Ankara conference - chess for pre-school
Monday, 29 June 2015 19:49
logo full11407109 510169615803230 2751967033194051708 nThe Turkish Chess Federation and I’m Growing up with Chess Club (Satrançla Büyüyorum), with financial support from the SporToto Administration, have initiated a project that will establish chess corners in 1000 kindergartens across Turkey, introducing pupils in these kindergartens to chess and providing professional chess education to teachers in order to disseminate chess in kindergartens during the 2015-2016 academic term.

You can read more about the project and full details of the seminar below.

The project will be initiated in regional centres such as Ankara, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Gaziantep, İstanbul, İzmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Mersin, Ordu and Sivas, then will be put into practice in other provinces in the upcoming years.

Before the initiation of this project, in order to provide information about different chess teaching methods in Turkey and abroad; compare and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of teaching methods and eventually create an exemplary teaching method through the mutual exchange of ideas, the Turkish Chess Federation and I’m Growing up with Chess Club, with the financial support of the Republic of Turkey Promotion Fund, organized a workshop entitled “International Comparison of Chess Education Models for Preschool Level”. The workshop took place on 13-14 June 2015 at Meyra Palace Hotel in Ankara.

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 International representatives included several FIDE-CiS people: Kevin O’Connell (Chairman), Alessandro Dominici (consultant to Chairman), Alexander Kostyev (Deputy Chairman of Higher Education and Research) and Radislav Atanassov (Bulgaria national coordinator).

In the TV clip, TSF President Gülkiz Tulay said “We will discuss how to integrate and disseminate chess in kindergartens and how to carry these activities far into the future. The kindergarten dimension of chess education will be discussed by leading chess figures from Turkey and experts from the World Chess Federation in depth. We will witness the progress of chess education in kindergartens in the upcoming workshops.”

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In the same TV clip, Kevin O’Connell spoke of the research (from a respected Pedagogical University) announced at the conference in Yerevan last year, demonstrating the clear benefits of teaching chess to children. You may be able to hear the English, but if not, the significance of the hand was to show how the development (especially as regards their creativity) of children entering the first year of the Armenian chess in schools programme (at the age of 7 – the little finger) compared with those in the second year of the programme (ring finger), after three years of the programme (9 year olds - middle finger) and the ten year olds (index finger) who had not been involved at all in the chess programme.

You may download the initial project Satrançla Büyüyorum  leaflet. The English translation of which is :


1. “I’m growing up with chess”

2. 'Why chess?'

The results of important research on how the brain works are worrisome. A large majority of humans only use 6-7% of their brain potential. The unused cells die in a short period, such as 6-7 months. Based on the results of a multitude of scientific research, it is proven that chess helps the growth of intellect and with the topics outlined below:

1.       Improves focusing and concentration 

2.       Develops the ability of visualization and animation

3.       Allows thinking forward, being patient and thoughtful

4.       Allows looking at other options beyond just the first

5.       Improves the ability to analyze

6.       Promotes looking at the big picture

7.       Improves the ability to plan

8.       Improves motivation

9.       Promotes better student behaviour

10.   Helps to know oneself better and improves self-confidence

11.   Gives rise to conceptual learning ability

3. Students and chess

One piece of research found that chess improves general scholastic success by 17% and provides great improvement in the IQ levels of the students. Big increases in mathematical development of those children who play chess have been recorded.

It was further found that chess helps greatly to socialize students and at the end of 2 years of chess classes at school, disagreements and fights between students have been reduced by 60%. Chess is especially used as one of the possible treatment methods for children who suffer from attention deficit (ADHD).

4. The project of disseminating chess to pre-schools

The project is handled jointly by the presidency of Spor Toto Organization, the Turkish Chess Federation, and the “I’m Growing Up with Chess” club and will be applied throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

Before being disseminated in other provinces, the project will be applied first in the provinces that are in the centre of the regions, such as Ankara, Antalya, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Gaziantep, İstanbul, İzmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Mersin, Ordu, and Sivas.

Steps of the project

-          in 14 provinces, in a total of 1000 preschools, chess sets will be distributed for both teachers and students.

-          the preschool teachers will be trained to be able to teach chess in preschool, and chess books will be distributed to them

-          books suitable for children will also be distributed

-          300 garden chess sets will be built among the preschools whose gardens are suitable.

-          Two copies of a quarterly publication will be sent to all preschools, explaining the interaction of chess with our lives.

5. Why preschool?

According to scientific research, it is determined that the best age to start chess is between 4 and 6. The importance of acquaintance with chess by our children in these age groups is shown by improvements in their general educational development.


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There were three separate workshops on the second day. Many interesting methods, using games and stories were on display. We will feature some of them over the coming weeks and months. As usual, the hospitality provided by the TSF was splendid.

