Thursday, December 28, 2006

Play Chess! Your Mind Will Thank You!

Have you ever seen a news story or magazine article about teaching inner city kids to play chess? While this may seem like just a feel good story, the benefits of playing chess are documented for children as well as adults of all ages. People who play chess experience intellectual benefits as well as social and emotional benefits. If you think that chess is boring, or that you are not smart enough to play chess or that you are too old, there are some things that you should know about chess.

1. Playing chess builds and helps to maintain intellectual abilities. When children who are in inner-city at risk schools are involved in a chess program either through the school, or another local organization they not only learn how to play chess, they also improve their math and reading skills as well. Test scores of children who learned to play chess showed an amazing improvement over the course of just a year's time. Even kids who were not the best chess players still showed improvement. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, adults who play chess also improve their brain function and it helps their memory and may delay or diminish the effects of Alzheimer's disease.

2. Chess has social and emotional benefits as well. Children who are involved in playing chess either at school or in some other group can build skills such as learning about how to be a good winner and loser. They learn about fairness and not cheating. They also learn confidence and self-esteem as they improve their skills. Communication is improved as the children communicate with other children and adults while they play the game and discuss strategies and moves.

3. When you play chess you develop more creativity, problem solving skills, and long term strategy planning. As a child or adult first starts learning the game of chess, they may just be planning one move at a time. They do not have the skills to think ahead. But as they improve, they get better at thinking more moves in the future and planning strategies and counter strategies to defend their pieces as well as capture their opponent's pieces. These are skills that can be used in real life as well.

Chess has been around in one form or another for over 2,000 years. The appeal of this game lies in its ability to challenge player's intellect and strategy.

Eriani Doyel writes articles about Home and Family and Hobbies. If you would like more information about how to play chess visit