THE VALUE OF CHESS

Recent studies have confirmed what educators have known for decades: that chess improves academic performance, concentration, logical thinking, judgment, creativity, problem solving, emotional intelligence, and social skills. (Illinois Chess association – https://www.il-chess.org/the-value-of-chess)

Amongst the myriad of studies and essays regarding the benefits of chess, Graham Gardiner penned this report titled, ‘Educational Benefits of Chess’ (https://gardinerchess.com.au/educational-benefits-of-chess/). The following are just a few excerpts from this report:

One of the key educational benefits is raised IQ scores. There have been a number of studies which have proven the benefits of chess in terms of results. In Venezuela, a study of over 4,000 second grade students found a significant increase in most student’s IQ scores after only 4.5 months of systematically studying chess. This occurred across all socio-economic groups and for both males and females. After this study, the Venezuelan government introduced chess lessons to all schools. Another study in Pennsylvania in 1987-88 found that a group of year six students, that studied chess two to three times per week and played most days, had a significant increase in both memory and verbal reasoning skills, especially amongst the more competitive players.

…when playing a game of chess we learn about actions (or moves in this case) and consequences. What chess also helps teach students is all about winning and losing. Sportsmanship is a vital part of chess and students are taught early on about how to react when they win a game and to think about the feelings of the opposing players. Indeed, one of the best things we see frequently at tournaments is a winning player showing the opponent what they could have done, helping them improve. On the flip side, we teach them that when they lose a game, they are in fact gaining more knowledge so we don’t regard it as losing.

Chess allows students to develop self-esteem and indeed provides an extra avenue to shine for some students. Unfortunately, not all students are gifted athletes and gifted academically. Chess allows anyone the chance to excel if they put their mind to it. Even students who perhaps play in a tournament and win only one game – that one game can mean the world to them and keep them excited for a long time to come. The benefit of this increase in self-esteem is that the students feel they can achieve, and this can in turn help benefit their own schoolwork at many levels.