For the Love of Chess

Written by
Kyle Sherman
Published on
January 25, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PST January 25, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PSTth, January 25, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PST

If you’re an avid chess player, chances are your brain is different from other brains.

Studies show that playing chess provides impressive benefits to our brains. Like those of grandmaster chess players – they have more activity in areas of the brain that focus on problem-solving and recognition. Or the research that finds children have higher IQ scores after they complete an 18-week chess class. Studies, research and experiments have shown:

● Playing chess as a kid can help develop advanced math and critical thinking skills, spatial analysis, nonverbal reasoning ability and academic achievement.

● Playing chess can shrink the brain, which is a sign that chess players’ brains are working efficiently and the players themselves may possess “behavioral expertise.”

● Playing advanced chess uses “both sides of the brain” for more advanced and adept thinking (if you adhere to the two-sided brain theory) -the visually focused right side recognizes game patterns while the analytical left side decides the next best logical move.

● Playing chess teaches players to think in patterns, using memory and recognition as ways to play and win multiple games at once. Nimble and quick.

● Playing chess teaches computational thinking and strategy

● Playing chess over years teaches problem solving by using the frontal cortex of the brain when making moves, which is associated with problem-solving, drawing on previous memories to recognize patterns and making decisions. In comparison, the amateur chess players use the medial temporal lobe of the brain, which is associated with learning new long-term memories.

● Playing chess at an older age can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Why Do Chess Players Love Chess?

1. Bobby Fischer. Yes, that’s right. Analyzing his games usually helps chess players improve their games.

2. Chess is a brain stimulator (see bullet points above).

3. Chess is a battle of wits and wills that’s less physical and less strenuous than contact sports so there is no chance for injury. Except you pride, of course.

4. Chess is relatively inexpensive in terms of equipment and can be played almost anywhere.

5. Chess is a huge morale and self-esteem booster that gives bragging rights to any player of any age who wins that game.

6. Chess is fun to learn and is accessible through a plethora of media.

7. Chess is a quiet game, silent even. That’s because the struggle happens deep within.

8. “Chess is 30 to 40 percent psychology,” say some players.

9. Chess is a way to make new friends. Since it’s a universal game, it transcends boundaries. The passion for the game immediately gives two people a sense of connection.

10. Chess is perceived by fans as giving chess players super human powers. They’re often fascinated by players with a deep knowledge of the game, which gives chess masters the image of being highly intelligent, super human beings, capable of being great influencers.

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