A chess program that changed minds!

As some of you already know, we’re passionate about spreading the word about the educational value of chess, especially for young people.

On that note, we wanted to share the findings of an interesting study done back in 1986. Faneuil Adams, Jr. and Bruce Pandolfini founded this awesome program, called the New York City Schools Chess Program (NYCHESS).

As part of the program, an experienced chess instructor was sent to schools (assisted by high school chess players and superior chess students) to teach a couple of lessons and help teachers build an ongoing program. Many inner-city children as well as public school students participated.

The outcome after four years was remarkable. At the completion of the study, NYCHESS was able to show that the program made a positive impact on the young people involved, specifically with regard to:

  • Self-confidence and self-worth
  • Rational thinking
  • Cognitive skills
  • Communication skills and pattern recognition
  • Higher grades especially in math and english
  • Concentration, hard work and commitment
  • Responsibility and consequences.

Just to name a few!

Further, the program had a great effect on the atmosphere at the participating schools, with a positive impact on:

  • Making friends in the community/forum
  • Teacher and student relationship
  • Team spirit while emphasizing ability of the individual
  • Attendance.

While this report is primarily based on academic records, Stuart Margulies Ph. D., provided statistical proof in his report The Effect of Chess on Reading Scores: District Nine Chess Program Second Year Report. The report evaluated the reading performance of 53 elementary pupils participating in chess instruction, compared to 1118 non-participants. The report revealed that chess participation ultimately enhanced reading performance.

Margulies later extended his study to four LA schools and one NY school after a principal wrote about the impact NYCHESS had on her students. Over the course of the study, her students had a 11.2 per cent increase in reading and an 18.6 per cent increase in math. Imagine that!

As more and more studies conclude that bringing chess into schools has effect on kids’ cognitive skills, we created #MagnusKingdom - a game designed with chess champ Magnus Carlsen and the pedagogy experts at DragonBox. The game teaches kids the basics of chess while encouraging focus, concentration, problem-solving, creative thinking and more.


Grab an ipad or smartphone and download the app for your kid(s) - or students - and try out Magnus' Kingdom of Chess today. Who would have thought teaching chess could be so easy!

The Play Magnus team