08 Oct 5 Reasons Why Your Child Should Learn Chess
Have you ever played chess?
Ask anyone this question and the answers would vary from nervous smiles, shoulder shrugs, to chuckles or even remarks like “yes, but all I remember is how each piece moves!”
What we fail to realize when making these notions is that the reason why we don’t remember our multiple trysts with this game is that more often than not, Chess seemed so real life when we played it that it doesn’t feel like a game at all. For many chess lovers, chess is all about learning how their mind works, an insider view of so many personal attributes.
Summer is over, and its time to go back to school.
Whether it is online schooling or the normal routine, both parents and children are busy planning, organizing, and figuring out the minor details of the new academic session. While you are matching schedules and reorganizing routines on your calendars, we have something important to share with you about what matters.
Your child’s overall development.
Amidst all that has happened in the year 2020 so far, the importance and relevance of learning life skills and certain soft skills that we explain in detail later in this piece are at its peak. More and more people who are joining the Chess KLUB community reveal that chess is not just as another boardgame to kill boredom, but also a tool for understanding for something deeper and more meaningful about oneself.
Want to know more?
There is no right or wrong age of playing chess.
At Chess KLUB we have players ranging from the age of 5 to 85 years, and I dare say it with utmost pride, each of them brings their own set of expertise, which is not at all related to their age or experience levels in the outside world. As a parent, most of us want the best for our children, and finding the right balance between what they should be investing their time in and what they ought to be doing, is a constant juggle.
But there are some valid, proven, and even scientific reasons why your child should aim for learning, and more importantly, enjoying a game of Chess early on in their lives.
Especially in the life and times of social distancing, chess could be our solution of keeping our children hooked to each other, and help them look beyond reclusive video games and self -centered online learning that is neither collaborative nor engaging with peers on a personal level.
5 reasons why your child should learn chess
I. Chess develops early cognitive abilities
A few years ago, there was widespread worry about the declining mathematical abilities of children across the schools in the United States and Europe. It was universally accepted that Chess is introduced as a support for these students.
However, countless studies attempted to disprove the belief that chess does improve the cognitive abilities and mathematical functions, or even if there was an improvement, it may as well be attributed to the “placebo” effect that could be achieved with playing any other game or a board game. However, according to studies by Chandramallika Basak, Ph.D. , on Cognitive benefits of learning to play chess and other strategy games, mentions in her 2016 pilot study that positive cognitive effects for beginning chess campers after just one chess-intensive, 15-hour week.
Specifically, she said, “Children recruited from the chess camp improved in focusing attention to the target and in multi-tasking skills.”
II. Chess helps in exercising both sides of the brain
Believe it or not, Chess players use both lobes of the brain more efficiently.
According to a study conducted in 2007, and supported by several other studies subsequently, chess players access long-term memory chunks of domain-specific information, which are presumably stored in the temporal lobes. It was also predicted that the recognition memory tasks would activate working memory areas in the frontal and parietal lobes.
In short, playing chess activates the whole brain, and can be beneficial in long term memory.
III. Chess Players have better visual perspective abilities
In a chess game, players need to constantly consider the opponent’s perspective to adequately anticipate the next moves while planning their moves and counter-moves from their perspective. In other words, considering the opponent’s perspective and own perspective simultaneously is a must in chess. Extensive training over the years helps young players perform perspective switching faster and more effectively.
Taken together, the effect of chess training seems to be associated with children’s more efficient perspective-taking of other people’s viewpoints without exhausting their cognitive resources.
(Read the full study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6821682/) This is an important skill to develop since it helps in several real-life situations into adulthood.
IV. Chess players show better auditory memory function
Chess is a complex intellectual game and is considered a hard-mental activity that requires sophisticated problem-solving skills. During chess playing, many kinds of cognitive processes are involved, e.g., memory, working memory, attention, visuospatial perception, motivation, and decision making.
Auditory memory function in expert chess players was significantly better compared to non-chess players. It seems that increased auditory memory function is related to strengthening cognitive performances due to playing chess for a long time.
(The study is available here : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4715404/)
V. Chess helps kill boredom and enhances motivation to learn
Several studies have found chess to improve academic performance in general and mathematical capacity.
Abilities and knowledge acquired during chess play can be transferred to the domain of mathematics.
The results further indicate that a possible mechanism behind the improved math abilities maybe transfers of non-specific knowledge (i.e. problem-solving and flexible thinking). There is an indirect but noticeable effect of chess instruction on math through reduced boredom and increased happiness.
(The study is here : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426665/#pone.0177257.ref032)
We can go on and on about the benefits of chess, which individuals will not be benefitted by enhancing the decision-making process under time pressure, assessment of risk, and the ability to take the risk in adversarial situations is something that we can impart effortlessly to our kids through chess.
The present situation and pandemic have shown how, more than the academic milestones, our children will be benefitted from achieving the emotional and intellectual markers for their holistic development.
An hour a week is not something that can’t be managed in the busy school schedule. It’s all about interest, intent, discipline, and also perseverance.
The bigger question is, would you be interested in giving your child a chance towards this all-round growth opportunity?
Out of the many combinations of outcomes in the game of chess, there cannot be a win-win. But, in the exclusive Chess KLUB referral program, everybody is indeed a winner!
The program is not just any referral program, it’s your way of saying – “Thank You” to someone and also your chance to be the wind beneath their wings. Giving back someone, their hobby or passion is a memorable gift and will be cherished for the longest time to come.
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Bulbul, a Finance professional-turned-content writer, is a content and digital marketing consultant. She is an avid follower of the game of chess, she has developed a life-long affinity towards the game because of its simplicity and uniqueness. In her free time, she loves to read, create graphics, and do Yoga.