Benefits of Chess Beyond the Board
The vast beneficial implications of chess extend beyond the chess board. It improves your logical thinking, reasoning skills, and concentration. However, the benefits are not limited to those. It has proven to improve academic performance in Mathematics (calculation) and even English (displaying highly complex logical thought structures and reasoning). The hardest part of being a chess instructor is moving students and parents away from some doubts they have about the game of chess. It is hard convincing the non-believers that chess is beneficial to those who learn and play the game. I had a day when one little girl looked up at me during an elementary school Open House, and with a straight serious face said, “Chess is for boys, I’m a girl! I can’t play this!” Another time, after making his way through a chess puzzle, a frustrated student muttered to himself, “I’m not smart enough for chess.” One particular parent of an ADHD student came to me after class with a concern, “Is he able to sit and play with the other children? I don’t know if chess is meant for him.” As tough as it might be to hear this from students and parents; it brings the greatest pleasure to us, the instructors, when parents understand the benefits of the game and their children are confident enough to conquer chess. Everyone has questions regarding these aforementioned benefits of chess so let us take a look at a few of the many benefits of learning how to play chess at an early age. The same benefits apply to even those who have been playing chess for years.
Chess teaches logical thinking
While facing an opponent in chess, students are forced to foresee the outcome of each of their moves on the chessboard. This mind process of, “If I do this, then this will happen, and then I will do this,” translates to real life where the students are able to assess their actions and predict consequences of those actions.
Chess builds patience and concentration
After students get equipped with the basic knowledge of the game, they play other students in tournament style settings. When the games begin, it is amazing how a lively class can transform into a peaceful bliss with the quiet shuffling of pieces. In this time, players are focused on one thing: checkmate, but they must be patient to get to the end of the game. A study was done on several schools that had implemented after school chess programs. They looked at the academic performance of students who took chess during the early years of elementary school and compared the academic performance of those students who were not learning chess in elementary school. This data was taken from several schools and the statistical data proved the students who started learning chess at an early age had significantly better academic performance than students who were not engaged in the activity.
Research says chess improves memory and prevents Alzheimer’s
The brain is a muscle which needs to be exercised just like you might exercise a bicep or the abdomen. Schools have implemented stricter Physical Education programs to condition the bodies of the students. Now schools are incorporating chess programs into their after school activities because they recognize the importance of exercising the brain as well as the body. This popular board game works the most important muscle, the brain. Students begin to recognize patterns and tactics of chess. They can remember how specific opponents play their games. Students can even develop the ability to recall all of the moves played in a game. Research has shown, if chess is played at an early age, it prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s at an old age.
Chess is fun for rainy days
This game has become extremely versatile. Students have brought their iPads and tablets into my class to show me highlights of the games they played when the family was traveling or even shopping. Chess can be played on a rainy (or sunny) day because it is meant to be played at all ages. There are different variations to the game where the entire family can team up and dive into a game of chess. Tournaments are hosted locally to provide a fun outlet for competitive chess players (boy or girl). These were just the tip of the iceberg, there are many more benefits of chess but if I were to go on I would have a novel to publish. Now that you know a thing or two about the benefits of chess, time to go play the game.
Happy Chess Playing!