All posts by Stefan Löffler

Call for Presentations

The London Chess and Education Conference wants to bring together the best chess in education experts and projects. Workshops with presentations from different countries have proven to be an efficient way to instill international exchange, cooperation and joint projects. We are inviting contributions on the following school chess related topics:

Chess and Maths
Early Years Chess
Inclusion and Integration in School Chess
Chess Interventions for Children with Special Needs
Training Education Professionals to Teach Chess
Chess Teachers´ Qualification Needs and Certification
Chess in Camps for School Students
International Exchanges in School Chess
Lobbying for School Chess

Please contact us if you are interested to present in any of these workshops or if you want us to consider an additional topic.

Spanish Parliament Supports School Chess

Leontxo Garcìa is a succesful lobbyist for chess in Spain
Leontxo Garcìa is a succesful lobbyist for chess in Spain
The political camps rarely agree on anything in Spain. However, when it comes to chess in schools, politicians from all parties represented in the education commission of the Spanish Parliament came together to support the introductio of chess in schools, as reports El Paìs in its English edition. Although their decision is not immediately allocating resources, this is a major opportunity and has been accomplished by two initiators: Pablo Martìn, a member of parliament (here´s a video of his speech in parliament – in Spanish) and journalist Leontxo Garcìa, who was a speaker at our conferences in 2013 and 2014.

Skak gør børn klogere

This means “Chess makes children smarter” and is the headline of a six minute report by Denmark´s TV 2 main news broadcast last Monday.

denmark tv2 newsThe TV talked to Michael Rosholm and Andreas Rasch Christensen from the University Aarhus. There research was done on a pilot, where fifth-graders had one weekly maths lesson replaced by a weekly chess lesson for one school year, after which they did better on maths than pupils in a control group. Rosholm, a reputed education scientist, said that chess teaches thinking, and that thinking ahead and improved self-control are likely the main factors to explain the improved performances. The TV crew visited Virupskolen, a school in Hjortshoej, where an impressed teacher, Linne Nissen, said that she is going to start chess with her first grade next year.

Watch this: Hours of Conference Video!

A great deal of the conference can now be accessed on video thanks to Karel van Delft.

Anna Nicotera discusses the available studies on chess in schools and implications for future research. Susan Sallon studies effects in English primary schools. Roberto Trinchero presents new data from Italy. Giovanni Sala explores metacognition effects of chess. There is also a video on the post conference research workshop.

The conference comes alive with speakers like Wendi Fischer
The conference comes alive with speakers like Wendi Fischer
Bo Johansson considers from an education scientist´s point of view which children benefit from chess and why. His colleague Christina Schenz argues for chess to promote giftedness in all children. Roland Grabner introduces the conditions of successful maths learning and how chess can contribute. David Wells reviews connections between chess and maths. Jorge Nuno Silva takes you by fasttrack through the history of games and mathematical learning. Rob Eastaway shows how simple games (some of which can be transfered to the chess board) convey mathematical insight.

Wendi Fischer presents the holistic approach of the First Move curriculum. Jennifer Shahade tackles gender issues and presents new formats of informal learning through strategic games. And this video highlights the exhibition and exchange of ideas.

Karel van Delft
Karel van Delft
An overview of all videos that are available can be found on Karel´s website

It´s Time for Cooperation!

Standing up for Cooperation: Jesper Hall
Standing up for Cooperation: Jesper Hall

A selection from the unprompted, written feedback we have received:

Jesper Hall, Sweden:
“I think it was brilliant in many ways, both the content but also because it gathered a lot of the driving forces of the different projects of Chess in Schools around Europe. I have a feeling that this can be the start of a new era (well I know that it sounds a bit exaggerated, but still…) in that sense that it is now time for cooperation.”

Frank Wright, UK:
“I write to thank you for an excellent and most stimulating conference. It was very useful and most enjoyable. It will be of great benefit to me in my chess teaching at Bramhall Primary School, Stockport.”

Tal Granite, Canada:
“It was very informative and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.”

David Wells, UK:
“Many thanks for a great conference packed with interesting people and fascinating ideas which will give me a lot to think about. I am already looking forward to the next one. Everyone was so friendly and sociable. I am sending emails to quite a few people with whom I hope to keep in touch and exchange views in the coming year.”

Anna Nicotera, USA:
“It was a pleasure to present, but even more, I truly enjoyed meeting with everyone who attended. There are some great research projects and I learned a lot from talking with folks about the details of their projects and the issues they have faced. It is very productive to have this kind of conversations in person.”

Left to right: Luba Alterman, John Foley, Wendi Fischer, Anna Nicotera, Roland Grabner (front), Kevin O´Connell, Jorge Silva, Jakob Glibstrup, Mads Jacobsen
Left to right: Luba Alterman, John Foley, Wendi Fischer, Anna Nicotera, Roland Grabner (front), Kevin O´Connell, Jorge Nuno Silva, Jakob Glibstrup, Mads Jacobsen

Christina Schenz, Germany:
“I was concerned if my topic, the promotion of giftedness in all children, would be too academic. Now that I have received positive feedback and requests for cooperation I am really glad that I took part.”

Bo Johansson, Sweden:
“It has been a great pleasure to participate, establish contacts and learn about what is going on as to chess in schools all over Europe. I really appreciate how you kept the various conference events going and made them into fruitful experiences for the participants.”

