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HomeChessAn Interview with Mikkel Nørgaard from Copenhagen's Home of Chess

An Interview with Mikkel Nørgaard from Copenhagen’s Home of Chess


Home of Chess in Copenhagen

Mikkel Nørgaard is the Chief Studying Officer for Dansk Skoleskak (Danish Faculty Chess), which lately opened a mind gymnasium in Denmark. I met Nørgaard on the 2023 London Chess Convention, the place I offered about science group initiatives such because the Chessable Analysis Awards, https://www.chessable.com/research_awards.

For a video of Chessable Science Challenge Supervisor Karel van Delft interviewing Nørgaard in London:London Chess Convention 2023 interview Mikkel Nørgaard

In February of 2024, Van Delft performed a Zoom interview with Nørgaard.

Courtesy of Dansk Skoleskak

Interview Mikkel Nørgaard about Dansk Skoleskak by Karel van Delft

Dansk Skoleskak (Danish Faculty Chess) opened the Home of Chess – the mind gymnasium in Copenhagen. Because of some large sponsors, this 750 sq. meter constructing, which prices about 4 million euros, has chess for everyone. Some tasks are extra instructing by way of chess in colleges and creating new instructing strategies for particular wants teams. Dansk Skoleskak expands. “Chess is a powerful instrument for instructing and serving to folks socially and mentally,” Chief Studying Officer Mikkel Nørgaard says.

Dansk Skoleskak is a non-profit organisation that works to get extra kids and younger folks to succeed academically, socially and mentally, in order that extra folks have a lifetime of studying and training.

The organisation has existed since 1960, says Nørgaard. “It was based by academics with the aim of utilizing chess as a instrument to stimulate training, social relations, and private improvement. So it’s extra concerning the results than the sport itself.” In the mean time the employees consists of 18 folks of which a couple of are part-time.

The organisation is supported by the Danish authorities and sells instructing and training tasks to municipalities and colleges. In the mean time each third faculty in Denmark is a member faculty, about 550 in complete. In Denmark colleges have 9 grades, which suggests pupils from age 7 till 16.

A 3rd of the 550 colleges use chess as a scientific instrument to boost studying capabilities and social relationships. There are particular studying targets concerned, for instance combining maths with chess and stimulating social capabilities. Moreover there’s additionally a program for preschoolers (age 4-6 years) the place for instance minigames are used. This system is described on the positioning https://skoleskak.dk/laeringskoncepter.

Educating Supplies and Actions

Dansk Skoleskak offers instructing materials (on-line GAMBIT® platform by way of website https://skoleskak.dk/gambit) to high school academics . Dansk Skoleskak trains academics a couple of days every year. Through the course academics be taught for instance to work on the scholars’ calmness and focus by way of the educational program “Study Chess With Duffy!” (Duffy is a chess mascot).

Dansk Skoleskak gives PLAYMASTER® programs for college kids from grades 5 to 9. The course turns the individuals into cool assistant faculty chess academics, who can help on the Faculty Chess Day and may prepare break-time chess actions at their very own colleges. Through the course, individuals follow speaking with one another and with an introductory lesson.

In 2018 Dansk Skoleskak launched a brand new technique for colleges to make use of chess for particular wants training, named Skoleskak For Alle (Scholastic chess for everybody). On this technique consultants of Dansk Skoleskak go to the college to teach the academics and the academics obtain coaching for two – 3 complete days at the beginning of this system.

This system “The Mind within the Curriculum” was launched for courses of particular wants teams in 2021 and takes the methodology from Skoleskak for alle additional.
This system is utilized in courses with quite a lot of particular wants akin to ADHD, autism, studying issues, social and psychological issues.

This system particularly targets consciousness of psychological well being and what will be finished to stimulate psychological well being. Elements are neighborhood, fellowship, planning forward, social circumstances but in addition pondering instruments like metacognition, studying to replicate, essential pondering.


For creating instructing materials all types of sources had been used, for instance the booklet Pondering Strikes, Metacognition Made Easy by Roger Sutcliffe. “However way more might be finished,” Nørgaard says. “I’ve the sensation we solely scratched the floor of what’s doable. We need to develop extra insights and materials. However the issue is time, it’s all the time about time. However we’ve come a great distance and the outcomes are very promising.” A pattern lesson from the programme will be seen
right here.

Dansk Skoleskak invited 49 colleges with kids and younger folks in particular courses from 2021 to 2024, with the assist of the Obelske Familiefond, to take part within the studying effort the Mind within the Curriculum (HPS – Hjernen På Skemaet®). HPS makes use of faculty chess and play-based studying to develop college students’ psychological well being and lift consciousness of why it will be significant. HPS builds on experiences from the SKAK+MAT® studying program and SFA – Skoleskak For Alle® geared toward college students with ADHD, autism and basic studying difficulties.

