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Should chess be an education requirement in U.S. schools?

Should chess be the next required subject for students? A Real Clear Science writer thinks it should. (AP Photo/file)

We’ve got Math, English, and Science covered, and maybe chess should be included.

Alex Berezow, a writer for Real Clear Science, is making the case that chess should be required in all U.S. schools.

“I think that it’s a great way to teach memory, logic and problem solving in a way that isn’t boring,” Berezow tells KIRO Radio’s Andrew Walsh Show. “When you think problem solving you think ‘OK, one train is leaving Seattle at 15 miles an hour’ – that’s not the kind of problem solving people like to do, they like to play games.”

Beyond problem solving, learning through games also teaches other life lessons that Berezow says would be useful to students.

“This game teaches you geometry. It teaches you strategy and it also teaches you basic life skills,” says Berezow. “You lose. I mean, I lose all the time and you have to learn how to deal with that. You have to learn how to accept defeat.”

There’s been a lot of talk about how as a society we tend to reward every kid in competition, even the losers, but Berezow says it’s better if kids can learn from the defeat.

“I don’t think that’s healthy to teach kids, to treat kids with these ‘kid gloves.’ I think we need to teach kids what life is really like, and sometimes, despite your best efforts, sometimes you lose and that is a valuable skill at any age.”

While it might seem like a crazy idea, Berezow says it’s already been adopted as an education requirement in other parts of the world. Armenia requires chess studies for every student over age 6.

He thinks it’s definitely doable in our country.

“We spend the second most per capita for students in education and yet despite that, we have a very mediocre K-12 education performance when you compare us globally,” says Berezow. “I think that our money is just not being well spent. The other thing is that chess boards really aren’t that expensive.”

At the very least, Berezow would like to see more schools establish a chess club and encourage students to take part in games where they can learn all these lessons.

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