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“Dissemination of Chess in Pre-schools Project”

International Chess Seminar


To disseminate chess in pre-schools in Turkey, an initiative was made by Turkish Chess Federation (TCF) and I’m Growing up with Chess (IGC) Club. The project is supported by Spor Toto Organization, and will be applied throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

Before being disseminated in other provinces, the project will be applied first in the provinces that are in the centre of the regions in Turkey, such as Ankara, Antalya, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Gaziantep, İstanbul, İzmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Mersin, Ordu, and Sivas.

Steps of the project

-          in 14 provinces, in a total of 1000 pre-schools, chess sets will be distributed for both teachers and students. In each class 15 chess sets, 1 education board and a comprehensive book for teachers. The book will contain a general curriculum and detailed methods of chess training for kids.

-          the preschool teachers will be trained to be able to teach chess in preschool. They will be given a certificate by TCF to show that they are eligible to teach chess in pre-school level.

-          300 garden chess sets will be built among the preschools whose gardens are suitable.

-       Two copies of a quarterly publication will be sent to all preschools, explaining the interaction of chess with our lives.


International Chess Seminar took place at Meyra Palace Hotel, Ankara, Turkey on 13-14 June 2015, with the collaboration of I’m Growing up with Chess Club and Turkish Chess Federation (TCF) with the support of Turkish Promotion Fund and Spor Toto Administration. The purpose of the Seminar is to tell the importance of the Dissemination of Chess in Pre-schools Project, to discuss the different methods of chess training in pre-school level and to search the best methodology for the Project. The participants were selected as to be the representative of the Project in different places. They are expected to specify the classes where the Project will be applied and train pre-school teachers.

Chess instructors and trainers showed great interest to the seminar, which brought experts on chess from all over the world. The two-day seminar consisted of 4 general sessions and 3 groups sessions in which various educational methods and the measures that needs to be taken to disseminate chess in pre-schools are extensively discussed.

Opening remarks were made by Halil İbrahim Sarı, the president of I’m Growing up with Chess Club, Turkish Chess Federation (TCF) Executive Board Member Kasım Yekeler and, the President of Turkish Chess Federation Gülkız Tulay. Each speech emphasised different aspects of the necessity of new and innovative chess teaching methods for children.

1st Session:General Overview of Chess Education Across the World

Speakers: Kevin O’Connell, Olgun Kulaç, Alexander Kostyev

FIDE Chess in Schools Commission Chairman Kevin O’Connell evaluated the current status of chess education across the world. O’Connell shared several examples of typical mistakes in chess education from different countries. O’Connell asserted that digital means of education should be used in chess education. European Chess Union Educational Commission Secretary and the Head of the Chess Department at Russian State Social University Alexander Kostyev talked about chess education in Russia. Head of TCF Central Arbitration Committee and author of many chess education books Olgun Kulaç indicated that children tend to learn faster among all other age groups and discussed how these children can be taught more effectively. Menderes Sargın, founder of Chess Academy, pointed out that digital technology should be utilized and education should be integrated with games for chess education in pre-schools.

2nd  Session: “Using Psychomotricity Method in Chess Education and Why Chess in Pre-schools?”

Speakers: Alessandro Dominici, Aşkın Taşan, Barış Akyıldız

The second session highlighted evaluations regarding why chess education should be given in pre-schools. Societal and individual benefits of chess and pre-school students’ capabilities compared to other age groups were evaluated by the presentations made in this session. Alessandro Dominici informed the participants about the C.A.S.T.L.E. project funded by the European Union and supported by FIDE. The project utilizes psychomotricity method. In this session, various chess teaching methods across Turkey were also discussed and their videos were shown to the participants.

3rd Session:  “Teaching Materials in Chess Education”

Speakers: Olga Dolzkaya, Ali Özen, Ozan Çapan

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This session focused on significant points that need to be taken into consideration about teaching materials that will be used in pre-schools. It was discussed that children between the ages 4-6 tend to use their instincts rather than their rationality. In this respect, in chess education different methods attracting the attention of children should be utilized. Olga Dolzkaya, who attended to the seminar from Norway, talked about the activities of the school that famous chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen once had attended. Dolzkaya also shared details about successful books that she had written specifically for children. In this section, topics such as making concepts that normally does not exist childrens’ vocabulary, meaningful and how to make chess more meaningful for children with the help of games were discussed.

4th Session: “Remarks on Seminar Objectives and Information on Dissemination of Chess in Pre-schools Project”

Speakers: Kasım Yekeler, Nilüfer Çınar Çorlulu, Nilgün Dirim

Nilgün Dirim made a presentation on importance of chess education at preschool level, the objectives and principles of chess education and the importance of chess traineers in chess education. Nilüfer Çınar Çorlulu gave an extensive place to famous chess players’ lives. Kasım Yekeler presented the objectives and progress of the “Dissemination of Chess in Pre-schools Project”.

