Havana.- LOOK AT to the Science Game from a perspective beyond high performance, turning it into a weapon for the global development of children and society is the maxim they work with in the specialized classroom of the Isla Chess Study Center.
In the institute, annexed to the Manuel Fajardo University of Physical Culture and Sports Sciences (UCCFD), we talk about the future and there is a total commitment to leave significant traces.
It could not be otherwise with the enthusiasm imposed by its director, the Grand Master Vivian Ramón, leader of a plan that places chess studies as the basis for the cognitive development of children.
Dreaming of Capablanca is the name of the project that is undertaken there with almost 40 children, a figure that increases as no interested party is denied participation, whatever their level of development in front of the board.
So he commented TO HIT Vivian herself, eight times national champion and convinced of the indissoluble relationship between chess and the training of men and women useful to society.
“Logically we are motivated by sporting achievements, but the biggest interest is how much more efficient and capable these children are as social beings,” he says he is supported by seven experienced teachers, four trained and as many recruited.
The classroom, named Ernesto “Che” Guevara for his immense relationship with chess, was inaugurated on November 17, 2021 in the presence of Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic. It has the ideal technology for studies.
Internet access, 10 first-rate computers, digital cards and other means are part of the structures by which research on the chess-cognition relationship is carried out.
«Soñando a Capablanca is above all a project of research, development, innovation and application of technologies. The goal is to delve into what combines cognitive activities and chess skills, “he explained of a program that has been running regularly since the beginning of this year.
Students are divided into three groups to facilitate their studies. The youngest are between three and six years old (preschool chess); the second group brings together students from seven to 10 years old and the third those between 11 and 14 years old. The weight of the research focuses on the latter, Vivian says.
“This is a group with conflicting interests. There we work on the neurological part, that is attention, concentration, memory and flexibility of thought ”, she explains.
Specialists from the Cuban Sports Research Center (CIDC) and the UCCFD Sports Psychology Center appear alongside the island’s professors.
Referring to the classes, Vivian emphasized the technical part of the middle game and the ending. She respected the opening repertoire chosen by the main student coaches.
«We teach the techniques of midgame and endgame and we work with the algorithm of thought. The most important thing is to teach them to think and to gain efficiency. We insist on the evaluation and calculation processes, that is, on all the technical work, ”he says.
The teachers of the Center are in charge of choosing the models, the positions with which they will work. They have identified the processes of interest and, based on the responses, can verify the areas of the brain that function and how they participate in solving the exercise.
The functions of the classroom will soon be expanded. It is planned to soundproof an area to convert it into a recording studio for virtual lessons and other actions related to digital materials.
This will make it possible to bring the experience to provinces and other, basically Spanish-speaking countries; the vision with which the Higher Institute of Latin American Chess was founded 30 years ago, now converted into the aforementioned study center.
Experienced teachers like Danilo Buela and young people like Seydi Pagés, Cristian Vitier, Karla July Fernández and Abel Fabián López, just to name a few, have put all their efforts to promote chess from new concepts.
“We work to make them great masters, but above all great people; so they do well in life and chess is part of that training. That means bringing Cuba into the world chess trend in terms of education, ”confirms Vivian as excited as when she has faced many of the tournaments she has won in her life.