How Chess Can Help Children Grow Smarter - KIDPRESSROOM

How Chess Can Help Children Grow Smarter

Chess for children - KIDPRESSROOM

A great French mathematician, physicist, and inventor Blaise Pascal once said, “Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.” The game of chess, believed by historians to have been invented somewhere around sixth century AD, has always been connected with human intellect and genius. The game requires in-depth calculations, position evaluation, board visualization, careful planning, and pattern recognition; all of which are primarily performed by our brain.

It is often argued that good chess players are generally smarter than their peers simply because they’re more intelligent. Essentially, this argument tries to advise that playing and learning chess won’t actually make you smarter, but you will make a good chess player if you are already genetically more intelligent.

After various studies conducted in this regard, the theory mentioned above has been proven wrong repeatedly, and it was established that there is, in fact, a direct relationship between the two. Although chess has shown to enhance mental abilities of men and women of all ages, the effect it has on children, however, is broader. A baby’s mind is blank and clear; and as children transition through different stages of development, the tender age of 5-14 is a crucial time period for a kid’s mental growth.

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How Chess Can Help Children

In a 2001 study conducted by James Celone, 19 elementary school students ages 7-14 were self-selected for a weeklong program which covered 20 hours of chess instructions. The purpose of the study was to discover whether an extensive chess education program enhanced a student’s abstract reasoning and problem-solving skills. The results clearly revealed a direct connection between the two. The study found that there was a significant increase in the post-test scores for all of the students in both intelligence and domain-specific problem-solving ability. These results confirmed and extended a similar study conducted by Christiaen in 1975 (Belgium).

Now that we have established that playing chess makes children smarter, the next question that arises is how. Then, what is the best way to use the game as a tool for your child’s mental progress?

Chess is one of the most complicated board games ever invented. Even though it teaches a child to become a better person overall by inducing personality traits such as patience, discipline, and sportsmanship, we will focus solely on mental attributes including cognitive abilities. Here are three ways learning and playing chess can help your children grow smarter.

1. Chess Improves Memory

Any chess player will tell you that memorization is one of the primary needs for learning the game. Of course, it requires remembering the opening moves that helped gain a previous win or remembering the previous tactics an opponent used in order to not fall into the same trap again.

But this is not just a theory. Almost all studies conducted in this regard affirmed that a child’s memorization power improved significantly after vigorous chess training as well as the experience of playing.

2. Chess Improves Concentration

Most professional chess matches go on for many hours. Top chess players know that distraction from the board for even a second could cost them the entire match.

Because of the nature of the game, full attention and concentration are required. If players lose track of their calculations and get diverted toward some other thought, they lose all the progress they made with their calculations.

Therefore, playing chess is a great way to improve concentration. This, in turn, helps students in their studies and their performance on exams.

3. Chess Improves Meta-cognitive and Math Problem-solving Abilities

A recent report published in 2011 revolved around testing students’ metacognitive ability and mathematical problem-solving capabilities at various school levels is another example. The participants were assessed using the – questionnaire of Panaoura, Philippou, and Christou (2003) and mathematics exams.

The chess playing students outperformed non-chess players in both of the tests. The assessment confirmed that chess can be used to develop higher-order thinking skills.

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Final Considerations

One of the greatest chess players of all times, Bobby Fischer, once said, “I’m not a chess genius; I’m a genius who happens to play chess.”

Most of the top chess players have also performed exceptionally well on IQ tests, including Fischer, Garry Kasparov, and many others. All of these players started learning the game at a very early age.

If you want a proven method of raising your child with an edge in this competitive world, chess is one of the best ways to do it. And if you are wondering where and how your child can start, looking at the chess club in their school or a local chess club are two of the best options.