International Grandmaster, founder of the school “Labyrinths of Chess”, Yana Melnikova supports Ilyumzhinov’s favourite Chess in Schools project

As we already reported, chess may become a compulsory discipline in Russian schools from 1 September. As an experiment, chess lessons were introduced in Moscow and Khanty-Mansiysk. The Ministry of Education recognized the experiment as successful. The department noted that the textbooks and teaching programmes are ready, and the teachers are being trained in the regions.

According to the sixth FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, academic performance is improving in those schools where the Chess in Schools programme is running. Owing to this programme, student performance has increased by 40% in Kalmykia.


Yana Melnikova noted: “The Chess in schools project appeared five years ago. The first "test" regions were Kalmykia, the Kaluga region, Moscow and the Moscow region. Usually this is implemented as a replacement to third physical education lesson in primary school. In some schools where chess does not fall into the schedule grid, students learn it in extracurricular activities.

Now chess is generally introduced in schools and it is definitely very common in Moscow. I think this makes sense - it is useful for children to study chess at least a year, even two or three, because it involves logic and mathematical abilities. This is not just a circle that you can choose according to your interests. Chess will undoubtedly bring benefits to every child. And after the children have completed the basic programme, all will decide for themselves if they will continue to learn chess.
This is a good initiative, I think. This will diversify the interests of a student and distract him from computers. The main problem in schools is that it is not so easy to find teachers, because we do not have many universities that graduate professional chess teachers. But, I think that this problem will also be solved in the future,” said Yana Melnikova.