Top 20 Benefits of Playing Chess

Why Play Chess

Chess is a mentally stimulating game that requires a lot of strategizing and sitting for extended periods in front of an 8×8 chessboard. Opponents wage mental wars against each other, reading and planning every move. It is pretty taxing. But still, you see many people playing this game literally on the streets, and its popularity keeps getting stronger.

Chess is a highly competitive sport and throws up its share of frustration (that feeling of trying desperately to save your king who is surrounded by danger) and enjoyment (when you mentally outwit your opponent). But, there are plenty of benefits to playing it too.

This article talks about the top 20 benefits of playing chess.

Benefits of playing chess

Before we jump into the advantages of playing chess, let us assure you that anybody can enjoy playing chess even though chess is a highly intellectual game. You don’t need to be gifted to play chess. Just learn its rules thoroughly, get a chess set, find a player willing to sit with you, and practice plenty. That’s all you need. You can read this article that helps you understand how to play Chess in 7 simple steps.

Here are the 20 benefits of playing chess:

  1. Enhances analytical thinking & problem-solving skills
  2. Inculcates the value of patience
  3. Can protect the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  4. Aids in treating Schizophrenia
  5. Increases IQ
  6. Improves focus
  7. Builds self-confidence
  8. Boosts memory retention
  9. Encourages rational thinking
  10. Boosts creativity
  11. Heightens learning ability
  12. Nurtures spatial skills
  13. Promotes harmony among people
  14. Helps deal with stress
  15. The best exercise your brain can get
  16. Improves reading comprehension
  17. Stimulates the nervous system
  18. Works as a therapy or rehabilitation exercise
  19. Learn new strategizes
  20. Develops perspective

Enhances analytical thinking & problem-solving skills

Chess requires careful assessment and execution of moves to get the upper hand on the opponents. It challenges the players’ minds and forces them to analyze their opponents’ moves. Moreover, they also need to think about which move gets them an advantage. This constant engagement with the brain increases the problem-solving ability and heightens analytical thinking in a person.

Inculcates the value of patience

Chess is a game of mental endurance. Often, players have to sit silently for extended periods in a chess match, with some games stretching for hours. While it may look like the players aren’t doing anything productive for spectators, there is a battle of wits going on inside the players’ minds. And a sudden move can cost the whole game. Hence, patience is crucial in any chess match. If you regularly play chess, you will understand the value of patience in the game, which can also help you in real life.

Can protect the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia

Alzheimer’s and dementia are two degenerative brain diseases that currently have no cure. Hence, the best way to avoid them is by reducing the risk of developing the disease. Chess is a great way to do so. Chess offers a good amount of exercise to our brain, keeping it strong and healthy even in old age and reducing the risk of any neurodegenerative diseases.

Aids in treating Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia, a serious mental disorder, is another disease that has no definite cure as of now. However, studies have shown that people with schizophrenia who played chess periodically showed significant improvements in their condition compared to those who did not.

Increases IQ

Intelligence quotient or IQ is a metric that measures a person’s mental ability. People with a high IQ score are considered more intelligent. An in-depth study consisting of 1800 participants found out that regularly playing chess can help increase IQ scores by quite a margin.

Improves focus

Playing chess demands your total concentration. It might look like a player is about to win the game, but it just takes one distraction to throw him off the game. So, the focus is very crucial in chess. When you play chess regularly, you tend to develop complex and well-planned moves by concentrating hard, which improves your mental focus. This intense focus comes in handy in real life when you are faced with deadlines or daily tasks.  

Builds self-confidence

When you win a chess game, you feel smarter than your opponent. Even when you lose, you try to figure out why you lost. Such analysis only improves your confidence. All the wins and losses make you more confident and self-reliant.

Boosts memory retention

When you play multiple chess games, there comes a time when you can predict your opponent’s moves and even the flow of the game. No, you haven’t gained any superpowers. It’s just your brain recalling past games. Playing chess regularly helps one boost their memory retention. And who doesn’t want a good memory?

