According to studies:
- Chess boosts brain power in kids.
- Chess improves IQ.
- Chess enhances arithmetical skills.
- Chess hones verbal skills.
- Chess sharpens critical thinking skills.
- Chess boosts emotional intelligence and psycho-social skills.
Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Will Smith, Bono, and Madonna were or are avid chess players. Tennis legend and six-time Grand Slam singles champion Boris Becker said:
“I used to prepare for my tennis matches by playing chess, and it would get my mind stimulated and focused before going on court. It was essentially a mental warm-up.”
And learning computer programming has never been more important. According to Douglas Rushkoff, author of Program or Be Programmed:
When human beings acquired language, we learned not just how to listen but how to speak. When we gained literacy, we learned not just how to read but how to write. And as we move into an increasingly digital reality, we must learn not just how to use programs but how to make them. In the emerging, highly programmed landscape ahead, you will either create the software or you will be the software. It’s really that simple: Program, or be programmed.
Computer science in New York
New York currently has 32,165 open computing jobs (4.4 times the average demand rate in New York).
The average salary for a computing occupation in NY is $95,515, which is significantly higher than the average salary in the state ($55,630).
New York had only 3,575 computer science graduates in 2014; only 17% were female.
Only 3,126 high school students in New York took the AP Computer Science exam in 2015; only 23% were female; only 230 (7.4%) were Hispanic; only 146 were black (4.7%).
Only 187 schools in NY (13% of NY schools with AP programs) offered the AP Computer Science course in 2014-2015.
There are fewer AP exams taken in computer science than in any other STEM subject area.
The Achievement Gap
For decades, educators have struggled to close the “achievement gap,” the persistent differences in test scores, grades and graduation rates among students of different races, ethnicities and, in some subjects, genders.
When it comes to technology skills, the U.S. comes in last place — right below Poland. In addition, there was a significant racial difference with non-whites scoring below whites.
Psychologists are finding evidence that short, simple interventions can make a surprisingly large difference. Terrance Jackson, the publisher of Pistis, adopted some of these simple interventions in a class called “Creating Computer Games with Terrance Jackson” that was offered to local 5th-8th graders at Larchmont Library. The game that they created is below.
Click here to play.
László Polgar believes that geniuses are made not born. Before he had children, he wrote a book called Bring Up Genius! He and his wife Klara raised their three daughters, Susan, Sofia, and Judit, according to the precepts outlined in the book.
The oldest sister, Susan, at the age of 15, became the top-ranked woman chess player in the world, and remained ranked in the top three for the next 23 years. She was the first female to earn the Grandmaster title through the conventional way of tournament play.
The middle sister, Sofia, earned the chess titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster. For a time, she ranked as the sixth-strongest female player in the world.
The youngest sister, Judit, is the strongest female chess player in history. achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, at the time the youngest to have done so, breaking the record previously held by former World Champion Bobby Fischer. She is the only woman to qualify for a World Championship tournament, having done so in 2005. She is the first, and to date, only woman to have surpassed the 2700 Elo rating barrier, reaching a career peak rating of 2735 and peak world ranking of #8, both achieved in 2005. She has been the #1 rated woman in the world since 1989 (when she was 12 years old).
Geniuses are made, not born! What was true with the Polgar sisters and chess is undoubtingly true for STEM and girls in general.
According to a ChessBase article, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S Grant, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barak Obama all played chess. While George Bush (43), George Bush (41), Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon did not play chess.
I would venture to guess that President Donald Trump does not play chess or at least does not play chess very well.
In an interview with The Harvard Business Review, former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov said:
There is nothing cute or charming about chess; it is a violent sport, and when you confront your opponent you set out to crush his ego. The world chess masters with whom I have competed over the years nearly all share my belief that chess is a battleground on which the enemy has to be vanquished. This is what it means to be a chess player, and I cannot imagine that it is very different from what it takes to be a top-ranked CEO.
In approximately 30 nations across the globe, including Brazil, China, Venezuela, Italy, Israel, Russia and Greece, etc., chess is incorporated into the country’s scholastic curriculum. Just as athletics are a part of the required agenda at schools in the United States, Chess has been that way in the European Nations abroad. On March 13th, 2012 the European Parliament endorsed the ‘Chess in European schools’ program.
At the ages of 13 Demis Hassabis reached the rank of chess master, and was the second-highest-rated player in the world under 14 at the time. Hassabis received his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from University College London in 2009. On January 27, 2014, DeepMind founded by Hassabis was acquired by Google for about $500 million – the company’s largest European acquisition – in order to add technology and talent to Google’s core business of search.
Robert Nay’s Bubble Ball game made the 14-year-old creator millions
Most new mobile gaming apps get a few hundred downloads in the first weeks after launch. Fourteen-year-old Robert Nay’s Bubble Ball app made him an overnight millionaire by earning over $2 million in the game’s first two weeks.
Three years later, Nay’s first game has been downloaded over 16 million times, making this young prodigy, now 17, a very successful entrepreneur indeed. He continues to develop games under his own brand, Nay Games.
…and since childish people are the easiest customers to convince, the manufacture of childishness, extended into adulthood, had to be the first priority of factory schools. Naturally, teachers and administrators weren’t let in on this plan; they didn’t need to be. If they didn’t conform to instructions passed down from increasingly centralized school offices, they didn’t last long.
We think of things as helpful that actually aren’t and think of other things as unhelpful that in reality leave us stronger and wiser.~ David and GoliathMalcom Gladwell
Everyone can create.
Creators spend almost all their time creating, persevering despite doubt, failure, ridicule, and rejection until they succeed in making something new and useful. There are no tricks, shortcuts, or get-creative-quick schemes. The process is ordinary, even if the outcome is not.
Creating is not magic but work.
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
Genes do have a huge influence on everything we are, but that influence is constantly subject to interaction with our environment. Intelligence *is*, very simply, a set of skills that a person acquires or does not acquire in his or her life. IQ is a snapshot of where that person’s skills are in that particular moment.
“The more hours of TV a girl watches, the fewer options she thinks she has in life.” ~ Geena Davis
How did America—a country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—become one of the most unequal countries on the planet? Why do the nation’s leaders now spend so much of their time feeding at the trough and getting ever more for themselves? Why has public-mindedness in our leaders given way in so many instances to limitless greed?