Carlsen, Kasparov Promote Chess In Schools At Norwegian Parliament

Carlsen, Kasparov Promote Chess In Schools At Norwegian Parliament

| 34 | Chess Event Coverage

On Monday, chess world champions GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Garry Kasparov addressed the Norwegian parliament to promote chess in schools.

All photos Sverre Chr. Jarild/Stortinget, CC.

Norway's capital Oslo was the venue for a Monday morning of chess and politics combined. Hosted by the Norwegian Minister of Education, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, an event with Magnus Carlsen and Garry Kasparov attracted lots of attention.

The goal was to promote chess in schools in Norway. Specifically, the Norwegian Chess Federation intends to launch a trial where third- or fourth-graders get to have one hour of chess at school each week.

Carlsen giving a simul to children and politicians.

Although concrete research results are still scarce, chess is believed to have a positive impact on particularly math results of pupils. Kasparov used similar arguments to try and persuade the Norwegian politicians. Later that day he wrote on Twitter:

“I think the schools that currently use chess in education or school care, have much to teach other schools,” said Minister Isaksen.

“To all who are skeptical about chess in school I would like to say: You're wrong! There is nothing negative to have chess in schools,” said Abid Raja of the Liberal Party.

Abid Raja also played Magnus Carlsen in the simul.

Chess in schools is a hot topic in more and more countries in Europe. One example is Hungary, where Judit Polgar has been very successful in getting chess into schools.

Another example is Spain, where plan to make chess a compulsory subject in schools got a rare political majority last month. This majority came about after a recent study by the universities of Girona and Lleida that concluded students who learn chess at school develop their intellect significantly on several levels.

The Spanish initiative was based on the Chess in Schools program of the European Union. In March 2012, the European Parliament adopted the program after the written declaration for the implementation was signed by the majority of the MEPs.


Carlsen not only promoted chess in schools this week. On Friday the chess world champion and GStar fashion model launched his own clothing brand, Magnusgenseren — a traditional Norwegian sweater with chess-piece themes.

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