ZugZwang Academy is currently in its 5th year of operation. In these 5 years, we have experimented with and learned and achieved a lot. However, a few recent events and feedback have made us realize we do not share enough about our thought process, philosophy which, while focussed on chess to a great extent, goes far beyond. So here we go ...
If India had the same number of Chess Grand Masters per capita as Russia did, India would have 1963 Grand Masters. Instead, today we have 43. Russia has 234. That's the potential of Chess in India.
There is another kind of potential Chess carries - the potential to impact anyone who plays the game deep enough with respect to their reasoning and thinking skills.
The latter is the reason ZugZwang Academy was started. Our vision has always been to help children build three important skills in life through Chess - critical thinking, logical reasoning & problem solving.
Our goal has never been to find the one 'gifted' Chess player who is above average but to improve the entire average of Chess players.
We strongly believe that Chess should be an integral part to Education. Chess is the tool and means to build decision making skills in children. Chess builds fluid intelligence - the ability to think, learn & analyze any subject or topic - in children.
However, Chess is not the only thing that can build these key decision making skills in children. Hence, over the years, we've added newer programs such as Robotics, Rubik's, Scratch Coding, Game Programming, Spell Bee & Wonder Math.
We've come far into this journey and we've done a good job - at least we've been told so by the people who matter - our customers.
In this journey, We’ve seen the contemporary approach to chess elsewhere and tried to comprehend its strengths and limitations. Most, not all, follow the approach that has surrounded tournament excellence and rating points. While I accept tournaments and ratings are needed, they're not all that matter. Accepting this view is akin to thinking of education where only marks are important. I think two generations of India has journeyed through such a dogmatic mindset only to realize there's much more to life than a single parameter maximization of marks or ratings.
Today, education is much more broad based. We look for balance. We’ve taken this same approach to mentoring our children in Chess. A lot of our kids do well in tournaments and have obtained ratings, but that's been more an added benefit. In the process, they've turned independent and critical thinkers, learnt good work ethics, become great problem solvers and built an overall confidence in their ability to think and reason. All this while acquiring social skills that help them become more cooperative while being competitive.
In other words, they've become more 'fluid intelligent'.
The bottom line, we're different and we stand steady by our vision as more people join the ZugZwang family to help impact more children and parents through the wonderful game of Kings.