The Undeniable Benefits of Teaching Kids to Play Chess
Updated: Dec 8, 2019
Chess is a game that is practiced in every corner of the world. No matter where you are if you search for “chess clubs near me” on Google, millions of results will appear in an instant. Today, Mindful Chess has chess clubs in London, Cobham, Brighton, Bristol and many other locations around the UK. As a result, more and more parents and children are discovering the undeniable benefits of learning how to play chess.
In case you are on the fence about whether to include chess club in your child’s extra-curricular activities, here is a list of the benefits Mindful Chess consider to be the most significant.
Playing Chess Improves Concentration
At Mindful Chess, we strongly believe that chess enhances focus and improves concentration. Even shorter games require total focus to keep track of what is happening on the board.
In our classes, we notice a significant improvement in focus over the course of the term. To mindfully resist distraction and concentrate on what is front of us is a skill that even adults often find challenging. Nurturing focus on the board thus enhances a child’s ability to concentrate on other tasks beyond the game.
It Develops Problem-Solving Skills
Every chess game is made up of countless puzzles. Is the king safe there? Is it better to take with the knight or the bishop? Chess encourages children to be confident problem-solvers. It teaches that in the face obstacle, there are always options. This is an important life skill and chess is an excellent tool for teaching it.
Chess Uses Both Sides of The Brain
Many people wrongly assumed that chess engages primarily with the left side of the brain. This is the side which deals with logic, science and mathematics. The right side of the brain, on the other hand, is responsible for creative and artistic thinking.
For our brains to function at their maximum capacity, it is important to engage both sides as often as possible. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that chess engages the right side of the brain just as much as it engages the left side.
By playing chess, your children aren’t just strengthening their problem-solving skills. They are also improving their capacity for originality and creative thinking.
Chess Teaches Us How to Plan Ahead
Many psychology studies over the years have demonstrated that children typically struggle with the task of planning ahead. The infamous “marshmallow test” illustrates time and time again that children are more likely to give in to immediate gratification than plan ahead for longterm gains.
This is a life skill that requires constant practice. Teaching chess, however, is an excellent way to introduce the concept. Yes, there is a free pawn on the board but move the knight instead and there is a more valuable piece up for grabs. Planning ahead is the characteristic feature of all great chess players and we nurture this in all of our students.
Chess Improves Our Memory
We teach plenty of tactics and strategy in our classes. As well as working to remember tips and tricks, children must exercise their memory so far as remembering their opponent’s last move or the plan they have been working on.
Furthermore, medical studies have shown that playing chess decreases the risk of dementia as playing chess develops brain functioning. Getting into the habit of playing chess young can have extraordinary benefits in adulthood.
It Teaches Important Social Skills
Finally, chess teaches important social schools. On some days, your child might win while on others, they may not. We remind Mindful Chess students to be gracious and shake hands either way. This is an important part of playing the game and chess courtesy reminds children to be considerate of their opponents.
There are countless other benefits to playing chess and many of these are unique to the individual. When it comes to mental stimulation and enhancing focus, however, there are few greater activities you can teach your child.