5 Benefits of Playing Chess

Chess is one of the few games that offer many benefits for its players. It is not for anything that this game is often referred to as “the game of kings.” Historically, many kings and rulers also saw this game as a way to practice their skills in war planning and strategizing. Today, young and old could play chess and enjoy their benefits:


1. It boosts your IQ.


Playing chess is all brain works. It involves careful planning of your moves and strategizing what to do next to checkmate the opponent. This in turn can help players practice and continually enhance their analytical skills. There was a study conducted on 4,000 students from Venezuela which showed a significant improvement in the IQ scores of students after four months of receiving chess instructions and playing chess.



2. It exercises two sides of the brain.


A group of researchers from Germany conducted a study where they showed simple geometric shapes as well as chess positions to a number of chess novices and experts and noted down the respondents’ reactions to what has been given them. They later found out that both sides of the brains of the respondents worked together to respond more quickly to the researchers’ questions given afterwards.


3. Helps lower your risk of Alzheimer’s.


The brain works like a muscle that needs regular exercise to keep it healthy. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people who are more than 75 years old and who frequently engage in activities that keep the brain working like playing chess are less likely to develop dementia than their peers. According to its author, Dr. Robert Freidland, brains that are not being used as often could lose its brain power. That is one good reason why you should play this game when you reach 75.


4. It improves your memory.


Expert chess players are noticeable for their good memory. They can remember their past opponents’ moves to help them win their present game. Beginners may not be as good at this but as they continually play chess, they could also develop this memory skill. Having a good memory can be useful not only in playing chess but also in other things.


5. Improves problem-solving skills.


A chess match is like a series of problem solving. Your opponent will be constantly changing its parameters and strategies and you have to keep up with them. You can only win the game if your strategy is better than that of your opponent. A study was conducted in 1992 in New Brunswick where around 450 fifth grade students were divided into three groups. Group A, being the control group, received traditional math curriculum. Group B, on the other hand, were supplemented with chess instructions after finishing first grade, while Group C already started playing chess while they were still in first grade. Afterwards, a standardized test was conducted on the respondents; Group C showed a significant increase in their grades from 62 percent to 81.2 percent, outpacing Group A by more than 20 percent.


This list is not a complete list of all the benefits of playing chess. Yet, it can already prove that playing chess is definitely worth your time.