The Minister of Education and Science of Georgia Dr. Mikheil Chkhenkeli was granted an honorary award by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) for his special commitment to promoting Chess in schools.
The Award Ceremony was held in Chennai, India, in the framework of the 44th Chess Olympiad. The award was presented to the Minister by FIDE Deputy-President, the Chess Grandmaster and five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand. Dr. Mikheil Chkhenkeli addressed the audience and thanked the world chess community for the presented Award.
This was Mikheil Chkhenkeli's speech:
"Chess, with its rich history, has been serving people's intellectual development for centuries. It is important that this large-scale and unique tournament, the 44th Chess Olympiad, hosts representatives from many countries from all over the world, embracing many cultures and traditions united by the love towards chess.
Chess has a centuries-long history in my country as well and has been documented in Georgian literature, poetry, and historical sources. Georgian women chess players have been especially successful worldwide, the most prominent of them are the world acclaimed Nona Gaprindashvili – a five-time world champion and the first woman in chess history to earn the grandmaster title among men- and Maia Chiburdanidze, Georgian chess grandmaster and a five-time world champion.
We all agree that we live in the age of technological advancements. Therefore, it is vital to raise a generation equipped, from the very early stage of life, with the skills necessary to keep up with the ongoing progress in the modern world.
Chess helps students to develop complex skills. Among them are - concentration, memory, logical and critical thinking. It helps to establish value judgments, make decisions and solve problems with creativity. Chess is indeed a very effective educational tool. It is also related to the competencies defined by mathematics and other subject standards.
With this in mind, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia made an important decision to introduce chess as a mandatory subject for first-grade students from the 2022-2023 academic year. It has to be noted that our decision aligns with the requirement envisaged by the Declaration of the European Parliament of March 15, 2012, on the introduction of chess in Education systems. Currently, the Ministry is carrying out intensive teacher training in cooperation with the Georgian Chess Federation.
I'm deeply honored by the award for the commitment to promoting and developing Chess in schools granted by the International Chess Federation (FIDE). This is the recognition I highly value and cherish. I'm happy to have contributed to the development of children by supporting chess education in schools from an early age".
According to the decision of the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli, students will learn chess as a mandatory subject in the first grade from September 2022-2023.