“Chess is a board game for old, nerdy men. Nothing for the average, active child.”
That’s the opinion of many people about chess which is usually based solely on prejudices. Hence, in this article, we want to convince you of the contrary! Chess offers plenty of benefits for kids and they can benefit from learning how to play it. Chess is not only a board game but also a conducive sport for children and people of every age in general. Some people even argue that a professional chess player spends as much energy on a chess game as a boxer in a match.
Chess makes kids better in numerous areas of life – it improves social skills, builds up self-confidence and self-respect, enhances the ability to concentrate, improves critical thinking and calculation skills, and so much more!
If playing chess is that beneficial socially as well as cognitively, it can only be a good idea to integrate it into the school systems! In the following article, we want to concentrate on how chess makes kids particularly better at math and reading.
Does Chess Make Kids Better at School?
Above, we claimed that chess is really a nice idea for a school subject. You don’t share this opinion with us? Then give us a chance to convince you of the advantageous effects of chess on children’s intelligence.
Firstly, daily classes are usually really annoying or boring to most children. Mostly, there is no variety, only a few trips and maybe one project week in the whole school year. To make the most of school, motivation is essential. And what is the key to motivation? It is frequent variety in an age where the concentration span of the average 10-year-old child is only about 20 minutes. Therefore, why not dedicate one or two lessons per week to chess?
Chess doesn’t only offer an alternative to routine classes but can also be a lot of fun! This sport is not like a simple board game – every new game is unique. You develop new ideas, you can feel like the king of an army. Decide over the destiny of your soldiers as you compete against your classmates and friends while learning and having fun together at the same time.
Moreover, studies show that children who play chess have a higher intelligence quotient. A study was performed in Venezuela with 4000 second graders. A significant increase in their IQ scores was measured after only 4.5 months of systematic chess training. Since then, almost 30 countries in the world have felt confident enough and already included chess in their school curriculums!
How Chess Makes Kids Better at Math
Chess skills and skills which are required for being successful at math are more similar than many people think. The first obvious similarity is calculation. When you choose a move in chess, you have to calculate, when you see a tactical pattern you also need to calculate, when you sit in the maths lessons you calculate almost the whole time.
Moreover, problem solving competences evolve in chess training. If you have a complex position on the board, you need to evaluate various moves and try to choose the best one. Complex math text problems are far easier to a kid, when it is familiar with problem solving. Many children also face the problem that they can’t concentrate for a whole lesson. That’s a basic competence that kids can develop effectively with chess training!
All in all, various studies prove that children who have at least one chess lesson per week show better results in exams compared to children who only study maths. Especially children who performed badly in math felt more motivated and subsequently improved greatly.
Such chess lessons could be guided by a suitable chess book for beginners which makes it easier for a teacher to implement chess into a lesson. Additionally, it can be made attractive to students by the use of mobile chess apps. Nowadays, children carry their smartphones all day long, so why not make them useful in class? There are plenty of chess apps which can be used for daily tactics training or just to play a chess game. The combination of fun and effective learning is very advantageous for the improvement of mathematical skills.
How Chess Makes Kids Better at Reading
Nowadays, people read more than ever before. However, the daily literature usually consists mostly of text messages, some jokes on the internet or the like. So, a lot of quantity, but not much quality. Therefore, the reading skills of most kids aren’t that well developed.
Chess makes kids better in that area as well! In 1996, the New York City-based educational psychologist Stuart Margulies found that elementary school students in Los Angeles and New York who played chess scored averagely 10 percentage points higher in reading tests than their peers.
Chess encourages players to be inventive and creative, to develop new ideas and concepts. As you need to visualise various moves without touching your pieces during the game, imagination skills are also enhanced while training chess. These are all skills that children also develop while reading – creativity, imagination – meaning that chess is a very valuable sport that helps improve that area!
To put it in a nutshell, chess makes kids better at various areas in life! It is a particularly valuable sport for school because, according to empirical research, children perform better than children who don’t play chess! But not only at school – it also improves various social skills and competences that people need in their everyday life. Hence, chess is not only a board game for old people. It is also an excellent sport for children of all ages! If you already have experience with chess at school, then feel free to share your thoughts with us and leave a comment. If you want your children to rapidly improve their chess skills, we’ve got the perfect beginner chess course at a massive discount here.