Armenia is to make chess a compulsory subject in primary schools in a bid to turn itself into a global force in the game, the education ministry have said.
"Teaching chess in schools will create a solid basis for the country to become a chess superpower," said an official at the ministry, Arman Aivazian.
The authorities led by President Serzh Sarkisian, an enthusiastic supporter of the game, have committed around $1.43 million to the scheme - a large sum in the impoverished but chess-mad country. Children from the age of six will learn chess as a separate subject on the curriculum for two hours a week.
Aivazian said the lessons, which start later this year, would "foster schoolchildren's intellectual development" and teach them to "think flexibly and wisely". The game is hugely popular in Armenia, where grandmasters are stars and important match results make headline news.