Chess is one of the most powerful educational tools that can strengthen a person’s mind. It teaches players how to think, analyze, and solve complex problems. It also strengthens academic performance such as mathematical, language, and reading skills, which in return strengthens cognitive skills that increase your IQ. A study in Venezuela found that a student’s IQ significantly increased after only 4.5 month of playing chess. The Venezuelan government was so impressed with the results that they introduced chess to all Venezuelan schools. Stick with chess and see those intelligent quotient scores rise!
IT IMPROVES SELF ESTEEM AND SELF IMAGE
Chess creates an environment that not only promotes winning but also thinks of losing as a chance for self-improvement. This creates a positive environment and in return a positive self-esteem and self-image. The chess game does not discriminate between age, race, religion, or gender. Everyone has the same resources and opportunities at their fingertips. Chess is a no judgement zone and takes serious measures against bullying and cheating.
IT IMPROVES DEVELOPMENT OF REASONING AND MEMORY
Chess requires the skill to memorize many openings, patterns, variations, and techniques. It also requires to access your memory and find the best next step even when all choices are bad. A study conducted in a rural school in Pennsylvania, concluded that chess lessons and the chance to play games significantly improved memory and verbal reasoning.
It improves reading skills
We know that "Chess makes you smart," a slogan of the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF). It does this by developing general intelligence, self-control, analytic skill, and increased ability to concentrate. In addition, the skills and cognition necessary to play chess well are alike with what is needed to read well. To read one must possess a higher-level process which requires an information component and a thinking component (processing, comprehending, and analyzing). Chess players combine high level processes that are needed for knowledge and information of the position and an interactive approach which analyzing each move like what the brain does when reading. Dr. Margulies study on The Effect of Chess on Reading Scores found that students who played chess improved significantly over the control group who spent more time on reading.
IT EMPOWERS GRIT
Chess is a game of courage. While courage is hard to measure, it is directly proportional to your level of grit. Chess makes you understand that like life, you need to take calculated risks in order to achieve success. This is done by building confidence and resilience. This dynamic combination will lead to learning and growth.
It helps to prevent Alzheimer’s
A study found in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Robert Freidland, concluded that people over the age of 75 who engage and exercise their brain with activities like chess are less likely to develop dementia when compared to non-board-game playing peers. This theory can be compared to a person who quits exercising. If the muscle is not continuously worked, the person will lose their strength. Just like a muscle, the brain works in the same manner. If it is not continuously stimulated, the brain will lose the ability to be healthy and fight injuries.
It increases your creativity
Science has proven that the right hemisphere is responsible for creativity. We can further conclude that if you activate the right hemisphere, you can develop your creative side. A German study was positively surprised to find that when a player is playing chess, not only is the left hemisphere stimulated but the right hemisphere is also being activated. Another study which followed a group of 7 to 9 graders, found that the group that played chess once a week for 32 weeks versus the group that used computers or did other activities, scored higher in all measures of creativity.
IT IMPROVES ANALYSIS, LOGIC, AND PROBLEM SOLVING
At the core of the game, Chess introduces players to a set of constantly changing problems and benefits that has been proved time and time again. Gaudreau (1992) in his study in New Brunswick, Canada integrated chess into the traditional mathematics curriculum and found that the average problem solving scores were significantly increased. Frank (1974) found that chess players had strong spatial, numerical, administrative-directions, and paperwork abilities. Ferguson (1983) concluded that after spending 60-64 hours studying and playing chess over 32 weeks, subjects showed a significant increase in their ability to critically think.
IT IMPROVES CONCENTRATION, PATIENCE, AND PerSERVERANCE
Chess is a game that quickly teaches the importance and rewards of concentration while also providing instant penalties for lapses. Games range from a quick 5 minutes to a 4 hour game and one slip up in concentration can result in a loss. Chess players from early on are taught to always analyze the game and plan their moves ahead. This skill is hard to achieve but once developed, the person’s ability to concentrate, be patient, and persevere is greatly enhanced.
IT DEVELOPS THE ABILITY TO PERFORM UNDER TIME PRESSURE
Chess players often deal with time pressure especially in Blitz games. This requires the ability to make a decision in less than a minute. The development of this skill is correlated with test anxiety. When a child is under stress from a test, he/she often can get overwhelmed and have many thoughts running in their head. Chess teaches the player to breath, focus, and organize their thoughts even when time is of the essence.