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  • Year 2 95%
  • Year 3 98.2%
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Chess @ Phoenix

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Chess is becoming increasingly popular in schools; nine out of 10 private schools promote it in some way, and state schools are slowly catching up. ‘Chess helps to develop children’s critical thinking and reasoning, encourages them to plan ahead, and teaches them that their actions have consequences,’ says Malcolm Pein, chief executive of Chess in Schools.

Chess has slightly different benefits for boys and girls. ‘Boys tend to be good decision-makers but don’t always think their decisions through first, and chess teaches them to do that,’ explains Mike Basman, founder of the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge. ‘Girls are typically more cautious in making decisions, and chess gives them more confidence in that.’

Research backs up the educational benefits of chess: an American study of 3,000 students showed that playing chess led to higher grades in English and Maths. It also encourages problem-solving, sportsmanship and self-esteem, often allowing quieter children to shine. ‘It’s great for children’s concentration and patience: it’s the antidote to computer games,’ adds Malcolm.

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