2nd DAY

The second day of the International Chess Seminar continued with small-group workshops. The workshops were held simultaneously in three different rooms. The workshop topics were as follows: “Teaching Chess with Motion and Stories”, “Teaching Materials in Chess Education”, “The Objective and Methodology of ‘Dissemination of Chess in Pre-schools’ Project: Suggestions and Critiques” and “Benefits of Chess in Daily Life and Implementation in Pre-schools”.

Following the group workshops, outcomes of the workshops were shared through a collective exchange of ideas with the moderation of TCF Executive Board Member Kasım Yekeler. Topics that were discussed in the last session are as follows:

1st Workshop Group

“Teaching Chess with Motion and Stories”

Moderators: Beyhan Somalı, Hatice Bağdagül Enzin

Discussants: Kevin O’Connell, Alessandro Dominici, Aşkın Taşan

General overview of chess education in Turkey and the objectives of projected chess education were emphasized. The participants received information from foreign experts about how chess education is being implemented in other countries. Topics that were discussed during the fist workshop is are follows:

1. Previous chess education implementations in Turkey were shared and discussed by instructors who actively teach chess. Games and videos from Hatice Bağdagül Enzin Kurtbaş’s archive were shared with participants.

2. Kevin O’Connell indicated that children between the ages 4-6 should be first taught on giant chessboard, since children at that particular age frame do not have a developed vocabulary.

3. It is important to evoke desire and excitement and to motivate children through the utilization of music. Chess education with the help of visual, aural and tactual means are very significant.

4. It is important to put some objects on giant chessboard to encourage teaching the notion of squares.

5. Whilst playing games in classroom it is important to utilize some other games before teaching chess rules in order to prepare an efficient environment for teaching chess rules. These games might not necessarily be related to chess. (Example: The Rope Game)

6. It is suggested that visual and written materials that have been used Italian chess education can also be used in Turkey.

7. Teachers were encouraged to use stories that are their own creation. Additionally, playing folk music during mate helps in creating an entertaining environment for children.

8. The chair and the rope games were displayed by Hatice Bağdagül Enzin.

9. Candy shaped materials can be placed on chess boards to teach the concept of capturing pieces.

10. It is suggested that Chess Cartoon channel on YouTube can be utilized to find numerous animations and cartoons about chess.

11. A film, in which children are playing in school garden along with chess song, was shown to the participants.

Instructors and teachers expect:

1. Creation of a proper curriculum,

2. Creation of physical infrastructure in schools,

3. Procurement of educational materials and visuals,

until September 2015.

2nd Workshop Group

“Teaching Materials in Chess Education”

Moderators: Fatma Yılmaz, Zuhal Demir

Discussants: Alexander Kostyev, Ozan Çapan, Barış Akyıldız.

In this particular group, it was discussed that there exists a suitable educational system for everybody. What really matters is to find the correct educational system.

Topics that were discussed during the second workshop are as follows:

1. In order for chess education to reach its objectives, it is important to use the right educational system and the right educational materials.

2. In this respect, using right materials in chess education can make wonders but in the wrong hands these materials can be unproductive.

3. Children should actively take place in games regardless of the kind of materials that are being used in the process. Children tend to prefer performing actively rather than being a spectator.

4.  Given that children are inclined to the use of technology, CDs that integrate technology and education should be used.

5. The most ideal educational system should be integrated with the richest materials in the right hands.

The materials to be used should be as follows:

1. Chess carpet

2. Songs about chess

3. Chess cartoons                               

4. Chess animations

5. Stories related to chess

6. Teaching the concept of “checkmate” through playing tag

7. Preschool chess books

8. Colouring books specifically designed for chess

9. Creating chess pieces out of recyclable materials (such as making pawns out of toilet rolls)

10. Chess puppets

11. Figures that dramatize chess moves

12. Chess software (Dragon chess, chess master etc.)

13. Teaching directions through games

14. Chess riddle cards

15. Chess crosswords

16. Chess puzzle

17. Chess car race games

18. Chess pieces made of chocolate

19. Surprise Chocolate Eggs (with chess pieces inside)

20. Chess sets made of dices (each dice having chess figures on them. Another extra dice with chess figures on it. The movement of chess pieces is made in accordance with the result of extra dice is when it is thrown)

21. Chess teams

22. Wearing black and white clothes and hats made of cardboard pieces enable children to depict themselves as one of the chess pieces.

23. Giant chessboard in school gardens

24. Chess visuals

25. Chess diagrams in every classroom

26. Earning chess figures in accordance with success (earning pawns at the beginning, earning 3 pawns equal to a knight or bishop etc.)

27. Chessboards designed for visually impaired people are useful to discriminate between black and white squares when children’s eyes are tied.

