Teacher of English and History
FIDE registered chess player
My name is George Angyan. It appears as Ángyán György in my Hungarian passport, though.
I am a teacher of English and History and have taught in Hungary, where I was born, and in many other countries like Canada, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, France and Spain.
Chess at early age
As a kid, I was fascinated by chess. Luckily my hometown had a great club where I started to play at the age of seven. Chess taught me so much. My standard opening with black became the Sicilian Defence and within that, what else could it have been, the Dragon Variation. Chess also gave me friends, educators and the freedom of travelling around Europe (mind you it was the final years of Communism), experiences that inspired me to want even more. I played professionally until, at the age of fourteen, my secondary studies took me to the provincial capital of Veszprem.
2 minutes 12 seconds. That was the time I achieved on 800 meters a year earlier. Bad news for chess. With no training possibilities in Veszprem, I succumbed to my second love, athletics. We would be told by our coach to pick flowers for the girls on Women’s Day from the forest while doing our steady run, we would recite poetry on the benches of our crammed changing rooms, we trained hard and competed even harder. We dreamt big. Some made it to the Olympics running the semi-final or getting the gold for his hammer throw. For me, however, life offered a different path.
Teaching English finally
In 1994-95 I took part in a Canada World Youth exchange program in Nanaimo B.C. Canada. With fourteen fellow participants, we learnt about democracy and entrepreneurial skills (mind you it was just five years after the change of regime) and worked at various places in Nanaimo. The sealions, the salmon bleeding up the river just to return to where they were born. The hippies living on tiny islands. Vancouver’s charm. The clear cuts, the logs floating around the city. The fact that Hungary offers a valid perspective, yet only one of the many. It was then it started to sink in that I wanted to become a teacher.
I returned to Budapest to do my BA Ed. in universal history, English literature and EFL. Having graduated in 2001, I set up a language school called Dramateka where I learnt the bits and pieces of the trade for real. Together with astonishing colleagues we developed ESP programs (English for Specific Purposes) for young mothers, cruiser hospitality staff, students of the gypsy minority, and youngsters with drug experiences wanting to complete their secondary studies.
Chess and English
Although the idea had been lingering around for many years, teaching ESL through chess only became a reality right above atomic accelerator, CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. The tiny particles were whizzing around a hundred meters underground at the speed of light, while my chess students’ brains were sending and receiving neuro-signals at a similarly impressive speed. Some of them were only five. It was common to have 8-10 nationalities in a class, so the only way to communicate was through chess and English. Eventually, I founded Chess Education Europe, the company that undertook creating the primary school book based on chess and English. You must be familiar with its title by now, Chess and English.
I hope that what I had received from my chess trainers and athletics coaches over the years, combined with my professional experiences will help teachers realize the potential of today’s children.
Longing for new challenges, I ventured international. In 2006 I held my first IGCSE and A-level classes to native British students at Sierra Bernia School, Spain. I wanted a challenge? There I had it. With loads of preparation, however, by time I became more and more confident. I tried to give them a similar experience I had had playing chess and training on the track. Feeling encouraged. Then came Barcelona, Saudi Arabia, France and Switzerland.