Chess Therapy as a New Trend in Training of Future Social Pedagogues

By Romanova, Inna; Vasylieva, Maryna et al. | Journal of Physical Education and Sport, October 2018 | Go to article overview

Chess Therapy as a New Trend in Training of Future Social Pedagogues


Romanova, Inna, Vasylieva, Maryna, Podberezskyi, Mykola, Journal of Physical Education and Sport


Introduction

Since its inception, chess from a simple board game has become a powerful resource of modern society. Due to its unique capabilities, chess play became a means of development and upbringing. In researches of scientists the positive influence of chess on the formation of consecutive thinking, logical methods of mental activity (Zakharov, 1988; Talyzina & Iakovlev, 1968), imagination and operational memory (Bartashnikov, 1988), the internal plan of action (Kuprashvili, 1987; Kuchumova, 1997; Sukhin, I. 2008), reflection (Ferguson, 1995), etc was experimentally confirmed. Through the activities of the World Chess Federation (European Chess Union, 2016) chess was introduced into the curriculum of primary school in many countries. For example, in Poland since 2012, chess has been introduced as a subject in primary school. The goal of the project (World Chess Federation, 2016) is to increase mathematical primary skills of children in the 1-3 classes. Key partners for Polish Chess Federation include Ministry of National Educations and Ministry of Sport and Tourism. The project is organized and guided by the Polish Chess Federation in cooperation with 16 provincial chess federations and local authorities. More than 1500 teachers have been trained since 2012. Estimated number of pupils learning chess in schools is over 35000.

Chess is a cheap and effective resource for activating human mental activity. Over the past 20 years, scientific research and practical social and pedagogical activity are exploring the possibilities of using them as a means of rehabilitation: healing in the process of playing chess and through the game of chess. Chess therapy helps in developing a therapeutic alliance between the psychotherapist and his patient to help him through any psychological or emotional problems that he/she may be experiencing.

So, the first officially recorded case of using chess therapy occurs in the medical practice of Dr. Rhazes. He, as the chief physician at Baghdad Hospital, used chess strategies and tactics as metaphors for real life to help patients think more clearly (Fadul & Canlas, 2009).

In Reider (1945) there is a reference to the case of chess therapy. There were significant improvements in the state of 16-year old man who was isolated and suffered from schizophrenia after he had become interested in chess. Chess provided an outlet for his hostile impulses in a non-retaliatory manner. Good use was made of the patient's digressions from the game and his newly acquired ability to speak about his feelings, fantasies and dreams, which the particular emotional situation of the game touched off. The research demonstrates the fact that chess is a virtual game that enabled the patient to exert some conscious control over his feelings.

In Warsaw (Poland), from 2015, the collaboration of the Chess Federation of Poland with the Warsaw Centre for Educational Innovation implements a chess project in schools at hospitals where children with motor and emotional disorders are located (Warszawska Biuro Educakacji, 2016). In 2015, 21 teachers were trained at the 72-hour chess-training course. According to the results, the authors of the project note the acquisition of decision-making skills by children; development of concentration, patience, perseverance; formation of motivation and determination to achieve the goal and, consequently, determination in the fight against the disease.

For 25 years the association "Chovekolubie" (Bulgaria) has been developing a theory for dealing with problems by the game of chess, created by Dr. Emil Markov, a psychiatrist. The social work of Association "Chovekolubie" includes the activity of Centre for mental health "Chovekolubie", the social services Centre for social rehabilitation and integration of people with mental disorders, and the Protected residence and the clubs for mental health in the towns of Septemvri and Strelcha. Participating in the social work, people with mental disorders acquire and develop social skills, improve their mental state and become parts of society life. …

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