Christina Schenz and Jennifer Shahade
Christina Schenz and Jennifer Shahade

Jennifer Shahade, USA:
“I loved the conference, the event, and the atmosphere at the Classic, and hope to be back in the future for a longer visit!”

Janos and Marton Pallagi, Hungary:
“The conference was amazing and covered all parts of scholastic chess and mathematics. We learnt a lot and built relationships with valuable professionals.”

Ferdo Dizdarevic, UK:
“I am a great believer and supporter of Scholastic Chess. I think it´s a brilliant idea to give children the opportunity to learn new skills while playing games. As a PE teacher and sport scientist I believe our duty is to give our offspring a strong foundation, combining body and mind, for future development.”

Magdalena Zielinska, Poland:
“Thank you so much for all the inspiring sessions, workshops, ideas and conversations and above all for your hospitality and the wonderful evenings in London. Looking forward to future cooperation!”

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The festive time is for some of you an opportunity to catch up. We invite you to have a look at the presentations from our recent conference.

Karel van Delft keeps updating his excellent website with materials from the conference. He has added videos from the presentations by Roland Grabner on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Mathematics Leaning, by Jorge Nuno Silva on the history of games and mathematics and by Ed Pogossian on an innovative Armenian chess project with autistic children.

If you have attended the conference please complete the online questionnaire. It only takes ten minutes, and your replies help us to evaluate the event and plan future events. If you have attended and haven´t received an invitation to our online survey please contact

Conference Videos

Karel van Delft (top), Richard James and Dijana Dengler
Karel van Delft (top), Richard James and Dijana Dengler highlighted chess in special needs education

Karel van Delft is posting videos from the conference on a dedicated page of his excellent website The Dutch author and psychologist has started with the workshop on Chess for Children with Autism and ADHD, which highlighted how beneficial the game can be in special needs education. There were moving talks by Richard James, by Dijana Dengler, by Luis Blasco and by Karel himself. Stay tuned, as more videos are coming.

Luis Blasco presented on chess for boys diagnosed with ADHD - which in Spanish is abbreviated TDAH
Luis Blasco presented on chess for boys diagnosed with ADHD – which in Spanish is abbreviated TDAH

Presentations Available

Due to technical difficulties and other commitments we have been slow to share the presentations from the conference sessions and workshops. Please excuse the delay. The presentations page is now updated, and more is coming. We have chosen the pdf format to prevent misappropriation. We have added Presentations in the menu, too.

Malcolm Pein, right, opened the conference
Malcolm Pein, right, opened the conference

In School Chess Italy is a Superpower

Alessandro Dominici is the motor of school chess in Italy
Alessandro Dominici is the motor of school chess in Italy
Italy is represented not only by the top player of the London Chess Classic, world number two Fabiano Caruana, but also by several speakers at the conference. The country has a vibrant school chess scene. This is mostly thanks to Alessandro Dominici. The organiser from Piemont in North Western Italy has run two international school chess conferences in Turin and introduced chess to hundreds of schools in his region. He has initiated the learning website La Casa di Scacchi di Vittorio and the psychomotricity on a giant chess board method of coordination games for young children to precede instruction on regular chess boards. One year ago, Alessandro presented at our conference about EU funding for school chess. Now he is leading the Erasmus plus project “CASTLE”. And he is already exploring and propagating new ways to finance school chess.

Roberto Trinchero is probably the most productive school chess researcher
Roberto Trinchero is probably the most productive school chess researcher
Alessandro is working closely with Roberto Trinchero, Professor of Education at the University of Turin. Roberto may well be the most productive researcher on school chess during the last ten years. In the study he is going to present this year, he found that students taught chess by chess teachers make more progress in maths than those taught chess by regular teachers. Giovanni Sala, a young scientist from his team who has recently moved to the University of Liverpool, has already been featured here.

Beatrice Rapaccini is using chess to teach primary students about computation
Beatrice Rapaccini is using chess to teach primary students about computation
Among Italy´s many creative teachers with ideas to use chess for teaching mathematics, we are pleased to have secured Maria Beatrice Rapaccini as a speaker. The former space engineer is working together with the University of Macerata to use chess to teach computational thinking to primary students. She will also share her special version of Psychomotricity in the workshop on Early Years Chess.

When Chess Meets Special Needs

It´s a story you hear from many chess teachers: A child, usually a boy, with attention deficit or hyperactivity, is starting to concentrate at the game of chess, often to the surprise of carers, who only know the child in an excitable, uncontrollable state. A Spanish team of psychiatrists and chess coaches has gone beyond anecdotal evidence. Numerous boys, diagnosed with severe ADHD, have been helped to reduce or altogether come off medication by chess. This success story has been shared at a recent psychiatric conference in France and will be brought to us by Luis Blasco de la Cruz, whose club Villalba 64 in the North of Madrid is a champion of social chess projects.

Pioneer of chess against ADHD: Luis Blasco from Madrid
Pioneer of chess against ADHD: Luis Blasco from Madrid

Children on the autistic spectrum, often diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, are another group reported to benefit from chess. Karel van Delft has been interested in this for a long time and has been coaching autistic students one on one. Here is a video interview he conducted with an autistic tournament player. Dijana Dengler from Munich is teaching chess to children with all kinds of conditions and is an expert on inclusion through chess. Another speaker is Richard James, who makes a case that children with special needs have more to benefit from chess but at the same time are often excluded from school chess activities.

Support organisations and parents of children with special needs are invited to join our workshop on Sunday at 15.15-17.00 for free upon prior notice to