Chess in Plaviņas

Author: Yuri Agafonov


Chess and Education

All through the long history of chess people try to understand what it is: game, art or science. An interesting research on chess and its role in society has been conducted in year 2014 by Estere Fedoseeva, 11th grade pupil of Plaviņas Gymnasium, under the guidance of teacher of mathematics and physics Anita Seikovska.

The objective of the study was exploration of development of chess in Latvia and particularly in Plaviņas district. Issues on history of competitions, dynamics of chess popularity and reasons for absence of interest towards chess have been explored. Different research methods were applied: gathering and analysis of the public information, interviews with chess players of the district, videorecordings of competitions, survey of 421 pupils and 21 teachers of Plaviņas Gymnasium.

In primary school (1-4 grades) 44% of scholars know how to play chess, another 18% of children would like to learn to play, other 38% are not interested in chess. Why they are not interested? They prefer computer games (52%), 45% do not have free time for chess. In 5-9 grades interest for chess gets lower. 30% of scholars know how to play chess, 49% of pupils are not interested in chess. The reasons are “no free time” and “do not like chess”. In upper grades (10-12) proportion of pupils who consider that they know how to play chess reduces to 26%. Reasons for absence of interest towards chess are the same and in the same ratio – no time and do not like chess.

Teachers have a more positive attitude towards this intellectual activity: 52% know how to play, 10% would like to learn to play, 38% have no interest (63% are involved in other activities, 25% do not need chess, no physical activity – 12%).

Overall result for Plaviņas Gymnasium: one third of the pupils know how to play chess, almost a third would like to learn to and one third does not wish to attend. At earlier age chess is more interesting. This result was also confirmed by survey of local chess players. Consequently, chess training should start from early age, when interest is higher!

Estere has gathered and summarized statistics of local chess tournaments that are regularly held thanks to enthusiasm of U.Melderis.

Extensive school research included also video clips of blitz chessplayer games in lack of time. This part of the work was one of the reasons for undeservingly low assessment of the work on school research contest. The jury considered that a human can not think and make moves so fast, that “this video is a trick – high speed recording”. Obviously, they do not know how quickly founder of Microsoft Bill Gates has lost Magnus Carlsen. The richest man on Earth had two minutes and the world champion – thirty seconds in his disposal. However, eleven seconds were for Carlsen sufficient to checkmate the opponent:



Yuri Agafonov, PhD
yuri.agafonov (at)