Chess players, masters and enthusiasts are familiar with the term, “brilliant move!” It means that a particular move is an excellent one as it either gives tremendous advantage to the player who made the move or it has guaranteed victory, most often times though, it is both.
The Department of Education has recently executed a brilliant move that deserves applause and support, from Philippine chess community, the students, their teachers and their parents; the inclusion of chess in the curriculum of elementary and high school students all over the country.
In a memo dated Jan. 8, Lapus ordered that chess should be included in the Edukasyon sa Pagpapalakas ng Katawan subject of Grade 3 to 6 students and in the Physical Education classes of those in high school.
“Global studies have shown that chess is a game that improves individual organizational and analytical skills. Children when exposed to this game at an early age achieve academically better or even faster than those who have not been engaged in said game,” Lapus said.
“Likewise, chess is among the activities that help build memory skills, concentration, self-confidence, self-esteem and in making disciplined decisions,” he added.
Sure basketball is the most popular sport in the country, but chess is in a league of its own. Young and old, scholars and street-smart alike are drawn to the game either by curiosity or the thrill of facing your intellectual match.
You don’t need to be in top physical form or reach a particular height like in basketball, in chess all you need is your mind, a chess set and if you can’t physically move the pieces, you can ask some one to do it for you. That’s just one of the beauties of chess.
Aside from the great accessibility chess offers to anyone interested in it, the rewards of playing the game is priceless. Sudoku or scrabble may be a good exercise for the brain, but you need to have above average understanding of mathematics for the former and a good command of the English language for the latter. In chess, calculations simply involve estimation of material or tactical gains, practical application of simple arithmetic, and it is blind for human language because the players only need to move the pieces to play the game.
All throughout the game, from the opening move to the bloody battles of the middle game then to the thrilling chase of the end game, chess reveals the true personalities of the players, their attitudes, their creative capacities, their courage and humility. And best of all, they learn from each others’ moves and mistakes.
I say this because I’ve been a product of passionate chess playing and training back in my high school days. Proudly, I can say that part of what I am today, is because of chess.
I just hope that schools and educators would support this effort by the DepEd, for I’m sure that chess would do wonders to our students. I’m also sure that given the continued support, it will do wonders for our country.