Chess is a classic game of strategy, invented more than 1500 years ago in India. Legend has it that the ruler of India asked his wise men to devise a way to teach the children of the royal family to become better thinkers and better generals on the battlefield. Chess was the result.
In schools, chess often serves as a bridge, bringing together children of different ages, races and genders in an activity they can all enjoy. Chess helps build individual friendships and also school spirit when children compete together as teams against other schools. Chess also teaches children about sportsmanship – how to win graciously and not give up when encountering defeat. For children with adjustment issues, there are many examples where chess has led to increased motivation, improved behavior, better self-image, and even improved attendance. Chess provides a positive social outlet, a wholesome recreational activity that can be easily learned and enjoyed at any age.
We need to bring chess in schools because we believe that it directly contributes to academic performances of the students. Chess makes students smarter unconsciously by acquiring some skills while playing. These skills are:
- Focusing – children are required to observe carefully and have a full time concentration. If children don’t pay attention about the reason behind each and every move, there’s a possibility that they may respond incorrectly which leads to the loss of the game. During the game you are focused on only one main goal-to checkmate the opponent’s king and become the victor.
- Visualizing – children are prompted to imagine a sequence of actions before it happens. Teachers actually strengthen the ability of the children to visualize by training them to shift the pieces in their mind, first one, then several moves ahead.
- Thinking Ahead – children are taught to think first, and then act. Teachers will teach them to ask themselves “If I do this, what might happen then, and how can I respond?” Over time, chess helps develop patience and thoughtfulness.
- Weighing Options – children are taught that they don’t have to do the first thing that pops into their mind. They learn to identify alternatives and consider the pros and cons of various actions. They will realize the difference between finding a good move and finding the best move.
- Logical thinking – children will understand some logical strategy. They will understand the importance of bringing the pieces into the game in the beginning, keeping the king safe at all times, etc. Mistakes are inevitable and chess, like life, is a never-ending learning process.
- Analysing Concretely – children will learn to evaluate the results of specific actions and sequences. Does this sequence help me or hurt me? Decisions are better when guided by logic, rather than impulse.
- Thinking Abstractly – children are taught to step back periodically from details and consider the bigger picture. They also learn to take patterns used in one context and apply them to different, but related situations.
- Planning – children are taught to develop longer range goals and take steps toward bringing them about. They are also taught of the need to re-evaluate their plans as new developments change the situation.
- Independence – children needs to be independent because chess is an individual game. They are forced to make important decisions influenced only by their own judgment.
- Self-motivation – children are encouraged to search for the best move, the best plan, and the most beautiful continuation out of the endless possibilities. It encourages the everlasting aim towards progress, always steering to ignite the flame of victory
None of these skills are specific to chess, but they are all part of the game. The beauty of chess as a teaching tool is that it stimulates children’s minds and helps them to build these skills while enjoying themselves. As a result, children become more critical thinkers, better problem solvers, and more independent decision makers.
We need to bring chess in schools because life can actually imitate chess. Every move has a purpose. Life obviously cannot be lived with this much unceasing calculation, nor should we want to live it that way, but there are times when we must align our actions with a predetermined strategy, so that we can achieve victor not only in the board game but also in the game of life.
Chess: A Learning Tool
- Develop analytical, synthetic and decision-making skills, which they can transfer to real life.
- Countless researchers and studies have shown over the years that chess does indeed strengthen a child’s mental clarity, fortitude, stability, and overall health.
- Learn to engage in deep and thorough chess research which will help them build their confidence in their ability to do academic research.
- Help children gain insights into the nature of competition which will help them in any competitive endeavor.
- Enhance creativity, concentration, critical thinking skills, memory, academic achievement, problem solving, cultural enrichment, intellectual maturity, self-esteem, standardized test scores, and a host of other qualities that every parent and teacher desires.
- Chess develops memory.The chess theory is complicated and many players memorize different opening variations. You will also learn to recognize various patterns and remember lengthy variations.
- Chess improves concentration. During the game you are focused on only one main goal-to checkmate and become the victor.
