Chess in Kindergarten – a scientific expertise

Expertise for the Scientifically-supported Project “Chess in Kindergarten”

with kind permission of Ralf Schreiber of the initiative “Chess for Kids”

The innovative project “Chess for Kids”, which was started under the aegis of the project manager, Ralf Schreiber, in 2005, can be judged as extremely valuable following the fresh term from 01.03.2008 – 31.10.2009.

The scientific expertise is based on a substantive data from eleven project kindergartens and 18 children’s groups, consisting of kids and preschoolers. Around 500 children were involved in the project. Representative sources, including 259 observation documents and film clips, 650 selfreports from the participating kindergarteners and teachers, 1630 responses from children, their parents and grandparents were qualitatively analyzed. Extensive video recordings and photo series objectivized the events.

The scientific study provided valid evidence that chess is suitable as an educational aid in kindergarten and that it optimally stimulates the social and individual development of children between the ages of three and six. Chess contributes to character formation. Conflict potentials are relativized evermore reasonably and the disparities between the game partners are respected. The atmosphere in the daily routine of kindergarten is reassured. Order and discipline are stabilized when playing chess. Astonishingly, after a relatively short period of time, the diverse effects of early childhood support and development mediated by chess are noticeable on social relationships, the will to do something well and properly, to respect the rules, to behave sensibly, to learn and to master new challenges. “Chess is lovely. I feel good. I feel great!” This is the basic tenor of interviews with children about playing chess in kindergartens. Endurance of concentration, memory retention, self-confidence, desire for new adventure learning, pre-requisites for basic communication skills and the acquisition of cultural techniques such as reading, calculating and writing are initiated.

The kindergarteners and teachers were not unaffected by the “Chess for Kids” project. They learn about their protégés, their development resources and individual talents from a new angle. Groundbreaking impulses emerged from the project “Chess for Kids”, which is new in the world and is now scientifically proven from an educationalpsychological perspective. All those involved contributed with exceptional enthusiasm and in a coordinated manner, that in a relatively short time, it could be shown that the experiences from the unique project “Chess for Kids” is worth conveying throughout Germany. The problems (keywords: PISA shock, innovation deficit) should be overcome, where they emerge, in kindergartens and day-care centers.

Dr. Marion Bönsch-Kauke
Scientific Director of the Project
© Schach für Kids, Ralf Schreiber, Rathausplatz 12, 45525 Hattingen, Germany, Email: All rights reserved. Reproduction, including extracts, only with the approval of Ralf Schreiber.