Reasons to study chess

Chess is a really fun game with a rich history. Not only is chess fun to play, playing chess has many benefits that reward players on and off the chess board.

As we are a scholastic chess club, these reasons will be most relevant for student chess players, but chess can benefit anyone of any any age!

Anyone can play chess.

People of all ages can play chess. You can start playing when you are young, and you can play your whole life.

People from all over the world play chess. In fact, playing chess online and tournament chess are great ways to connect with people from many diverse backgrounds, including other countries.

Getting into chess isn’t very expensive — all you need is a chess set or an internet connection and you can be playing in no time. Also, there are many books and internet resources that can help you become better at chess.

Chess is good for your health.

Playing chess is good for your brain. It helps your memory and your concentration. It also strengthens your logic and procedural thinking (the left side of your brain) and boosts your creativity and pattern recognition (right side of the brain) — and this leads to higher IQ.

Chess is also good for your body. The same good eating and sleeping habits that promote your brain and good chess play are also good for your general health.

Chess makes you think better.

There really isn’t a better laboratory for critical thinking than a game of chess.

Chess teaches you to interpret your situation through analysis (breaking it down into components), to synthesize (or construct) a solution, and to evaluate the results.

Chess helps you think deeper.

Chess doesn’t just help you with problem solving, but it teaches you to go beyond to the next level of thinking.

Chess teaches you the difference between tactics (short-range plans) and strategy (long-range plans). Chess teaches you about balance in regard to material (chess pieces), space (position), and time (initiative). Chess also teaches you the complexities of actions and responses within a joint decision problem. Chess teaches you these things, and much more.

Chess and discipline go hand in hand.

Most of us associate the word “discipline” with “punishment”. Actually, the word “discipline” means “the practice of someone who is serious about learning”.

Improving at chess requires you to study. It requires you to practice. It requires you think about how your ability on the board is connected to what you do off the board.

Chess not only requires discipline, but it teaches it. It teaches you to manage your time and your material. It teaches you to overcome positions of disadvantage. It teaches you patience.

Chess improves your school performance.

Studies have shown that kids who play chess improve in reading and math, get better grades, have greater self-esteem, and have fewer behavioral problems.

Chess leads to success.

Chess helps you understand and connect to people.

Chess teaches you to respect your opponent. Because chess is a joint decision problem, not everything is under your control. To have success you must be able to figure out your opponent’s plan. Very often this requires learning how your opponent thinks, and this comes from observing their actions.

Chess teaches you to respect yourself. In chess there are no teammates to bail you out — you rise or fall based on your own chess play. This inspires independence, which builds confidence.

When you learn to respect how others think, and learn to respect yourself, then you realize that the chess board is flat — we all have equal opportunity to come together and learn from each other, and this makes us all better.

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