Life is like chess. It changes with every move. You have to make forward and backward moves to win. You need knowledge and insight to know which move to make. One wrong move and you are lost.
To be successful in chess just as to be successful in life, you need to make responsible choices, assess your resources, exercise discipline and adjust with changing circumstances. Just like in the game of chess, the queen protects the king. Every man requires a woman when his life is in a mess.
Gymnasium of the Mind
Chess is like bodybuilding. When you train daily, you will be in top shape. Chess requires daily training. You will not become an expert overnight. It will take some time.
The physical benefits of chess are many. It helps the body, the mind, and the soul. Chess will increase your health and wellness. You need to play chess on a regular basis.
The most famous chess players ever are Garry Kasparov, Bobby Fischer, and Magnus Carlsen. Famous people who played or play chess include Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Isaac Newton, and Benjamin Franklin.
1. Grows Dendrites
Playing chess will stimulate the physical growth of dendrites. These are short-branched extensions of nerve cells found in the brain. This growth will improve the quality and speed of neural communication in your brain. Improved processing power of the brain will help different areas of your body.
Boosting dendrite growth is like adding RAM to a computer processor. Adding RAM to a computer will make it handle more data as well as work faster and more efficiently. Dendrite growth will unleash the full power of your brain. Your problem solving skills will improve. Your brain will be able to crunch more data.
Chess particularly improves math skills. A game of chess is complex. Thus, it requires problem-solving skills.
2. Grows the Prefrontal Cortex
The prefrontal cortex is a part of the brain that develops during adolescence. One of the physical benefits of chess is that it physically grows the prefrontal cortex. This is the cerebral cortex covering the front area of the frontal lobe.
The prefrontal cortex is the control panel of the brain. It controls your personality and the ability to communicate. The frontal lobe controls judgment, language, emotional expression, sexual behaviors, memory and problem solving.
The growth of the prefrontal lobe will improve your critical thinking skills. It will also optimize your memory. Good chess players have exceptional memory. A Pennsylvania study involving sixth graders showed that chess improved the memory and verbal skills of students. Critical thinking skills will help you to make better decisions.
3. Chess and Sportsmanship
Chess will make you a better sportsman. It will make you to be better accustomed to winning and losing. Your sporting performance will improve through playing chase. It will make you to know how to lose gracefully.
Chess will teach you the value of sportsmanship. It will make you to realize that there are more important things than winning. The way you treat your opponents also matters.
4. Exercises the Left and Right Side of Your Brain
According to a medical study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, chess stimulates brain function. That will reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Chess exercises both sides of the brain. During a game of chess, you will use both the left and right hemispheres of your brain. The right hemisphere is concerned with pattern recognition while the left with object recognition.
Exercising the right hemisphere of your brain will spark your creativity. This is the part of the brain concerned with creativity. A four-year American study divided students into four groups. Each group did different activities including using computers and playing chess. The group that played chess scored higher in all creativity measures compared to the other groups.
5. Improves Recovery from an Accident
Accident victims need to play chess. An accident can leave you with serious injuries. It might affect your movements. Chess will improve your movements. It will fine-tune your motor skills. These are required so that to move.
6. Helps With Stroke and Substance Abuse Rehabilitation
Chess is a useful tool in the rehabilitation of patients recovering from stroke. It can also be a therapy for children with developmental disabilities such as autism. Substance abuse rehabilitation can involve chess. It will break the bonds of addiction. Substance abuse is a mental and physical condition.
7. Reduces Stress and Depression
Workplace stress costs the American economy over $190 billion every year. The countries with the highest levels of stress are the US, Japan, Australia, and France.
Stress can be hard to manage. Most prescription drugs are not effective in managing stress. Instead, they make the situation worse. Chess is a mind exercising activity. It will help to reduce stress and depression.
8. Reduces Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a condition characterized with hallucinations and delusions. It can be a lifelong struggle. No one knows the exact cause of schizophrenia. However, genetics and environment play a role in causing this disease.
According to a study carried out by the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience in France, patients who played chase every day had reduced schizophrenia than those who did not play.
9. Chess Makes the Grade
The New York City Schools Chess Program started in 1986 and ended in 1990. It involved sending an experienced chess instructor to New York schools. The instructor taught five lessons and established a chess program. Over 100 public schools and 3,000 children benefited from this program.
In the four years that this program existed, chess resulted in higher grades in English and Math. It instilled concentration, commitment, and team spirit in students. Through the chess program, there was the improvement in the self-confidence and self-worth of students.
Chess is good for you. It is a great pastime activity. Playing chess will make you a better person. Young people should be encouraged to play chess. Studies show that students who play chess perform better in class. Chess has physical and mental benefits.