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Benefits Of Learning How To Play Chess – Cognitive Benefits

On my about me page I mentioned that chess is more than just a game as it has so many benefits. This post is intended to expand on than and acquaint you with the benefits of playing chess. There are lot of benefits which comes with learning how to play chess, which includes improvement in memory and cognitive abilities, development of strategic thinking as well as boosting of brain functionality. Chess helps you to learn how to be calm under pressure and it also teaches you to realize consequences of your actions.

Surprisingly! chess do have health benefits as well – I will not talk about this now, but I will do my best to post health benefits of playing chess. Now I would like to focus on cognition benefits. To ensure that we are on the same page, allow me to quote Wikipedia: “cognition encompasses many aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as attention, the formation of knowledge, memory and working memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning and “computation”, problem solving and decision-making, comprehension and production of language”

Improves problem-solving skills

When you play chess you constantly create chaos on your opponent’s territory until you rule the whole board. Every attack you do is a problem on the part of your opponent which needs to be solved in order for him/her to gain advantage and eventually take control of the game. So the more problem you give and the tougher they are, the more advantage you have. Your opponent also wants to create problems to your side too, so every chess game you face challenges that needs to be solved in order to win the game, you don’t win by just defending, so you eventually give back some problems on your opponent too.

To solve these problems you have to think ahead, make good decisions and weigh options. This is what happens in everyday life as we have daily life challenges, we need to think ahead, make sure we do not rush our decisions, and make good choices in order to develop positive outcomes for our lives. All this can come along with the benefits of learning how to play chess.

Improves Memory

As a chess player you have to memorize and remember hundreds of openings and moves, as well as remembering the rules of the game – good chess players know this. Being a good chess player means being able to remember how your opponent has played in the past and recalling moves that helped you to over power him or her or to avoid mistakes.

Chess game involves lot of tactics and strategies and as a chess player you should know most of them After playing many games you will develop a natural feeling of when to use a certain tactic or strategy – this is where the benefits of playing chess shine, as it indicates memory improvement. The best part is that this benefit is not only limited to chess – improved memory can be noticed in other areas of life such as academic performance.

Improves Concentration

In chess, concentration and memory go hand in hand – just like in school and work. When playing chess both your concentration and memory grow stronger because as your concentration grows, it becomes easier to memorize past games and classic strategies. Often adults and children find it hard to concentrate or focus at school and work, this can result in rapid decline of productivity. Chess can help you to deal with concentration problem as it teaches your the consequences of not paying attention in a game.

Chess demands your attention, if your are not focused on the game you will simply lose the game. Just a moment of thinking of something else or looking away can result in loss of the match. With such an immediate punishment for lack of attention, the mind is trained to be focused and attentive. This results in better performance in schools and workplaces.

Boosting of Brain Functionality

The brain is just the same as any muscle: the more you exercise it the stronger it gets and chess a strategic game that makes you use your brain. The brain is responsible for mental performance and when it has no stimulation, the cells inside slowly die, resulting in decreased brain performance.

Chess is a tool which gives your brain a rigorous mental workout. Learning and playing a game like chess improves the quality of neural communications throughout the brain which ultimately improves the brain’s performance.

Even more studies show that playing chess will effectively exercise and develop both sides of your brain (brain’s left hemisphere, which deals with object recognition and the right hemisphere, which deals with pattern recognition).

Teaches Logic, Creativity and Critical thinking

Chess is also a logic game, for some students who studied logic you might be familiar with “if-then” logic. In chess you actually apply this logic as you play, like “If I move here, then my opponent may move here, here, or even here.” or “if my opponent move here, then i will move here”. That’s logic and critical thinking in action!

When playing chess you think about every move you want to make and the consequences of every move you make. You analyze the game carefully and you can the short term and long term consequences of each of your moves. You do not only concentrate on your moves, you are able anticipate what your opponent plans to do and you can think of how to avoid him or her doing that. This helps shape your critical thinking capabilities and your logical reasoning.

Chess also helps to enhance creativity and originality. You become a creative thinker as you consider, analyze and prioritize a wide variety of possibilities. Playing chess contributes significantly to growth and development in creative thinking.

Development of Strategic Thinking

Chess is a strategy game because for you to win you must have a better plan and act better than your opponent. In all fairness it gives each player equal winning opportunities but only one player can win – the one with better strategy. So if you play chess often it will greatly improve your ability to develop certain strategies and plans which will be beneficial in your everyday life.

Since chess makes you to make frequent change in plans throughout the game, this allows you to adjust to ideas very fast and builds your strategic thinking – a good strategic mind is much more productive, because it creates the best plan of action for every daily task.




  1. Matts Mom

    You just gave me some great reasons why I need to learn to play chess! I am certainly not old but getting older for sure, and I am always looking for ways to keep my brain active. This could be something fun that my son and I could play together! Thanks for the great idea!

    • Raymond Modise

      Hello! Thanks for you comment, I am glad you loved my post and it helped you understand the benefits of playing chess. It is surely best game you can pass time with your son.

  2. Ivan Brozincevic

    The chess game is like a game of life! I was always inclined to it, however, I never had an opportunity to learn how to play. Maybe I just have to create one. Your post is a wonderful reminder that a game of chess is one of the best ways to improve cognitive skills, and I am never satisfied with the improvement! I can see that benefits are priceless and I am bound to start with some basics in the near future. Thank you a lot for this article.


    • Raymond Modise

      I am glad you loved this post Ivan, I wish you can have opportunity to learn this game. You will love it.

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