28. Utilization of mechanical chess clocks to provide silence.

29. Team competitions for chess (helps in understanding the opponents’ and one’s own thoughts)

3rd Workshop Group

“The objective and Methodology of ‘Dissemination of Chess in Pre-schools’ Project: Suggestions and Critiques” and “Benefits of Chess in Daily Life and Implementation in Pre-schools

Moderators: Nihan Şahin Güneş, Emine Alparslan, Aylin İbişoğlu, Sultan Daban

Discussants: Menderes Sargın, Nilgün Dirim, Ali Özen, Olgun Kulaç, Nilüfer Çınar Çorlulu

The ideas about the implementation methodology are as follows:

1. Methodology of Selection of schools for the project:

-The priority will be given to the pre-schools with teachers having chess trainer certificate.

-The priority will be given to school administrations that are willing to implement the project.

2. Project education methodology for teachers

- Selected teachers will be given project training

- After the completion of the education, education will be carried on interactively distance education learning program.

3. Methodology of Selection of educational materials and usage of the materials

- Collection of various dispersed pre-school materials and upcycle these materials to put them in use for the project

- Organization of a competition to gather different ideas about materials for chess education in pre-schools.

- Webpages specifically designed for teachers to publish and share their own materials and documents.

4. Education Methodology of the Project

- Creating an educational methodology for children between 48-66 months old.

- Existing educational should be researched in order to find the most suitable method for chess education.

- Preparation of student and teacher kits.

5. Methodology for the Project Evaluation

- Evaluation reports should be added to documents that will be distributed to teachers and families.

- Visuals and educational reports should be shared with TCF on a regular basis.

- Children, who participate in this project, should be reported to the educational committee when they proceed to primary school.

Suggestions on the objective and implementation methodology of ‘Dissemination of Chess in Pre-schools’ project are as follows:

1- A Teachers’ Manual should be prepared. Materials that will be used during the project should be prepared following the order starting from the most basic to the most complicated.

2- Activity books should be prepared.

3- Documents aiming to inform parents before and during the implementation of the project should be prepared.

4- Information should be clear and basic.

5- Activity books or documents should be prepared for families.

6- Informing parents about the project should be made by handouts or a presentation.

7- The project should also consider families who have no knowledge of chess. Information should be given via videos, social networking and webpages when necessary.

8- Methodology should be prepared for children between 48 - 66 months old (in order to project to fit in to the protocol signed between TCF and Ministry of National Education of Turkey)

9- For each class/children there should be a chess development file and report. These documents should regularly be sent to TCF. Teacher evaluations should also be considered.

10- Activity documents might be published on the Internet.

11- Documents, videos and other materials should be shared via TCF’s or I’m Growing Up With Chess Club’s websites.

12- Computer software specifically designed for children at preschool level should be prepared. A project should be designed for this purpose.

13- Chess puppets should be made.

14- Stories, colouring cards, cut-and-paste cards and puzzles should be made.

15- Even after the completion of the project, education for teachers should continue via distant learning programs.

16- Materials aiming to popularize chess among children and proper methodologies for teachers should be prepared.

17- Play templates should be prepared to teach chess through dramas. These plays should be performed by children at the end of the year.

18- Methods that stimulate children’s motion and rhythm senses should be created.

19- Educational video outputs should be prepared.

20- Multiple creative educational models should be prepared for teachers in order to provide creativity and flexibility in teaching.

21- Instructors/teachers should use proper course materials during the implementation of the project and these course materials should be accessible to all participants.

22- The project should be first implemented in schools located near city centers to make it easier to access. The project should later be disseminated in other places depending on its success.

23- The project should be enriched with evaluation and tracking of reports (including visual reports).

24- Simple and natural methods should be used.

25- Families should also be considered as an active part of the project.

Project Outputs

All stages of the conference and all summaries of the seminars and workshops will be were recorded and these materials will be published online. In this respect, the program will be available to those who did not have the opportunity to access the conference. This will also help in sustaining the effects of this seminar in the future.  Handouts for “Chess in Pre-schools” were distributed to participants. All participants received laser pointer pens with USB sticks. All speakers were given laptop bags that have the program’s logo on them. A website was created to promote the project and details were shared via this website. 


Turkish press showed great interest to the event. TRT (Turkish National Radio and Television) News and TRT Sport channels followed the conference attentively, broadcasted news and interviewed the FIDE Chess in Schools chairman Kevin O’Connell and the president of Turkish Chess Federation Gülkız Tulay. Additionally, Ülke TV invited the president of Turkish Chess Federation, Gülkız Tulay, and the president of I’m Growing Up With Chess Club, Halil İbrahim Sarı, to a television program. TRT Sport radio channel also broadcasted the seminar live on radio. Many national and local newspapers published news on our seminar; Ministry of Youth and Sports of Turkey also published news on its official website. European Chess Union (ECU) and World Chess Federation (FIDE) announced the seminar on their websites.
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