Attack on Chess in Schools
MF. Garri Pacheco

Attack on Chess in Schools

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Chess, globally recognized for its ability to develop cognitive skills, faces a significant challenge at the Claretian School of Lima, Peru. This educational institution has been a pioneer in the inclusion of chess in its curriculum for 17 years, benefiting more than 1600 students. The results have been remarkable: improvements in academic performance and sporting successes, including national champions, South American champions, and medalists in world school championships.

However, recently, UGEL 03, an educational regulatory body in the region, issued Official Letter No. 01479-2024-MINEDU, recommending that chess be removed as a curricular subject and become an extracurricular activity. This decision represents a significant setback for the school community, which has seen chess as a valuable tool for the integral development of students.

UGEL 03 not only suggests this change but also imposes the requirement that chess teachers have a pedagogical degree for teaching chess, something that currently does not exist in Peru. This measure disqualifies the school's teachers who hold FIDE Master and FIDE Instructor titles, in addition to having extensive experience and qualifications for teaching chess. In practice, this decision would prevent qualified teachers from continuing to teach during academic hours.

Various institutions, chess players, and figures in the education sector see this recommendation as unreasonable and are willing to exhaust all administrative and judicial avenues to reverse this decision. The educational community and parents are deeply concerned about the negative impact this measure would have on students, especially those who do not participate in competitions but enjoy and benefit from chess as a formative activity.

What is even more disconcerting is the apparent discrimination against chess. While other sports such as athletics, soccer, volleyball, swimming, and table tennis remain in the curriculum, only chess has been singled out for removal. This raises a crucial question: Is chess less of a sport?

The chess community in Lima, and indeed around the world, expects the International Chess Federation (FIDE) to take a stance on this matter. An official statement and visible support from FIDE could be crucial in reversing this situation. A letter addressed to the Ministry of Education of Peru and a public statement on FIDE’s platforms could make a significant difference.

This case of the Claretian School of Lima is a clear example of the struggle to maintain and promote chess in schools. It is a call to action for all chess lovers, educators, and advocates of the science sport to unite efforts and ensure that chess continues to be a vital part of our youth's education.

Les saluda el MF. Garri Pacheco, director de la Academia Ajedrez de Silicio. Como deportista calificado de alto nivel fui dos veces Campeón Panamericano (Argentina 2001 y Colombia 2003), representé al Perú en 4 Campeonatos Mundiales. También, me desempeño como profesional en el mundo informático, promuevo el buen uso de las herramientas tecnológicas para el progreso en ajedrez.


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