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CHESS AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL
These are some of the educational and psychological benefits for children in studying and playing chess. It shows that chess
- Raises intelligence quotient (IQ) scores
- Strengthens problem solving skills, teaches how to make difficult and abstract decisions independently
- Enhances reading, memory, language, and mathematical abilities
- Fosters critical, creative, and original thinking
- Provides practice at making accurate and fast decisions under time pressure, a skill that can help improve exam scores at school
- Teaches how to think logically and efficiently, learning to select the ‘best’ choice from a large number of options
- Challenges gifted children while potentially helping under achieving gifted students learn how to study and strive for excellence
- Demonstrates the importance of flexible planning, concentration, and the consequences of decisions
- Generally helps boys and girls regardless of their natural abilities or backgrounds
Is chess an art or science? Some claim it’s both. Yet to be honest, it’s really just a game. Though fun, challenging and creative: but still a game, not much different from tennis, cricket, football, or golf. But there is one striking difference to these other popular games. While learning to play almost any game can help build self-esteem and confidence, chess is one of the few that fully exercises our minds. Many of us could probably use this exercise, although it may be a bit late for some, it’s not, however, too late for our children.
Chess is one of the most powerful educational tools available to strengthen a child’s mind. It’s fairly easy to learn how to play. While most 6 and 7-year old can easily understand the basic rules, some kids as young as 4 and 5 years can also play. Like learning a language or music, an early start can help a child become more proficient. Irrespective of a child’s age, however, chess can enhance concentration, patience, and perseverance, as well as develop creativity, intuition, memory, and most importantly, the ability to analyse and deduce from a set of general principles, learning to make tough decisions and solve problems flexibly.
Given these educational benefits, the author concludes that chess is one of the most effective teaching tools to prepare children for a world increasingly swamped by information and ever tougher decisions.
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WHY USE CHESS?
Chess is recognized worldwide to be a builder of strong intellect. It teaches the values of hard work, concentration, objectivity, and commitment. It improves the cognitive abilities, rational thinking and reasoning of even the least promising children. It brings about latent abilities that have not been reached by traditional educational means.
John Artiste, a scientist, submits “chess is an excellent memory exerciser, the effect of which is transferable to other subjects where memory is necessary”. Presently, chess is now part of the curricula at thousands of schools in nearly 30 countries around the world.
Chess is a deep and rewarding game. Those who study it develop skills that are extremely useful in life.
An eminent trainer recounts a conversation he had with a ‘New Russian’ (such is the term used nowadays to describe the new young generation of rich businessmen in Russia), the father of one his pupils. After a few lessons, the trainer realized that the boy would never become a strong player, so he told the father this quite frankly. And the reply was this:
“I do not want him to become a strong Grandmaster! I just want my son to learn to think, to foresee and work out what his opponent is up to and to take independent decisions in practice’.
The father wanted to use chess to prepare his son for the business world!
- The Chess Instructor, 2009.
Essentially, chess is a game of logic and strategy.
WHY DOES CHESS HAVE THIS IMPACT?
Chess appears to have such a huge impact on the child’s academics because:
- Chess accommodates all modality strengths.
- Chess provides a far greater quantity of problems for practice.
- Chess offers immediate punishments and rewards for problem solving.
- Chess creates a pattern or thinking system that, when used faithfully breeds success.
- The chess playing student has become accustomed to looking for more and different alternatives, which results in higher scores, in fluency and originality.
- Competition fosters interest and challenges all students. A learning environment organized around games has a positive effect on students’ attitude towards learning. Also, institutional gaming is one of the most motivational tools in the good teachers’ repertoire. Chess motivates them to become willing problem solvers and spend hours quietly immersed in logical thinking.
CHESS CHARACTERISTICS AND THEIR MOST IMPORTANT EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATION
CHARACTERISTICS OF CHESS >>>>>>>>>> CORRESPONDING EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS
Correct placement of pieces and pawn on the chess board >>>>>>>>>>Spatial conception and representation. Use of perceptive, recognition of positions (memory) and lengths.
Observe the arrangement of the chess men and the relations between them and the board >>>>>>>>>> Power of observation and spatial intelligence.
Correct notation of moves according to what is determined by the laws of chess >>>>>>>>>> Verbal intelligence. Mastery of written language: signs and symbols (symbolism).
Achievement of a desired position on the board >>>>>>>>>> Development of self-control and attention/ concentration. Application of deep thinking.
Carry out a number of movements in a given time. Struggle in situations of time pressure >>>>>>>>>> Rational management of time; search for solutions in a predetermined time interval.
Make moves after exhaustive analysis of positions >>>>>>>>>>Development of the ability to make decisions. Independent thinking. Self-confidence.
Once a move has been found, look for a better one >>>>>>>>>> Commitment in constant progress. Search for better solutions. Development of self-esteem.
From a position considered as equal, provoke an imbalance and look for a brilliant conclusion >>>>>>>>>> Creativity imagination and inventiveness.
Starting from a position, imagine another one or others after a series of different variations >>>>>>>>>> Visualization, creativity and calculating power.
Find a plan starting from analysis and positional evaluation >>>>>>>>>> Synthesis. Abstract, creative thinking.
A move must be a logical consequence of the preceding one and a logical requisite of the following one >>>>>>>>>> Analytical skills, control of actions and fluency of thinking.
The result of the game indicates who had the better plan and developed it correctly >>>>>>>>>> Respect for other people’s opinions. Recognition of one’s own mistakes. Fair play. Intelligence.
Apply methods of attack or defense in similar positions >>>>>>>>>> Power of observation, identification and recognition of models.
Being in a difficult position with a short time to reflect >>>>>>>>>> Self-control, speed and fluency of thinking.
Win the game out of your own merit >>>>>>>>>> Self-esteem, realization through success.
Lose the game out of your own mistakes or superiority of the opponent >>>>>>>>>> Self-criticism, search for truth and continual growth.
QUOTES FROM THE MASTERS
Every master was once a beginner - Chernev
When you see a good move, wait, look for a better one - Emmanuel Lasker
The tactician knows what to do when there is something to do whereas the strategist knows what to do when there is nothing to do - Gerald Adams
A poor plan is better than no plan at all - Mikhail Chigorin
Chess is the art of analysis - Botvinnik
Respect all opponents but fear none - Chess