Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco
The game of chess is a highly-strategic, competitive game that takes years to master. However, kids as young as 5 years old can play the game. And, in fact, they should…for many reasons. This begs the question, ‘if chess is good for kids to learn, then should it be taught in schools?’
There are several reasons why chess should be taught in schools. Not only does it help strengthen and train the brain, but it also teaches basic life skills that all kids should know to become successful, productive adults later in life.
After reading this article, you should have no doubt in your mind as to why learning chess at a young age is crucial for both social and psychological development. So, if you’re ready to learn more about the many benefits of playing chess in school, then let’s get started!
1. Improves Math and Reading Skills
Research continues to support the intellectual benefits of chess. Playing chess develops problem-solving skills in kids. It also helps improve their overall performance in subjects such as math, reading, and writing.
A study made by James M. Liptrap, a teacher at Klein School in Spring, Texas, supports this notion. He discovered that grade 5 students who played chess scored 4.3 points higher on state reading tests and 6.4 points higher on math tests than their peers who didn’t play the game!
2. Improves Creative Writing and Critical Thinking Skills
There seems to be no end to the psychological benefits of playing chess for kids. Further proof of this comes from a doctoral dissertation done in Bradford, Pennsylvania.
Robert Ferguson, from the American Chess School, explained that junior high students who played chess scored 35% higher in creative writing and 13% higher in critical thinking based on several psychological tests after just 60 hours of play!
3. Improves Memory
Playing chess is like a rigorous exercise for the brain. Because it requires players to engage in decision-making, it helps students learn to plan ahead and use logic to make sound choices.
Dr. Diane Horgan, Dean of the Graduate School of Counseling and Educational Psychology at the University of Memphis in Tennessee, found that chess not only improves visual memory but also helps increase spatial-reasoning ability.
4. Might Increase IQ Levels
The game of chess has been proven to increase brain power and raise IQ levels. In fact, at least one study has shown that it can indeed raise a child’s intelligence quotient significantly. For example, 4,000 second-grade students in Venezuela showed marked improvement in overall IQ scores after just 4 months of play!
5. Improves Social Skills
Chess rules dictate that players shake hands before the game, treat each other with respect by not purposefully distracting one’s opponent, and never storm off in disgust no matter how badly one loses a match!
This proves that there are positive social attributes attached to the game as well as intellectual benefits. Kids can learn respect, cooperation, and discipline through playing chess, which are all necessary life skills for future adults.
6. Improves Concentration
Most children have very short attention spans. They get bored easily and can’t concentrate. This is where learning to play is crucial. Students need to stay focussed for longer periods of time, which helps improve concentration. With a longer attention span, kids will do better in school both academically as well as socially.
7. Improves Strategical Thinking Skills
To be able to fulfill larger tasks in life, kids need to learn how to create a ‘plan of attack’ and outline plausible, step-by-step ways to achieve goals. Playing chess in schools can help a lot in this respect. During a game, players must strategically map out a plan and then execute it successfully in order to win.
8. Improves Decision-Making Skills
Chess is a game of decisions, not only about which move to play but also how to manage your time and when to follow your instincts. Time management and using intuition are examples of practical decision-making skills which are vital for students to learn.
Later in life, these skills enable adults to function professionally in almost any working environment. As well, they often help people recognize and avoid unhealthy or unsafe situations, both personally and professionally.
9. Improves Pattern Recognition Skills
Playing chess helps students learn to recognize and respond to various patterns. In fact, pattern recognition is one of the most important aspects of the game.
Each chess piece moves in a specific and unique way. Knowing the different movement patterns and potential consequences of each movement helps kids develop their pattern recognition skills which aid in reading texts, identifying people, retrieving objects, and following directions.
10. Teaches Flexibility and How to Stay Calm Under Pressure
When students play games with timed movements, such as chess, they must consider their current position on the board and then make a move before the time runs out.
Learning to stay calm in order to think their way through the different scenarios gives students the opportunity to make informed, well-thought-out decisions under pressure, similar to those they will ultimately make later on in life.
11. Teaches Sportsmanship
By engaging in games, such as chess, where there’s usually a clear-cut winner (and loser), students learn how to be more sportsmanlike – to win (and lose) with dignity, humility, and grace. This is a valuable tool for them as they enter the workforce later in life.
It teaches them how to overcome failure and loss, as well as the importance of perseverance in the face of difficulty.
12. Might Reduce the Risk of Developing Degenerative Brain Diseases
Research has shown that playing chess can help reduce the possibility of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other debilitating mental illnesses later in life. It promotes brain growth and the healthy stimulation of neurons, which send signals from the brain to the body. When functioning at an optimal level, the brain becomes stronger and faster.
Kids, who learn the game (either at home or at school) and continue to play it into adulthood, significantly decrease their chances of developing a number of degenerative brain diseases.
13. Teaches Patience
The average chess game takes about 40 moves, each of which is carefully calculated, planned, and then executed. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours to complete.
These slow, careful calculations teach kids the virtue of patience. Patience is a key life skill necessary for success in adulthood.
14. Gives Kids a Chance to Engage in Educational Entertainment
Playing chess is a great way for kids to engage in quiet play, away from loud, violent, and often silly forms of online gaming entertainment. It gives them the chance to ‘unplug’ from digital devices. It also gives them the opportunity to enjoy a game that is as much entertaining as it is mentally stimulating.
15. It’s So Much Fun to Play
One of the best reasons for children to play chess in school is just for the fun of it! To be successful later in life, kids need to learn how to balance work and play.
Learning that there is a place for fun in school (as well as the required learning and studying aspect) is a great way to teach them this. After all, life is all about harmony.
These are at least 15 reasons why chess should be taught in both elementary and high school. Not only does it sharpen and train the brain, but it also teaches basic life skills that all kids need to know in order to become successful, productive adults later in life. There are many proven social and psychological benefits associated with chess play.
So go ahead, bring out the board and the pawns and engage in some fun chess play with your kids today. Trust me, not only will you bond with them over the experience, but it will improve their overall well-being in a multitude of ways you couldn’t possibly imagine. Good luck, fellow gamers!