State to continue program training educators to teach chess

By ETHAN DEWITT

New Hampshire Bulletin

Published: 06-19-2023 6:09 PM

New Hampshire will extend a program this summer to train educators to teach chess in schools, seizing on what officials say is an increased interest in the game among students. 

On Wednesday, the Executive Council approved a $60,000 federally funded contract to allow the company Chess in Education to host training programs this summer and fall for teachers around chess. The trainings will focus on how to incorporate the game into classroom curricula. 

Proposed by the state’s Department of Education, the contract will also give participating teachers access to chess equipment and software, as well as support in setting up their own learning programs at school. 

The department argues learning chess can teach children lessons in problem-solving, planning, and time management, and that those skills transfer well to real-world job requirements. 

The contract is an extension of a similar 2021 state initiative called Granite Gambit, a reference to a popular 2021 Netflix show, “The Queen’s Gambit.” State officials say the success of that show has inspired an interest in chess among middle school and high school students.

Last year, 83 teachers from both public and private schools participated in the instruction, according to the Department of Education, and 61 earned a “Level 1 Certification” after a four-day program. That requires them to design a lesson plan that uses chess. Seventeen went further and passed the “Level 2 certification” class, which required them to create a professional development day for chess instruction at their own school. 

The initiative has so far distributed 732 chess sets to New Hampshire teachers and schools, a spokeswoman for the department said. 

“The program … was successful among educators and students, and the demand for participation has increased,” Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut wrote in his presentation to the council this week.

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