Volume 3, Issue 1 Spring 2003

over 1,500 readers

Edited by Bob Ferguson, Member of USCF Scholastic Council 

Greetings to All Chess Folks!

Welcome to the thirteenth issue (Volume 3, Number 1) of the Scholastic Chess Update.  

  • Problem-Solving Skill Enhancement

  • News from Chessville and Others

  • Web Site of the Month!

  • Council to Meet in Kansas City on May 31

  • Atlanta Scholastic Council Minutes

  • Website Update

!!! Coach Training at Castle Chess Camp !!!

For more than two decades, Castle has provided professional development units for coaches and adult players around the USA.  Camp is NOT just for kids!  Dates for the 2003 Castle Chess Camp are June 8-15 at Emory University in Atlanta and July 20-27 at the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford.  If you would like to be placed on our mailing list for the camps, email us at [email protected].  More than 200 individuals have already registered for our 2003 camps!

Problem-Solving Skill Enhancement Through Chess

On April 12, Shiv Gaglani, a freshman at West Shore High School in Florida, competed at the State Science and Engineering Fair.  He won first place in the category of Behavioral and Social Sciences for his chess research.

Below is a copy of his abstract:

Problem-Solving Skill Enhancement Through Chess

The aim of this study is to find whether implementation of systematic chess training will enhance the problem-solving skills in elementary school students and, in the long term propose chess as an integral part of the curriculum in elementary schools if proved so.

The hypothesis states that when elementary students are introduced to effective chess training, they will show a significant increase in pattern recognition, divergent thinking, and logical reasoning

                Twenty-five elementary students from 3rd grade to 5th grade with no previous knowledge of chess were recruited for the Harbor City Elementary Chess Club. In order to control some inevitable limitations such as age, maturity, and school curriculum, ten students made up the control group that did not undergo the variable, chess training. A pre-test was administered to the group before any chess training. The pre-test was based on the book Fundamentals of Mathematics, testing for pattern recognition, divergent thinking, and logical reasoning. Students learnt chess skills through direct instruction, puzzles, and computer simulation. After 16 weeks of training, both the experimental and control group took a post-test. 

        The data show:

          Chess significantly increased (t=2.081,d.f=23,p<0.025) pattern recognition, divergent thinking, and logical reasoning skills. The experimental group showed about a 74% increase while the control group only experienced about a 24% increase.

        Chess dramatically reduced (t=3.574, d.f. =14, p<<0.01) the time taken for test completion, engendering quick and efficient problem solving.  The experimental group took about 19% less time taking the post-test than the pre-test.

These data support the hypothesis that chess significantly increases problem-solving skills. These results are in line with previous chess research that proved chess increases critical thinking, cognitive skills, intuition, memory retention, verbal reasoning, and consequences of actions.

        Shiv is convinced that the teaching of chess to students, especially at a younger age, could significantly improve student performance on tests such as the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) by increasing skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. He is planning to prove his theory in future research projects.

If his theory is proved correct, his future goal is to establish chess as an integral part of elementary school curriculum in Florida, and later in all of the United States*. He would like to begin by starting a chess club in all the schools in Brevard County .

If you are interested in starting a chess club in your school, Shiv can be contacted at [email protected] or (321)-726-0761.

* The State of New Jersey has already passed a bill to implement chess as an integral part of school curriculum.

** Story Hour with the Grandmasters **

GM Joel Benjamin and GM Arthur Bisguier along with their moderator, Stephen Shutt, entertain and inform their audience by sharing little-known chess anecdotes in this 90 minute video.




ChessvilleRecent Chess News  including coverage of:
Dos Hermanas Chess Tournament 2003 (March 28th - April 5th)
Rustemov & Dreev tied in the 1st place (6/9) * Chessville coverage
SIS-MH Masters Rapid Play (April 5-6 / Denmark)
Anand leads after 3 rounds (2.5/3)  * Chessville coverage
     Karpov - Macieja Rapid Match (April 7-10, Poland)
     Hunguest Hotels Chess Tournament (April 11-20 / Budapest)
Participants: Leko, Polgar, Gelfand, Short, Almasi, Movsesian,
     Korchnoi, Lutz, Acs, Berkes 
Play Fantasy Chess Now!!
     1st Saturday Tourneys (Budapest, Hungary)
* Chessville coverage

other online chess news resources
The Week In Chess (TWIC) The most complete Tournament News
Mig's Daily Dirt - Commentary on Current Chess Events
Jeremy Silman - John Watson: Latest Chess News
The Chess Oracle Monthly International Chess News
The Chess Report Another great chess news site
The Campbell Report Correspondence Chess News
Net Chess News - News and More

Web Site of the Month!  

Bernard's Index at for Exeter Chess Club offers links to more than 130 chess lessons!

This Web site is not fancy, and some of the graphics do not render well on my machine.  But it offers a huge volume of chess knowledge on one site.  This Website was created and is maintained by Dr. David Regis. This is a page for people interested in teaching and learning about chess.  With nearly half a million visitors, you can tell this is a popular site.

This site has a variety of lessons for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players

  • Openings
  • Middlegame
  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Endgame

Check it out, and let us know what you think.  Share your favorite chess sites by e-mailing our Web Guy at [email protected].

Council to Meet in Kansas City in May

By Ralph Bowman, Chair of Scholastic Council


The Council is busy preparing its agenda for the May 30 meeting in Kansas City.  If you have topics you believe the Council should consider, please email them to Dewain Barber and Ralph Bowman.


!!! Castle Chess Camp !!!