- Chess develops logical thinking. Chess requires some understanding of logical strategy. For example, you will know that it is important to bring your pieces out into the game at the beginning, to keep your king safe at all times, not to make big weaknesses in your position and not to blunder your pieces away for free. (Although you will find yourself doing that occasionally through your chess career. Mistakes are inevitable and chess, like life, is a never-ending learning process.)
- Chess promotes imagination and creativity. It encourages you to be inventive. There are an indefinite amount of beautiful combinations yet to be constructed.
- Chess teaches independence. You are forced to make important decisions influenced only by your own judgment.
- Chess develops the capability to predict and foresee consequences of actions. It teaches you to look both ways before crossing the street.
- Chess inspires self-motivation. It encourages the search of the best move, the best plan, and the most beautiful continuation out of the endless possibilities. It encourages the everlasting aim towards progress, always steering to ignite the flame of victory.
- Chess shows that success rewards hard work. The more you practice, the better you’ll become. You should be ready to lose and learn from your mistakes. One of the greatest players ever, Capablanca said, “You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win. You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player.”
- Chess and Science. Chess develops the scientific way of thinking. While playing, you generate numerous variations in your mind. You explore new ideas, try to predict their outcomes and interpret surprising revelations. You decide on a hypothesis, and then you make your move and test it.
- Chess and Technology. What do chess players do during the game? Just like computers they engage in a search for the better move in a limited amount of time. What are you doing right now? You are using a computer as a tool for learning.
- Chess and Mathematics. You don’t have to be a genius to figure this one out. Chess involves an infinite number of calculations, anything from counting the number of attackers and defenders in the event of a simple exchange to calculating lengthy continuations. And you use your head to calculate, not some little machine.
- Chess and Research. There are millions of chess resources out there for every aspect of the game. You can even collect your own chess library. In life, is it important to know how to find, organize and use boundless amounts of information. Chess gives you a perfect example and opportunity to do just that.
- Chess and Art. In the Great Soviet Encyclopedia chess is defined as “an art appearing in the form of a game.” If you thought you could never be an artist, chess proves you wrong. Chess enables the artist hiding within you to come out. Your imagination will run wild with endless possibilities on the 64 squares. You will paint pictures in your mind of ideal positions and perfect outposts for your soldiers. As a chess artist you will have an original style and personality.
- Chess and Psychology. Chess is a test of patience, nerves, will power and concentration. It enhances your ability to interact with other people. It tests your sportsmanship in a competitive environment.
- Chess improves schoolwork and grades. Numerous studies have proven that kids obtain a higher reading level, math level and a greater learning ability overall as a result of playing chess. For all those reasons mentioned above and more, chess playing kids do better at school and therefore have a better chance to succeed in life.
- Chess opens up the world for you. You don’t need to be a high ranked player to enter big important competitions. Even tournaments such as the US Open and the World Open welcome players of all strengths. Chess provides you with plenty of opportunities to travel not only all around the country but also around the world. Chess is a universal language and you can communicate with anyone over the checkered plain.
- Chess enables you to meet many interesting people. You will make life-long friendships with people you meet through chess.
- Chess is cheap. You don’t need big fancy equipment to play chess. In fact, all you may need is your computer! (And we really hope you have one of those, or else something fishy is going on here.) It is also good to have a chess set at home to practice with family members, to take to a friend’s house or even to your local neighborhood park to get everyone interested in the game.
- CHESS IS FUN! Dude, this isn’t just another one of those board games. No chess game ever repeats itself, which means you create more and more new ideas each game. It never gets boring. You always have so much to look forward to. Every game you are the general of an army and you alone decide the destiny of your soldiers. You can sacrifice them, trade them, pin them, fork them, lose them, defend them, or order them to break through any barriers and surround the enemy king. You’ve got the power! To summarize everything in three little words-Chess is Everything!
Benefits of Chess – SUMMARY
1. It can raise your IQ
2. It helps prevent Alzheimer’s
3. It exercises both sides of the brain
4. It increases your creativity
5. It improves your memory
6. It increases problem-solving skills
7. It improves reading skills
8. It improves concentration
9. It grows dendrites
10. It teaches planning and foresight