Encourages rational thinking

Prioritizing emotions over logic while making any decision is more often than not going to put you into trouble. Playing chess enables you to adopt a rational perspective and avoid making decisions in the heat of the moment.

Say one of your key pieces has been taken out by the opponent. You might want to take out one of your opponent’s pieces in retaliation. But at times, you will feel a different move might help you win the game.

Boosts creativity

Studies claim that kids subject to chess training were more creative than their average counterparts. This is because chess requires one to be highly imaginative.

Players constantly encounter tense situations (like encountering a check) and need to find ways to overturn them. Thanks to such situations, players must exercise their creativity more often, making them more creative.

Heightens learning ability

Since chess improves one’s memory and problem-solving skills, they also become more susceptible to learning things quickly. This is highly useful for children, as it helps them learn and master new topics at a much faster pace than before.

Nurtures spatial skills

Before chess players make a move on the chessboard, they run countless simulations of the same move in their heads to assess its impact on the game. All this is thanks to their advanced spatial skills that let them recreate the same game in their brains. This ability can also translate into the real world and help these players deal with situations requiring spatial thinking.

Promotes harmony among people

Chess has been around for hundreds of years. The game has been played in several parts of the world. It has brought together people from all walks of life and backgrounds into forming a closely-knit community that loves this game. Isn’t it beautiful?

Helps deal with stress

A good game of chess can help distract you from tense or worrisome situations. When you shift your attention to defeating an opponent on the chessboard, you momentarily forget about all your worries. Regularly playing chess can help you manage your stress better.

The best exercise your brain can get

By now, it should be clear that chess targets several areas of the brain. A game of chess provides a good workout to both hemispheres of the brain. This exercise helps keep the brain healthy and sane.

Improves reading comprehension

This may sound unrelated, but chess helps a lot in enhancing reading comprehension skills in individuals of all ages. Chess arms people with heightened focus and improved analytical skills. This helps them analyze a piece of text better and faster.

Stimulates the nervous system

Our nervous system has a network of dendrites which are branches growing out of a neuron (nerve cells). It helps neurons communicate by coming together and forming complex structures. Since chess is a dynamic mental activity, it accelerates the creation of dendrites and enables neurons to communicate better and at a much faster rate.

Works as a therapy or rehabilitation exercise

Due to its therapeutic nature, many therapists and doctors suggest chess to patients recuperating from a physical or mental illness. Playing chess enables a patient to remain more calm and collected. Also, since chess enhances our mental processes, it allows the mentally weak to fortify themselves psychologically.  

Learn new strategizes

When you have the rules of chess down, it just seems fun to use them in an infinite number of ways to create winning strategies. Even if you lose, you won’t feel that bad because you learned something new and would already be pumped up to try those new moves.

Develops perspective

Playing chess helps you develop the ability to see from someone else’s perspective. As the player needs to learn to anticipate an opponent’s move, they must develop the ability to adopt another person’s perspective.  Moreover, a study found that chess develops perspective-taking ability in children who practice the game.

Conclusion

Chess might not have the appeal that physical sports might have. But after going through the many benefits, it is a game one should learn and play. The time spent playing the game will be offset by the positives you gain out of it, many of which can help you grow and excel in real life.

Benefits of playing Chess – FAQs

Is chess good for the brain?

Yes, chess is highly beneficial for your brain development. Regularly playing chess provides our brain with a good workout and keeps it healthy even in old age. Take a look at other brain games that you can play.

Is the ability to play chess a special talent?

No one is born to play chess. Sure, there are a few people who are better at grasping the complexities of the game. But hard work is fundamental to honing chess skills and talented people are not exempt from it. Take a look at this article that can help you play chess in 7 simple steps.

Does playing chess increase IQ very fast?

Chess and IQ are more closely related than you think. Studies suggest that people playing chess regularly are more likely to see their IQ scores improve in just a matter of a few months.