In Armenia the chess in schools mandatory

“It’s just great to beat the big boys,” says eight-year-old Lily.

She and all the other Armenian chess chess 2012 a compulsory subject in the second, third and fourth grade.

When the world chess crown was passed to Magnus Carlsen, when he was a 15-year-old, began to threaten the biggest chess “star” of Armenia, the poorest of this small country in the Caucasus understood that it is necessary to take decisive action.

Lily absolutely obsessed with chess.

“Chess is my most-favorite subject. We have a very interesting homework” — says Lily.

This summer she persuaded her parents to allow her to play chess all the holidays in the school club, which continues to operate, although the school is closed for the holidays.

Nothing surprising in the victory of the Armenians over Carlsen there

“Chess make children more creative. They also learn to think strategically, make decisions and display leadership qualities,” says programmer Gor Vardanyan.

His two sons, aged seven and eight years — I come home from school with increasingly complex homework.

“And chess enhances the ability of schoolchildren to concentrate”.

There is nothing accidental in the fact that Levon Aronian defeated Magnus Carlsen during the Norway Chess tournament in June of this year, no.

After his victory said that it is one of the most impressive chess victories in the 21st century.

Facts: Armenia

Armenia is in southern Caucasus between Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran.

Population: 2.9 million people.

Today Armenia has appeared after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Armenia is the first country in the world to adopt Christianity (in 301). But after a period of grandeur, who was in the country on the middle ages, Armenia was conquered by the Persians and the Arabs, and the Turks and tsarist Russia.

Little Grand chess Empire

In Armenia chess is played from the ninth century — it was then, probably, the game appeared in the country thanks to the Arabs and caravans from India.

Chess besides is one of the reasons why one of the most common male names in Armenia “Tigran”. Armenian Tigran Petrosian was a Soviet world chess champion in 1963-1969: and that called chess fever, which is still not passed.

Although Armenia on the brink of war with Azerbaijan, according to the world Bank, poorer than Jamaica, Jordan, Fiji and Egypt, if we consider the income per capita in the country 25 chess grandmasters.

For comparison: in Norway, whose population is twice that of GM’s 13.

From chess to coding

The introduction of mandatory chess in school sparked the appetite.

Only the introduction of a new school subject (equipment and training) in a country with a population of only 2.9 million people — a cost of 11 million kroons.

The main task was to find enough professional teachers of chess and to train the regular teachers how to teach chess, too.

Now the Armenian authorities are considering the introduction in schools of a new subject: computer programming and coding.

He couldn’t do children’s homework chess

When the sons were coming home from school with homework in chess, the appearance of the subject had to Vardanyan, special effects.

“Tasks were becoming more difficult,” says Vardanyan.

Last year he had the idea to create chess app chess and desperate parents can use in order to flip the chess puzzles as nuts.

For several months this spring, Armenian Chessify app downloaded more than 85 thousand users, he has the highest rating in Google Play.

The majority of users from India, USA, Russia and Norway.

“All will learn to beat Carlsen”

What began with a problem: how do children’s homework in chess, can lead to significant consequences.

“We found that in the world of chess has not yet used all the features, which contain information technology and software,” says Vardanyan.

Now he, along with several of the strongest Armenian chess players in developing a program where laid and with the help of artificial intelligence analyzes of the party the best players in the world.

— If we succeed, it will be a real revolution in the teaching of chess.

— That is, the goal is to Armenia beat Magnus Carlsen?

— Yes, and not just us. We all will help you to beat Carlsen laughs Vardanyan.

Per Johansen — Aftenposten’s correspondent in Moscow