People all over the world play chess. This ancient game brings people from all walks of life together while playing each other in the creative and strategic battle of the mind. It forces people to make situational decisions while planning for potential future choices. Those decisions can quickly change based on their opponent’s choices, making the game exciting for everyone involved.
But, chess is more than just fun and exciting. There are multiple benefits to this classic game that you may not know about. So, the next time you sit down for a casual game with a friend, a lesson, or a competitive match with someone, keep these benefits in mind. They might motivate you to start playing every day!
1. Chess Develops Creativity
Chess might not make you an artist in the traditional sense, but it will expand your creativity. It gets you to think differently, as you have to consider how to attack your opponent and plan your moves. As you exercise your brain on the chessboard, you’ll learn to take risks and think in new ways when you’re not playing the game.
Since chess engages both sides of the brain – the creative right and the logical left – people who play regularly find that they enjoy participating in other creative activities more often.
2. The Game Builds Self-Confidence
As chess players learn more about the game and their skills grow, they develop self-confidence when away from the board. When players get their first win against a tough competitor, they see that they achieve their goals with hard work and practice.
That self-confidence can carry over into everyday situations. It’s a great esteem booster for kids and adults alike.
3. Chess Teaches Patience
In today’s fast-paced world, patience is tough to learn. However, because chess involves waiting for opponents to make their moves, players are forced to learn it. There aren’t many other games that offer that skill and teach you to slow down and think things through.
The game moves slowly as players can take their time while evaluating all of their potential moves. Players not only have to plan for their next move, but they also have to plan for the following ones. Rushing through a chess game is a good way to lose quickly!
4. Players Learn Sportsmanship
Another benefit of playing chess is learning sportsmanship. There’s always a winner and a loser, even though the odds are often very closely matched. Players must learn to be gracious, no matter the outcome.
Rather than throwing fits and getting frustrated when losing a chess match, players treat each game as a learning opportunity. Often, the losses teach more than the wins. When players learn sportsmanship, they can take the gracious and open-minded attitude into school and the workplace, making them better classmates and colleagues.
5. Chess Improves Memory and Recall
The health benefits of chess include improving memory and recall. Players need to think about the moves they make. They also need to consider their opponent’s future plays. Memorizing moves and the board can help school-age children who play boost their memorization skills and recall abilities – something they’ll be able to carry with them throughout their education and into adulthood.
These memorization techniques can also help chess players improve their games. They can replay moves in their mind and play them on their boards.
6. Chess Helps People Perform During Stressful Situations
When people play chess against an opponent, they learn to stay calm during stressful situations. They develop patience while waiting for their opponent, and they make their moves calmly and slowly. These behaviors extend into life off of the board, as they learn to stay calm in other stressful situations.
7. The Game Helps Build Small Motor Skills
In rehab centers, many therapists use chess as a tool for building small motor skills. Being able to pick up the small pieces and move them to an equally small square helps people who are recovering from injuries or heart attacks and strokes. It can also help people with anxiety and other psychological problems.
8. Chess Forces You To See Another Perspective
When you play chess, you have to look at the board from two perspectives – yours and your opponent’s. In other games, you don’t often have to think about what your opponent will do before they do it. The benefits of playing chess involve thinking about the perspective of the person sitting opposite you, so you have to imagine the board differently from the way you see it.
As you consider your opponent’s perspective, you begin to develop empathy. You consider how other people see the world and how their perspective relates to yours. You see how other people’s choices affect yours, and vice versa.
9. Playing Chess Puts You In a Flow Zone
When you engage in an activity that gets you involved, you enter a zone known as “flow”. People who play chess often get into this zone where they are engaged and become unaware of what is happening in the world around them. While in the zone, theta brain waves become heightened.
That’s a benefit you can take with you into everyday life, using it to stay focused at work or school and to improve your productivity.
10. People Who Play Chess Become Better Planners
The best chess players plan their games from start to finish. They know what they are going to do before their opponents make a move. Players have several choices depending on what their opponents do, and as they play more chess, they have more potential moves planned.
This ability to plan a chess game and make changes based on opponent choices help chess players become better planners outside of the game. Because chess involves silent thought, players learn to predict, adapt, and respond. They do it quietly and without falling apart emotionally.
11. It Helps to Manage Mental Health
Chess can be a natural stress reducer, but it’s also a great way to manage a variety of mental health conditions, including ADHD and anxiety.
People who play chess regularly learn to pause and think before reacting, thus avoiding panic attacks. People with ADHD learn how to focus for longer periods by playing chess. Chess also helps prevent the problems associated with dementia, as it forces elderly people to exercise their brains.
Playing chess offers several benefits that help people better their lives in and out of the game. It can help people recover from health problems, and it helps people manage their mental health. Whether you’re a casual player or a competitor, use these benefits as motivation to start playing chess every day. You might be surprised by the physical and mental changes you start to experience. Check out Amphy for more on how you can level up your chess game and reap the rewards of this fun and strategic game.