Tue, May 03, 2011 - Page 14 News List

Armenia makes chess compulsory in schools

Armenians play chess in the capital Yerevan last year.

Photo: AFP

Armenia is to make chess a compulsory subject in primary schools in an attempt to turn itself into a global force in the game, the education ministry said on April 15.

“Teaching chess in schools will create a solid basis for the country to become a chess superpower,” an official at the ministry, Arman Aivazian, told AFP.

The authorities led by President Serzh Sarkisian, an enthusiastic supporter of the game, have committed around US$1.5 million (NT$43.3 million) to the scheme — a large sum in the impoverished but chess-mad country.

Children from the age of six will learn chess as a separate subject on the curriculum for two hours a week.

Aivazian said the lessons, which start later this year, would “foster schoolchildren’s intellectual development” and teach them to “think flexibly and wisely.”

The game is hugely popular in Armenia, where grandmasters are stars and important match results make headline news.

The country of 3.2 million people has already established itself as a serious competitor in global tournaments.

The national team won gold at the biennial International Chess Olympiad in both 2006 and 2008, and the country’s top player Levon Aronian is currently ranked number three in the world, according to the World Chess Federation.











1. compulsory adj.

必要做的 (bi4 yao4 zuo4 de5)

例: It’s not compulsory to take your shoes off before you enter, but it is considered polite.


2. impoverished adj.

赤貧的 (chi4 pin2 de5)

例: Bob lost his inheritance on wine, women and song, and now he is impoverished.


3. biennial adj. n.

雙年(的) (shuang1 nian2 (de5))

例: The last Venice Biennial was held in 2009, so the next one should happen this year.



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