Playing Chess Does Not Make Children More Intelligent

September 9, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. validate / ˈvæl ɪˌdeɪt /  (v.) – to prove
Example: His actions validated her suspicions about him.

2. ardent / ˈɑr dnt /  (adj.) – enthusiastic
Example: My brother is an ardent moviegoer.

3. virtuoso /ˌvɜr tʃuˈoʊ soʊ / (n.) – an expert in a field
Example: He is known as a piano virtuoso.

4. debunk / dɪˈbʌŋk / (v.) – to reveal something to be false
Example: Scientists debunked his incredible claims.

5. rampant / ˈræm pənt / (adj.) – uncontrolled
Example: The police were tasked to stop the rampant drug use in the city.


Read the text below.
A study conducted by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in England revealed that playing chess does not improve the academic performance of children.

There has been a long-held belief that playing chess increases intelligence. Notable figures who appear to validate the belief include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Jon Speelman, both ardent chess players and virtuosos in their individual fields. Mozart was a famous composer from the 1700s, while 59-year-old Speelman has multiple PhDs in Mathematics. Even a recent study conducted in Italy reinforced the belief. However, this new study from England may have debunked it.                                                                                                                                                 
In the study, 3,000 students aged 9 and 10 took 30 hours of chess lessons in one school year. The study revealed that those who took chess lessons showed no significant increase in their exam grades compared to those who did not take chess lessons.

Although playing chess did not end up improving the children's grades, more than half of them stated that they enjoyed the lessons, and nearly a third of them continued to play chess once a week even after the study. In line with this, Sir Kevan Collins, head of the EEF, advocated playing chess for the enjoyment it brings to the players. Similarly, Christopher McGovern of the Campaign for Real Education advocated playing chess because it can be a good alternative to the rampant use of electronic gadgets and social media.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your country, do parents encourage children to do after-school activities? Why or why not?
·         Aside from chess, what are other alternatives to social media and electronic gadget use?

Discussion B

·         Do you think grades are a good measure of intelligence? Why or why not?
·         Do you think students in your country are pressured to get good grades? Why or why not?

September 9, 2016