JIS News

President of the Jamaica Chess Federation, Attorney-at-Law Ian Wilkinson, is encouraging more schools to introduce the game of chess to their curriculum to help address the spiraling level of violence plaguing the school system.
“If we get chess going fully into the schools and incorporated into society, we will reduce crime and violence significantly. The violence that we are experiencing now, the criminal behaviour being demonstrated by the youngsters … once we get into their minds and teach them chess, we will be creating a totally different society because the intellectual capital of our country will go up tremendously”, Mr. Wilkinson stated in an interview with JIS News.
Continuing, he asserted that “one of the beautiful things about playing chess is that it gives you such focus and such discipline that the kids who normally play chess don’t have the time to become criminals. You hardly find those kids becoming violent”.
This, the Chess Federation President contended, is because “playing chess helps to develop a lot of reasoning skills, logic and so on and from my experience, a lot of the people who [act violently] are people who can’t reason well and therefore they turn to brute force as a way of compensating”.
Chess is currently being taught in a number of schools in the corporate and rural areas and Mr. Wilkinson revealed that many of the aforementioned benefits are being realised to great effect.
“In a particular school that I will not mention, some of the students were regarded as very bad, you know bad, bad boys with weapons and teachers and other persons were afraid of them”, he recounted.
“But, we went into that particular school and other schools with similar problems and we have been teaching those kids chess and it was tough at first having regard to the personalities, but you would be amazed how we have slowly won them over. The teachers are singing our praises, the kids are better behaved, even some of the ‘baddest’ ones, and some of them now spend an hour or two just playing chess, because it keeps them out of trouble. They are fascinated by it and it is helping them with their Math and English,” he added.
According to Mr. Wilkinson the game of chess has been proven to be a great academic tool and that is another reason why the Federation is actively supporting chess in schools programme.
“With respect to tests done in Europe, Asia, Africa and here in the Caribbean – Cuba and Venezuela are two good examples – all the results show that children who play chess tend to develop academically because what you do when you play chess, you are actually exercising the brain,” he articulated.
The Chess Federation President further contended that “just as when you would go to the gym and lift weights you build your muscles, so when you are playing chess you exercise and build the brain and it becomes better and you are able to think better”.
On Saturday, December 13 the Jamaica Chess Federation will host a public chess exhibition at the Half-Way-Tree Transportation Centre, to expose the Jamaican public to what the game is all about. The event will begin at noon.

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