26 January 2014

'Chess in School' Is Mantric

In a recent post on 'Chess in School', CIS Is Quantifiable, I overviewed the literature on cis.fide.com, and ended with,

The page 'Documents and FAQ' points to 'Resource and Information Center', which lists some of the papers mentioned above, plus a few others. Which are the most important for a busy person who wants an introduction to the subject? The paper 'Multiple Intelligency' by Prof.Dr.Howard Gardner is marked 'MUST TO READ!!', so that looks like a good place to start.

The page titled 'Resource and Information Center' is split into five sections:-

  • Materials from Conferences and CIS Comission [sic] meetings
  • Benefits of Chess
  • Literature and Research
  • Antiaging Researches on Neurology
  • Teaching Materials

The Gardner paper, an eight page PDF, is the first reference under 'Literature and Research'. The paper is titled 'Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences' and starts,

Some theorists believe believe [sic] that intelligence is a basic ability that affects performance on all cognitively oriented tasks. Consequently, an 'intelligent' person will do well in computing mathematical problems, in analysing poetry, in taking history essay examinations, and in solving riddles.

It's not immediately clear what this has to do with chess in school, and chess is mentioned only once in the paper:-

Visual spatial intelligence [the third of Gardner's eight 'intelligences'] refers to the ability to represent the spatial world internally in your mind –- the way a sailor or aeroplane pilot navigates the large spatial world, or the way a chess player or sculptor represents a more circumscribed spatial world.

While reading the paper, I concluded that Gardner was not the author. Since I could find no mention of another author, I turned to the web for help and searched on the phrase from the introduction, 'intelligence is a basic ability that affects performance'. I found more than 500 references to that phrase.

After refining my search with the grammatically incorrect preface 'theorists believe believe that', I still found more than 400 references. At this point I decided that people are just copying the paper without bothering to read it; otherwise they would have corrected the introduction. I'll come back to this topic another time. I am, after all, Gone Fishing.

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