You’ve heard the rumors circulating around that playing chess is great for a child's brain development, right? Well, the rumors are true!
Chess gives the brain a rigorous, exhilarating workout that's great for both children and adults. Let’s take a look at 5 of the most commonly discussed benefits of playing chess, along with 2 bonus benefits at the end.
1) Develops Logic, Critical Thinking, and Creativity
Chess exercises both sides of the brain.
The game of chess requires a lot of “if this, then-that” scenarios, requiring players to imagine all the potential moves, alternatives and outcomes of each possibility.
One study, conducted by Robert Ferguson, executive director of the American Chess School in Pennsylvania found that kids who had been playing chess versus computer games scored 13 percentage points higher in critical thinking and 35 percentage points higher in creative thinking.
2) Increases Concentration & Memory
Studies have shown that children who play chess regularly significantly improve their visual memory and concentration. A fantastic aspect of chess is that the game rewards you for concentration and penalizes you for losing it. Lose focus and you lose a piece, or worse, the game! Maintain focus and you're likely to win! This aspect of the game of chess gives a child's brain a fun incentive to stay focused while playing!
3) Develops Problem Solving Skills
The game of chess is a game of problem-solving, planning, and foresight. Being able to think through changing variables and formulate a plan based on various possibilities are invaluable skills necessary for the game, and more importantly, for life!
4) Improves Reading Skills
Chess requires kids to use cognitive functions such as decoding, analysis, thinking, and comprehension which are all skills required for reading. Studies have shown that kids who play chess score an average of 10 percentage points higher on reading tests versus kids who don’t play chess.
5) Teaches Planning and Foresight
In order to win in the game of chess you must have the ability to foresee multiple possibilities and outcomes in order to formulate a successful plan.
Forming a plan is similar to drawing a map. Learning to think ahead and plan where you need to position your pieces in order to trap, capture, or block your opponent’s pieces is vital to the game of chess.
Ultimately, the goal is to capture your opponent’s king, but patience and planning is key to getting there. A lot has to be done to set yourself up for success.
6) Engages the mind OFF of screens
It’s no surprise that the amount of screen time children are exposed to these days can diminish their ability to concentrate and focus. Chess is a powerful way of counteracting the negative effects of this digital era by engaging them in an activity that IMPROVES concentration while giving them a fun activity to enjoy off of screens.
7) Connects You with Others
Studies show that activities that connect children with others (especially their parents) can have a powerfully positive impact on overall brain health. Unlike video games or TV, chess builds human connection through healthy competitive play. We surveyed avid chess players and were delighted to see that every player had warm, positive memories of when they learned chess as a kid. Teaching a child to play chess not only builds a healthy brain, but it also reinforces positive relationships and builds lasting memories.
So how can I encourage my child to play chess?
With so many benefits for kids who learn chess, the obvious question to ask is what's the best way to teach a child to play and enjoy chess? We think that's such an important question that we spent a week researching the answer and brainstorming fun ideas...eventually writing this blog post about the best way to teach chess to kids. Take a look!
Since the best way to encourage children to play chess is by making it easy to learn and FUN to play, we created a game called "Fun Family Chess" to do just that.
If you'd like to see your children enjoy the many benefits of playing chess, then check out Fun Family Chess here!