Many parents search for means to make their children develop from the time they are toddlers, so that they become intelligent people. From a certain age, parents start encouraging their children to start playing games that are supposed to enhance their cognitive development.
HOW DOES CHESS AFFECT KIDS’ BRAINS?
Playing at least a little chess regularly has an immense effect on the brain – as long as children aren’t forced to play it, since compulsion has never led to satisfying results.
Chess makes kids smarter in several areas in life, which we hope to explain briefly. Maybe you will be convinced and even decide to motivate your child to explore this fascinating new game, who knows? So, let me enlighten you on the effects of chess on kids’ brain.
- Performance At School
The concept that kids who particularly play chess are better at Mathematics is widespread and there’s really something to it! A chess player needs to calculate variations throughout the whole game, hence gains mathematical skills automatically. These skills are very very useful at school and lead to natural boost in performance for the child.
Plenty of people say that school is only about learning by heart and that children who are the most diligent get the best grades. Chess, undoubtedly, trains the memory – a chess player needs to remember openings, move orders, endgame strategies and so on!
‘What is the key to good performance at school?’
Definitely, the answer is discipline and concentration!
Now, let’s relate the two factors to chess:
Typically, younger children have very short concentration spans, of about 10 seconds for children aged between 7 – 12 years. A test was conducted on these children by using longer sentences, measuring how long it takes before the children give up and switch off. Children who play chess completely outperformed the others because those who play chess are far much more creative than those who don’t!
This fact is proven by a study with 40 fifth graders. Half of them had 42 chess lessons, while the others had none in the course of one school year. At the end, some tests were conducted – with stunning results! Children who played chess performed far much better than the others.
Chess also makes kids smarter at acquiring languages and at reading! For instance, a private academy in New York City, Dalton School, has one of the first and best chess programs in the States. The program started 18 years ago and today the students start their chess training already in the kindergarten. Chess is not considered to be a hard subject or work, but a lot of fun.
As a result, chess makes kids smarter in various subjects at school, which means it is a great idea to include it in the timetable!
To summarize it all, chess builds kids’ brains as it is a mind game hence causing a general rise in performance at school.
- Cognitive Development
Chess is a game of logic, hence requires abstract thinking. From experience, we can say that children of kindergarten age have trouble understanding complex games in a deeper sense. So, the beginning of school is a good time to start.
Abstract thinking, according to Jean Piaget (a Swiss psychologist), starts at the age of 12.
But is that true? Aren’t there kids who outplay strong chess players already at an earlier age?
Certainly! There are many kids who are able to think abstractly at an earlier age! This shows us that chess contributes extremely positively to children’s cognitive development.
Moreover, chess makes kids smarter in the area of logical thinking. In chess, you are supposed to evaluate different ideas, recognize patterns and decide on the best moves.
Studies also prove that children who play chess have a higher intelligence quotient (IQ). A study was performed in Venezuela with 4000 second graders. A significant increase in their IQ scores was measured after only five months of systematic chess training. Chess tournament games require good performance under time pressure. This game’s training – a form of play, combined with serious thinking – is helpful for children’s performance in tests and exams i.e. resulting in their cognitive development.
- Social Skills
We have talked a lot about the improvement of the cognitive skills of your kids.
But what about social intelligence?
Chess also has an impact on that!
Chess training can be a really fun thing. You come together in a group, solve some puzzles, maybe compete against each other, or talk about different moves or positions. Just like any other interactive hobby, you can make many new friends with the same interest when playing chess! Sometimes, it is even more effective to train together rather than alone. Thus, chess makes kids smarter in social interaction.
Patience is surely also needed if you want to play chess. Many kids experience problems when they have to wait for something, and they want to have everything immediately. That’s a typical phenomenon of the modern world – as much as possible, and as fast as possible! However, chess trains you to be patient and persistent in a long game!
So does Chess make kids smarter?
Drop a comment below and tell us your thoughts based on the article.
[ Article By: Joyce Kendi & Eastmond Mwenda ]