A number of publications supply insights within the challenge, see https://skoleskak.dk/hjernen-paa-skemaet
Analysis organisation Epinion has evaluated the challenge. Conclusions are:
– HPS is an efficient instrument that has caused constructive modifications amongst lots of the college students who participated within the effort.
– 76 % of academics’ solutions point out that HPS has helped change college students’ perceptions of what they will do.
– HPS creates profitable experiences for numerous college students and will be simply tailored to the extent of the person scholar.
The report will be downloaded by way of https://skoleskak.dk/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Dansk-Skoleskak-Hjernen-paa-skemaet-Slutrapport-Endelig.pdf
There are some pitfalls with such qualitative analysis, Nørgaard says. “In three years children become older, some drop out, so pure quantitative measurement of results is difficult. That’s why private evaluations by academics, mother and father, college students and consultants can provide a good suggestion concerning the results of this system.”

Dansk Skoleskak cooperates additionally with organisations for particular wants teams. They made for instance a particular subject about chess and autism with the Danish organisation Landsforeningen Autisme (a nationwide NGO that works for the advantage of folks with autism). It may be downloaded by way of https://www.autismeforeningen.dk/media/5138/autismebladet-2020-nr-4.pdf

Dansk Skoleskak has quite a few different actions. There’s an Annual Scholastic Chess Day (this yr it was on Friday 9th on 336 colleges with 56.124 individuals). It’s a kind of mind train day with social occasions. Dansk Skoleskak helps colleges with recommendations, instructing materials, and public relations. See https://skoleskak.dk/skolernes-skakdag. There was intensive media protection from newspapers and tv this yr – one of many large nationwide networks made a big information phase a couple of particular wants scholar who has benefited very a lot from scholastic chess. Anton is his identify, and due to scholastic chess he has left the particular wants class he was in. He’s now mainstreamed into common training courses.

There are lots of chess championships, a studying competition, ladies’ actions, camps, and huge occasions all through the nation. And Dansk Skoleskak has their very own chess store, skakshoppen.dk. On the positioning https://skoleskak.dk, instructing materials, analysis and publications are all in Danish, though the knowledge will be understood by way of Google Translate.

Dansk Skoleskak has exchanged a lot data with previous individuals within the London Chess Conferences and contacts with different organisations too, for instance the Saint Louis Chess Membership. Dansk Skoleskak additionally exchanges concepts with the FIDE Schooling Fee often. These worldwide contacts in addition to analysis and publications can be prolonged, Nørgaard says. “Faculty chess and related actions have a lot to supply for private improvement of kids, and likewise adults. Particularly for particular wants teams. The extra we work internationally collectively, the higher.”

Skakkens Hus – the mind gymnasium
https://skoleskak.dk/skakkenshus

Opening of the Home of Chess, Skakkens Hus, is a big improvement. It’s meant to be a “Mind
Health club,” the place all people is welcome. Not solely faculty courses, but in addition particularly individuals who can use social and emotional assist, akin to lonely aged individuals and other people with psychological well being issues. Through actions and particular occasions Dansk Skoleskak desires to supply them a way of belonging, coping and pondering abilities. “All people is welcome, there are particular hosts who will make folks really feel at residence. In addition they train the principles of chess or minigames.” Entrance is free. A sport and tradition of chess are inviting by themselves, you simply can are available and play or watch a sport of chess. Or take part in some exercise. So folks can develop new social networks. For change college students it might be alternative for attending to know Danish folks. New initiatives can be developed, for instance with prisoners who can resocialize by way of volunteer tasks. “We constantly consider our tasks by analysis and interviews to enhance the standard and develop new tasks,” says Nørgaard.

The thought to start out the home was conceived by Dansk Skoleskak Common Secretary Mads Jacobsen nearly ten years in the past. Additionally it is Jacobson who has been the driving drive behind funding the home.

Some more cash for initiatives is within the pipeline, thanks additionally to ambassadors like Magnus Carlsen. Final September, for 3 days every week, some actions began, however an enormous renovation will occur this yr 2024 and doubtless the entire constructing can be prepared on the finish of the yr or early in 2025.

Skakkens Hus is promoted by way of Skakkenshus.dk. The initiative may be prolonged by creating the identical sort of chess homes in different cities and cities in Denmark. In the mean time, the home is promoted by two chess vans that go to colleges throughout Denmark.

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