10 Benefits of Playing Chess, According to Science

Among the benefits of playing chess, we find that it increases IQ, improves relationships with others, and makes us think faster. Learn more!
10 Benefits of Playing Chess, According to Science

Last update: 16 January, 2023

Playing chess is an activity that’s usually associated with a high IQ, however, all its benefits are unknown. Chess is a game that favors skills and mental development, as well as quick scientific and mathematical thinking.

Have you ever wondered why the stereotype of a chess player is a smart, quick, and logical person? Well, what happens is that this game provides you with these characteristics. Although certain basic skills are required, most of them having to do with intelligence and quick thinking, and they’re acquired through practice.

The most remarkable thing is that those skills that you develop playing chess not only serve to face the game but also your day-to-day life.

In fact, research indicates that chess is highly related to executive functions such as anticipation, goal selection, planning, behavior selection, self-regulation, self-control, and the use of feedback.

What is chess and how is it played?

Chess is a board game in which two players face each other. Each player has 16 pieces (8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops, a king, and a queen), which have specific moves and different rules. These move on a board divided into 64 squares that alternate between black and white.

Your objective is to generate a strategy that allows you to capture the opponent’s king. When he runs out of moves and cannot escape his destiny, it’s called “checkmate” and the game must end. The success of this game lies in becoming familiar with the board and the movements of each piece, as well as its effects on the opponent.

It’s precisely during this strategy that you test your ability to think fast, anticipate the responses to your plays, and plan the next ones. You should know that chess is an art and requires a lot of practice to fully master it. Still, don’t give up, because, with each attempt, you strengthen your skills and improve the speed of your decision-making.

The 10 benefits of playing chess, according to science

The practice of playing chess, also considered a sport, allows players to fix their attention on an object or idea. At the same time, it invites them to generate strategies or tactics to achieve their goal: Checkmate the king. Everything that happens in your mind to achieve this goal activates and exercises both brain hemispheres, as research has established.

The left hemisphere is the hemisphere that’s in charge of things related to strategies and logic, in addition to rational aspects such as mathematics, calculus, and language learning. The right hemisphere deals with emotional aspects and is related to creativity, intuition, and image recognition.

In chess, you’ll use all these abilities that the brain can give you, even more so when you play habitually. As we said before, not only to achieve good results in the game but to use them in other everyday situations.

1. Raises your IQ

Playing chess can raise your IQ.
A good IQ is related to intelligence.

Studies have shown that playing chess continuously and systematically increases IQ, that is, the measure of intelligence. This means, in turn, that by playing chess, you get smarter every time.

How do you know? You’ll notice that after a long time of playing chess, you begin to acquire a greater ability to solve problems and improve your language and reading skills, among others.

Moreover, as other studies point out, chess is implemented in educational institutions because it helps students to improve by favoring their concentration.

2. Improves mathematical reasoning

Different studies have shown that chess improves mathematical reasoning, especially when practiced habitually.

Specifically, researchers from the University of Trier, Germany, concluded that students who received more than three hours of weekly math classes dedicated to chess had better grades in mathematics compared to those who only saw one class a week.

3. Playing chess stimulates the capacity for analysis and synthesis

One of the most notable benefits of chess is the increased capacity for analysis and synthesis. It’s obvious! When you’re playing, you must analyze your plays very well, concentrate on what’s on that board, and abstract yourself from everything that may distract you.

Today, when technology consumes us, chess offers us the possibility of concentrating on something different and tangible. On the chess board, we practice and strengthen our ability to solve problems quickly and forcefully.

4. Enhances creativity and imagination

Dr. Robert Ferguson conducted a study in which he found that, after playing chess for 32 weeks, significant improvements are obtained in the creative area. This is due to the ability we develop to be able to imagine plays and their possible effects.

This study indicates that creativity is one of the main aspects when you have a good command of the game of chess, which is fully obtained when you achieve the category of master. That is, when you’re an experienced player.

5. Trains and strengthens memory

Another of the most important benefits that chess gives us is the training and strengthening of memory. In fact, one study shows that strenuous mental activities like chess help prevent and delay the onset of aging-related problems like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

It specifies that a game of at least 10 minutes provides a positive impact on strengthening memory in people over 75 years of age. The reason is that, when playing chess habitually, one must remember the moves made and their effects in order to win. This allows for the stimulation of various types of memory, such as visual, spatial, and associative memory.

6. Increases reading comprehension

Playing chess also helps us to be better readers. One study confirms that the students who participated in the study greatly improved their reading ability thanks to the practice of this game.

Very significant differences have been identified between those who play and those who don’t play in terms of their reading comprehension. According to scientists, more studies are needed to identify how this game helps reading in such a significant way. However, they point out that it’s a fact.

7. Playing chess facilitates concentration

Chess benefits include studies
Chess is very useful for academics.

Yes, we all know it, but it’s something we can’t fail to mention. Concentration is a skill that we use whenever we play chess. It’s needed so that you can guide your movements in an assertive way, in the quest to defeat your opponent.

Some studies have highlighted that this is a very useful game in schools, as it encourages students to stay focused in their classes and obtain better grades as a result.

8. Strengthens the ability to solve problems

Playing chess presents us with problems. When we play chess, we face dilemmas like moving a certain piece because it leaves another unprotected or losing an important piece. In these scenarios, you have to find solutions, a process that’s called problem-solving.

While playing chess, we’re faced with the mental process that occurs when we must solve other types of problems in life outside of the game. This is why we can say with certainty and scientific proof that playing chess strengthens this ability by helping us make decisions in a more agile way.

9. Stimulates social skills

Playing chess stimulates social intelligence in different ways.

As we mentioned, IQ increases, which is very attractive when establishing interpersonal relationships. The same happens with the ability to solve problems because where many see inconveniences, you see solutions.

If your interest is to learn to play chess like a professional, you’ll have to surround yourself with people with ample intellectual capacity, tolerance, patience, and agility so that you can learn from them. Moreover, studies have identified that chess socially reduces the rate of delinquency, addictions, and other crimes derived from leisure.

10. Improves mood

The last benefit of playing chess that we want to mention today is its influence on your mood. The satisfaction that being good at a game that requires so many skills will give you is something that hardly any other game can provide.

This game leads you to think and explore your capabilities, including some that you didn’t even know you had. Isn’t that wonderful?

There are many benefits of chess

So, how do you feel about learning a little more about the benefits of playing chess? If you don’t know how to play, it’s time to learn! And if you already know the rules, then don’t hesitate to make it part of your routine. In addition to being an enjoyable distraction, it improves your mood and makes you smarter, among other outstanding intellectual, social, and emotional benefits.

Enjoy identifying your progress and how you improve in other aspects of life!

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