CHESS & BOARD GAMES
Chess is a classic game of strategy, believed to have been invented more than 1500 years ago in India. Legend has it that the ruler of India asked his wise men to devise a way to teach the children of the royal family to become better thinkers and better generals on the battlefield. Chess was the result. In the centuries since its invention, chess has spread to every country in the world. While countless other games have died out, chess lives on. In the United States, it has received endorsements by many educators, ranging from Benjamin Franklin to former U.S. Secretary of Education, Terrell Bell. In Western Pennsylvania, more than 70 schools and a dozen libraries offer chess programs, reaching several thousand students each year.
Benefits of Playing Chess
Improves concentration and memory
According to studies done at the University of Memphis, playing chess significantly improves children’s visual memory, attention span, and spatial-reasoning ability. Perhaps that is because, in chess as in school, concentration and memory go hand in hand.
In order to play well, you have to focus completely on your objective—trapping the opponent’s king. As you constantly visualize the board, its pieces, your moves, and your opponent’s every possible counter-move, your power of concentration grows. As your concentration grows, it becomes easier to memorize past games and classic strategies. In the process, both concentration and memory grow stronger in a kind of mutually reinforcing “dance.”
Enhances reading and maths skills
With its focus on problem solving and move variables, it’s not surprising that chess can improve a student’s maths skills. But numerous studies show that chess improves reading skills as well!
In separate multi-year studies of elementary-school-age children in Texas, Los Angeles, New York, Pennsylvania, and Canada, researchers found that students who played chess showed more improvement in reading and/or maths assessment scores than their non-chess-playing peers. A Venezuelan study found that playing chess even increased students’ IQs!
Why does chess improve reading skills? One researcher, educational psychologist Dr. Stuart Marguilies, suggests that it’s because the cognitive processes for both are similar—requiring decoding, thinking, comprehension, and analysis.
Fosters logic, critical thinking, and creativity
Chess favours the “if–then” thinker. “If I move here, then my opponent may move here, here, or even here.” That’s logic and critical thinking in action! But studies also show that chess boosts creativity, most dramatically in one specific area—originality.
In a four-year study of students in grades 7 to 9, researchers found that playing chess increased original thinking more than two other creativity-training activities did. Why? Researchers theorize that by encouraging students to imagine all possible move alternatives, chess trains the mind to play with possibilities, which is a cornerstone of original thinking.
Encourages and rewards hard work
Chess offers immediate feedback. Lose your focus, lose a piece. Practice and study the strategies, win more games. In chess you control your destiny. Or, as Connections Academy’s 2010 Chess Tournament winner Jeremy Coste says, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
Which ages can enrol?
In our Chess Club we accept children from all ages.
Get in touch for more information on our timetable and prices.
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