Dates for the 2003 Castle Chess Camp are June 8-15 at Emory University in Atlanta and July 20-27 at the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford.  The Atlanta Camp is completely filled, and the Bradford Camp is filling up rapidly.  To save a space, register at Castle Chess Camp Online Registration Form or email us at [email protected].


Change of Address?

When you change your e-mail address, always inform us at [email protected] - we need to know your address in order tto contact you.

Atlanta Scholastic Council Minutes

By Ralph Bowman, Chair of Scholastic Council

1. The Council decided that when considering a National Tournament Site Selection that the facility should be the item of first consideration and volunteers the item of second consideration prior to consideration of any other items.

2. The Council discussed the Scholastic Director position.  

3. The Council discussed the ongoing project of the Coaches' Manual.

4. The Council established the election procedure for the Scholastic Council to be as follows: a) Must be a member of the Scholastic Committee for at least one year, b) Prior to May 31 candidates for the Council must submit their name and Scholastic Chess resume for nomination to the Chairperson or the Chairperson�s designee, c) A Council member, who is not running for reelection, will be appointed by the Chairperson to handle the voting, d) the voting will be done by the Scholastic Committee by email prior to July 1.

5. The Council voted that the Scholar-Chessplayer Award shall be decided by a subcommittee consisting of one Council member as Chairperson and four Committee members.  A player shall not be able to win this award more than once.  This year the office should have the information to the subcommittee by March 5 with a decision to the Scholastic Director by March 18.

6. There were many proposed revisions made to the Scholastic Regulations.  The Council hopes to be through with these revisions within the next few weeks and then they will be forwarded to the entire committee for comments.  

7. At Atlanta the Council discussed the need for some changes in the regulations regarding the K-12.  Since time was short Ralph agreed to come up with some proposed wording and send that to the Council for discussion.  The following are those recommendations:

In the Scholastic Regulations Section 8.41 sets the ratio of players/TD for the Spring Nationals, but nothing is mentioned about the K-12.  Therefore, the proposal is to add a second sentence to Section 8.41 that would read as follows: "For the K-12 Tournament the ratio of TD's to players shall be as
follows: Grades K-6: 1/50 players, Grades 7-9: 1/75 players, Grades 10-12 and College Section: 1/100 players".

8. The Council also approved a separate item for the K-12: "A player shall only have one year of eligibility per grade level".  Should this be a sentence added to 12.212 or should it be it's own sub-section 12.2121?

Atlanta Scholastic Meeting

All five Scholastic Council members were in attendance for most of the meeting.  The numbers of audience members fluctuated to as high as 22.

The following straw polls were taken:
1. A proposal to adding an additional round to the K-12 passed 9-3.

2. There were several proposals concerning the starting time of the Saturday and Sunday rounds at the K-12.  Ten were in favor of both days starting at 9:00, eleven were in favor of both days starting at 10:00, and three were in favor of Saturday starting at 10:00 and Sunday at 9:00.

3. Numerous items were brought up concerning the awarding of trophies for the K-12.  The feeling of those present was unanimous that too few awards were being presented in the larger sections.  A unanimous vote was given to the idea that at least 5% of the participants in each section should receive an award.  When asked what the ratio of awards should be for the K-12 eight thought 1-5 was a good ratio and eleven thought 1-4 was a good ratio.  There was discussion on whether a particular score should always be guaranteed to win an award, no vote was taken.  There was discussion that to determine the number of awards that will be guaranteed at the K-12 a projection of numbers per section should be made based on the previous two years.  When asked if there should be trophies for the top number and medallions for the rest to make up a particular ratio the vote was 14-0.  

Website Update 

Several subscribers have encouraged us to move our website, and we are working on that.  The American Chess School has purchased the domain name for Scholastic-Chess .us, Scholastic-Chess, and to further promote scholastic chess.  It will probably take us several months to get these new sites running, but we are headed in the right direction.  

If you are currently receiving annoying pop-up script messages, you might try going to Tools --> Internet Options. Advanced tab. Check on "Disable script debugging" and uncheck "Display a notification about every script error."

Using decreases some of the advertising pop-ups on my machine, so you may want to try it rather than

Chess Coach Certification

If you want to take the Club Level test for certification, you must first email your full name and email address to [email protected].  The AmChess staff will then email your user ID and password. 

** Submit Articles For the Update **

We need your help to provide articles to chess folks.  Please consider submitting an article.  Share your ideas with others to help more kids reap the benefits of chess.


One of the Scholastic Council�s goals is to improve communication among members of the scholastic community.  This e-Newsletter is the second step towards reaching this goal.  Our first step was the creation of a Scholastic Chess Website to communicate what the Scholastic Council is and what goals are being pursued.  For more details, visit or  

How do you contact your scholastic representatives?







[email protected] 


Ralph Bowman [email protected]  620.244.5683



[email protected]




[email protected]


Sunil Weeramantry [email protected] 914.997.9409

The following are ex-officio members of the Council.

Tom Brownscombe [email protected] 845.562.8350
Stephen Shutt [email protected] 215.978.6867

If you are NOT interested in scholastic chess, please click the reply button and type �remove� in the subject line.  If you know others who would like to receive this information, please forward the URL for the website to them.  If you are receiving multiple copies, please let us know so we can correct our error.  If you would like to see an improved newsletter, VOLUNTEER! 

The Scholastic Chess Update is a newsletter created to help coaches, parents, teachers, and others promote scholastic chess. It is read by over 1,500 chess aficionados.

The contents of this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the opinions of USCF Scholastic Council.  The Council makes no warranties about the contents of the Scholastic Chess Update.

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