Why Chess Should be Featured in the School System
Every child has usually already heard about the game called chess. But many children think that this is a game only for nerds, without even knowing its rules or having ever given it a chance. The game of chess has the image of a game for lonely old men spending their free time together. But times have changed! Many young people come together to play chess in their free time. It not only improves social skills but also has an extremely good impact on cognitive performance. There are many chess clubs where players of all strengths and ages meet to have fun and train. Schools usually offer a variety of afternoon activities. From sports like soccer, cheer-leading and football to creative activities like music clubs, choirs or art clubs, there is plenty on offer at most schools. Cognitive activities are often seen as exhausting and boring for many students, but then there is one inspiring sport that brings fun and cognitive development together – chess! In following article, we want to make prejudices disappear and present you 8 reasons why chess should be featured in the school system.
#1: A Higher IQ
First, there is the cognitive aspect. There are many studies that show people who play chess raise their IQ. A higher IQ improves the results at school of any student. Various studies show that just after a few months of regular chess training, the results at school get better. If you want to improve at school, sitting at a desk and studying particular subjects is not the only way. Improve your cognitive skills and you will see how your grades get better almost by themselves. Furthermore, the study of chess requires the training of pattern recognition, calculation and prediction. See the similarities to scientific subjects like maths or physics? Sure! Improve your scientific thinking by training in chess just for a few hours per week instead of cramming formulas for much longer!
A problem many students face is that they have great difficulties with their concentration span. A chess game of Grandmasters can last up to six hours! This is even not that uncommon. Although beginners do not play that long, even if a child learns to concentrate for an hour at a time, it is already a great advance. Concentrating during exams, important topics during lessons or on homework will become much easier. A famous chess player, Michael Wang, once said, “Chess helps you focus. When you are a kid, you have energy bubbling around, but when you are playing chess, you have to channel that energy into focus.”
Memory! Who has made the frustrating experience of trying to revise for an exam and then sitting there for hours, unable to memorize the main aspects of the topic? Who has had the frustrating experience of learning vocabulary or a poem by heart and then forgetting the first line? You want to improve your memory? Go to a chess club and train. To improve in chess, you need to memorize, for instance, some opening and endgame strategies. Why despair if you can sharpen your memory in a playful manner?
Additionally, chess should be featured in the school system because it contributes to the development of creativity. During a chess game any unexpected position can occur. A chess player has to be creative, come up with new ideas and creative strategies to outplay the opponent. Creativity is also a quality that is needed in many, if not most, subjects. Why not use chess to help improve that area?
#5: Making Decisions
Every person has to make decisions on a daily basis – at school, at work, in their free time, in interpersonal relationships. An important argument why chess should be featured in the school system is that it helps you to learn to make decisions and then living with the consequences. Sometimes you have positions in chess where you have to decide whether the risky plan is more meaningful or the safe one, whether you should attack your opponent or play calmly, whether you should accept the draw or decline. In chess, just like in life, these decisions are irrevocable. Sometimes it means that it was a fatal decision and you will lose the game, sometimes it is brilliant and you will profit – just as in life. Thus, it is highly useful to improve these skills and a way to do it is by playing a game of chess.
#6: Pleasant Compensation
Another reason why chess should be featured in the school system is that chess is a wonderful possibility as an alternate activity between more physical ones. For example, if a child plays on football one day, why not balance it with an hour of chess training the next day instead of extra time being spent on computer games or YouTube videos. The brain needs training as much as the body! The brain is a muscle just like your biceps and has to be used regularly. If a football player stops training, he or she will not be fit for long. It is the same with your brain, so do not neglect it at school!
#7: New Friends
Besides all these cognitive aspects, the game of chess should be featured in the school system because children will improve their social competence. Coming together in groups, children can find new friends and meet other children and young adults with a similar hobby. Chess brings people together! You can have a lot of fun playing different varieties of chess or solving puzzles together. Moreover, there are numerous tournaments where children can participate with friends and compete against each other.
Another social aspect in chess is that you learn to treat your opponents with respect. It is an important courtesy to shake hands before the start of each game, for example. An unwritten rule is to congratulate the winner with a handshake. As a result, children learn to stay calm and cope with losses and respect others in any situation. This is an extremely important ability in the context of school as well as for life in general.
In conclusion, we hope we could convince you that chess should be featured in the school system. Stand up for a chess course at your school, join in, and have a lot of fun!