18 October 2011

10 Reasons why you should Play Chess

Chess is a game normally associated to intelligent, strategic individuals who enjoy the adrenaline rush of outsmarting and outplaying others around them. Although there is a bit of a stereotype for chess players, you don't need to have an IQ of 200 to play.

There are millions of people who enjoy playing chess every day and have numerous tournaments around the world throughout the year.

As chess is not reliant on age and has no need of retirement, chess is a very highly competitive sport and requires an immense amount of dedication, with both young and old battling it out to become no.1.

Chess is part of the curricula in nearly 30 countries and is a subject in all public schools - you will see why if you read below.
1. Logical thinking 

Chess develops logical thinking because the whole game is based on logical thinking. Not wanting to make a blunder and wanting to capitalise on your opponents mistakes or positional errors requires planned thought.

2. Improves maths and science 

Maths and science are subjects where you are either right or wrong. So with chess players, (who when playing chess will see a move they make to be either the right or wrong play,) can relate similar thinking to both these subjects.

In a 1977-1979 study at the Chinese University in Hong Kong by Dr. Yee Wang Fung, chess players showed a 15% improvement in math and science test scores.

Dr. Calvin F. Deyermond, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the North Tonawanda City School District, wrote: "Chess develops intellectual, aesthetic, sporting, decision making, concentration, and perseverance skills.We have seen the effects of this wonderful game in our classroom and as an extracurricular activity. Not only is it mentally challenging but it attracts not only gifted pupils but also students at all levels of learning. Many students who have been experiencing problems, particularly in mathematics and reading, sometimes demonstrate remarkable progress after learning chess."

3. Teaches independence 

Chess is an individual sport and how well you do comes down to how well you can play. True you can go to clubs and have lessons, but it will always be your own decisions which make or break a match.

This naturally teaches independence, having to rely on yourself and not others around you.

4. Promotes studying 

With chess, like most things, the more you study and practice, the better you will become. As I said before about chess being highly competitive, to remain at the higher levels of the game, regular practice is necessary.

Chess players are able to apply this to other things already having the discipline to put the work in.

5. Improves memory

Chess is difficult sport to compete in and many things must be known by memory. Chess improves the ability to store and gain information.

According to a two-year study conducted in Kishinev under the supervision of N.F. Talisina, grades for young students taking part in the chess experiment increased in all subjects. Teachers noted improvement in memory, better organizational skills, and for many increased fantasy and imagination (Education Ministry of the Moldavian Republic, 1985).

With so many different variations of play, players usually memorise certain patterns and strategies to deal effectively with their opponent. Looking into openings, traps, and end game positions.

6. Patience and concentration 

Patience and concentration are two things that come naturally to a chess player (especially concentration).

Without concentration you will 90% of the time lose a game (100% of the time if you're against a good player).
Without patience you could make moves to early which your opponent could counter and build upon.

7. Imagination and Creativity 

With so many possible outcomes and so many strategical paths to go down, a chess players imagination and creativity will be tested and over time improve.

8. Improves school grades and your level of learning 

A 1990-92 study using a sub-set of the New York City Schools Chess Program produced statistically significant results concluding that chess participation enhances reading performance.

In a 1974-1976 Belgium study, a chess-playing experimental group of fifth graders experienced a statistically significant gain in cognitive development over a control group, using Piaget's tests for cognitive development. 

Perhaps more noteworthy, they also did significantly better in their regular school testing, as well as in standardized testing administered by an outside agency which did not know the identity of the two groups. 

Quoting Dr. Adriaan de Groot: ...``In addition, the Belgium study appears to demonstrate that the treatment of the elementary, clear-cut and playful subject matter can have a positive effect on motivation and school achievement generally...''

During the 1995-1996 school year, two classrooms were selected in each of five schools. Students (N = 112) were given instruction in chess and reasoning in one classroom in each school. 

Pupils in the chess program obtained significantly higher reading scores at the end of the year. It should be noted that while students in the chess group took chess lessons, the control group (N = 127) had additional classroom instruction in basic education. 

The control group teacher was free to use the ``chess period'' any way he/she wanted, but the period was usually used for reading, math or social studies instruction. The control groups thus had more reading instruction than the chess groups.

Even so, the chess groups did better on the reading post-test; therefore, the gains in the chess groups were particularly impressive.

9. Socialisation 

Chess will always require you to play against somebody (unless you go against the computer,). Whether you attend clubs or tournaments (or both), there will be lots of people there who enjoy chess - promoting interaction and social transactions.  

10 It's Fun 

If you play it for nothing else, chess is fun and is great when you win. Chess never repeats itself and never feels repetitive. 
Here's the links to the websites I like: 
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