University of Johannesburg did a research study on the MiniChess program and its influence on mathematics knowledge acquisition and cognitive development among foundation phase learners. The study was done by Professor Kakoma Luneta (UJ), Dr P. Giannakopoulos (UNISA), Mrs S. Coetsee (UJ) and Mr G. Cheva (UJ)
There were 3 distinct aspects where the UJ-study proved great worth of the MiniChess program in Soweto:
The diagram gives measured results on the various aspects in the SA Mathematics curriculum (Grade R-3) – and shows that the MiniChess-learners showed significant benefit in three areas of the curriculum, compared to the learners wo did not do the MiniChess-program – Mathematical calculations (specifically adding and subtraction), Pattern-recognition in Mathematics, Comparative data / graph-reading abilities with understanding.
The MiniChess learners showed significant benefit in solving “word”-sums, in that they took their time to consider & understand the given problem/s, they were able to explained their answers with proper reasoning, and reached the correct answer/s through different processes of problem-solving (not parrot-repetition).
The participating schools mentioned visible benefits for the MiniChess learners – the learners loved doing the MiniChess-program and were enthusiastic and motivated to participate, they showed improved attention span and discipline in class, improved social skills, and although the teacher were unsure about their own abilities to play the game themselves and/or the direct link with the curriculum, the teachers suggested MiniChess to be part of the school curriculum.