game, chess pieces and their movement, as well as the notion of chess board.

The Stojanovic sisters (angels?!) Marija and Kosara with older participants

The project was aimed at bringing chess closer to children with special needs, as it could have a great effect on the psychological, intellectural, creative development, but also strengthen self-confidence and independent decision making.

After a three-month work with the children with special needs, the defectologists from the Center for Accommodation and Daily Stay of Children and Youth with Mental Disabilities said that, considering their limited intellectual abilities (the children have IQs between 50 and 70), a great success was accieved with the attendees, who learned to memorize and repeat the lessons.

About the Stojanovic sisters

WFM and IA Marija Stojanovic was born in Belgrade on December 11, 1983. She learned to play chess from her father Radovan. A multiple cadet champion of former Yugoslavia, she also has two bronze medals from the European youth rapid chess championships, she was a champion of Montenegro, and is a member of Montenegro's national chess team. She has been the Official Arbiter at more than 50 domestic and international tournaments, most notably the European Championship in Budva in 2009, the 2009 European Champions Cup in Ohrid, the World Cup for the blind and visually impaired in 2010, as well as the European Champions Cup in Plovdiv in 2010. She graduated from the Belgrade Business School in 2009 and from 2005 to 2007 worked in elementary schools with children in first to fourth grade. After that, she worked at a TV station as a chess program host, and simultaneously wrote articles for the daily newspaper Politika. Since 2008, she has been giving chess lessons to children in kindergartens and preschool classes. With her sister Kosara, she teaches chess in the children's workshop EGO (children aged 3 to 10), and also gives private lessons for children of pre-school age.

MC and IA Kosara Stojanovic was born in Belgrade on December 12, 1982. won the Belgrade Students’ Championship, and she is also a multiple champion of Belgrade and Serbia in high school team championships with her sister Marija. She has been an arbiter since 2005, and in 2010 she officially became an International Arbiter. As an international arbiter she has arbitrated in more than 50 domestic and international tournaments, most notably the ones mentioned above for her sister. Kosara graduated from the Belgrade Business School in 2009 and has extensive experience in work with children. She has written for the Sportski zurnal daily newspaper and worked on a TV station as a host of a chess program.

Call for donations

Marija and Kosara Stojanovic work at an association called Center for Development of Chess (Centar za Razvoj Šaha) as the Executive Board members – i.e. they are the people in charge of the project. "Due to the difficult situation in the country, we are still expecting news from the municipality to see whether the project will get approved again," writes Marija. "In the meantime we do charity work ( we teach them chess ) with children and youth at the Center."

If you feel like donating to their project here are the contact and bank details. If ever there was a worthy cause...

Jasna Sakotic, Executive Director
11000 BEOGRAD (Srbija), Velikomoravska 15
Tel:  +381 11 283 07 33
Fax: +381 64 16 48 180
EUR correspodent:
AGRIFRPP – Credit Agricole Paris
Acc. With Institution: 57A:

Beneficiary: 59:
IBAN RS35 3300 4705 0098 2108 67

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