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Chess Integrated into National Curriculum in Hungary

The Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development has released a supplement to the National Curriculum, and made Judit Polgar’s “Skill-building Chess” subject available for elementary schools from September 2013.

The Judit Polgar Chess Foundation for Educational Benefits has been working on the “Chess Palace” program for more than a year, running pilot projects in several schools from September 2012.

The program proved to be very successful with children, teachers, parents and educational professionals as well. From last September there has been a non-stop interest from many other school in Hungary, and also many schools from several other countries.

Judit Polgar

Judit Polgar

Because of the great interest in this initiative, the Foundation regularly holds open lessons to demonstrate the methodology to teachers and professionals interested in introducing the subject at their own school.

Judit Polgar has also developed an elementary student book and workbook series called “Chess Palace” for 1-4 grade students. This, so far unique, teaching material, instead of teaching chess as a sport and game the traditional way, goes beyond the normal boarders of chess teaching, and focuses on improving academic skills, logical, creative thinking and problem solving, preparing children to be able to accept the challenges of the digital society they live in.

The Chess Palace series is supported by a teacher training, a very practical teachers’ guide book and also provides a detailed learning toolkit available even for schools with very limited finances, so they can adopt the whole program easily.

“I’m glad we were able to come up with this extremely complex and well-structured program, and find the way to integrate chess into public education in Hungary, as one of the first countries to do this in Europe. In this project we use chess as an exceptional learning tool, and we found the way to make strong connection with fundamental subject such as math, reading and writing. We managed to completely integrate our chess into the regular elementary school curriculum. The winners of tomorrow will be able to deliver smart strategic and creative thinking and quick problem-solving, which can all be playfully imbibed by children through chess.”- said Judit Polgar after the official announcement of the decision.

The graphics and illustrations of the Chess Palace series have been created by Judit’s sister, Sofia Polgar. The most obvious way to reach children in a digital world is through their own digital devices, such as tablets and smart phones. Judit Polgar has achieved this already, having launched her own chess application called ChessPlayground as well.

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