Friday, December 12, 2008

Wilkinson: Chess reduces violence

We first met the Jamaican Chess Federation boss, Ian Wilkinson, back in Dresden. He's the guy who kept asking questions about visa problems faced by, in particular, the African teams and how anyone in FIDE high office might help resolve the issue. According to him, chess reduces violence. Here he is being quoted by the Jamaican government's information service website.

If we get chess going fully into the schools and incorporated into society, we will reduce crime and violence significantly. The violence that we are experiencing now, the criminal behaviour being demonstrated by the youngsters ... once we get into their minds and teach them chess, we will be creating a totally different society because the intellectual capital of our country will go up tremendously.

Creating a totally different society? It sounds almost as grandiose as Ilyumzhinov's statement that he wants chess to be the new world religion! Seriously, I don't know if the game possesses such power to effect that kind of social impact that Mr. Wilkinson is talking about. What do you think?


Garvin said...

I just want to know if he knows Pablo Williams, the Jamaican chess champion lol

Ryan said...

If everyone was a cerebral type of person, then physical violence would be less common and intellectual and scientific pursuits would be lauded instead of mocked as dull.

I think that getting everyone to play chess would have no impact at all on those who aren't naturally interested in it anyway.

Chess players are hardly paragons of virtue in any case, as we all know! :-)

Having said that, I think it's worth teaching chess in schools as studies seem to suggest it does have some benefits...

Bina said...

I was bullied in my early years at high school by a particular individual for two years (a continuing theme from Primary school) - I taught him to play chess in detention after school one week. He turned into a reasonable school player (ie beat me a few times) and I had a protector for the remaining 4 years of High school!

So I believe there may be somthing in the claim

Anonymous said...

And the big question reamains "HOW"
How will we propagate chess?

Unknown said...

As a Jamaican I'm hoping that he's right. I have always thought that much of the violence here is caused by irrational thinking about the issues that frustrate us. If our children became more disciplined in their thinking then perhaps we'd nip the violence in the bud.

I wish Mr. Wilkinson luck.

Anonymous said...

Wilkinson's comments need to be seen in the context of Jamaica.
Jamaica is a country plagued by high levels of violence and gang activity.

Any social activity which promotes a positive social interaction can only be of benefit to Jamaica. And chess is definitely a positive activity.