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Why Chess Is Great For Kids

31 August 2023

Chess has a long history, going back almost 1500 years, and it is played widely around the world. You might not think of it as a game for kids, but it’s actually a great activity that has a lot of benefits for their development, plus it’s fun. It can take a little while for children to get the hang of the rules as the possible movements vary piece by piece, but it’s worth persevering with. Here are five reasons why chess is great for kids.

Develops problem-solving skills

Chess requires players to think several moves ahead. This develops problem-solving skills as your child has to consider all the possible outcomes of their current move. Plus, if they get stuck, they must figure out how to get themselves out of the hole they've dug. All this thinking and practice in problem-solving will benefit children in school and in their future career. They’ll learn how to identify patterns, visualise possibilities, and make decisions. These are all important skills that will help them succeed in school and in life.

Teaches focus

Sitting still and focusing without getting distracted is something that doesn’t tend to come easily to kids, but this is something they’ll need to master in order to be successful at chess. This increased focus will be useful when they need to do homework and take exams. 

Kids who play chess learn to block distractions and stay on task. This means they will be less likely to make mistakes due to being distracted, whether at school or later on at work. 

Encourages thinking ahead and strategic planning

One of the most important skills when playing chess is planning ahead. Every move must be thought out carefully, as each piece has a specific function and can be used differently. They need to consider all their options and plan their moves carefully. This teaches kids to think through things properly before making decisions, an important life skill.

Helps kids learn to take turns and be patient

In chess, each player has to wait for their turn before making a move, and the game can often last for quite a while. This teaches kids the importance of patience and how to cope with waiting. They will learn to use the time to think strategically about possible next moves and try to second guess what their opponent may do. 

It’s social

Through a competitive game like chess, kids learn important life skills like discipline, sportsmanship, and respect for opponents. These skills will help them succeed both on and off the chessboard. Chess is a social game; by playing it, kids learn how to interact with others. They learn to think about what other people are doing and how their actions will affect the game, which will help them to work alongside others and manage social situations. Young people can play chess at home with family, at school, with friends, or even online, so it’s a very flexible activity. 

Chess is a great game for kids for many reasons. It might take a little while for your kids to get into it, but once they do, they’ll learn skills for life. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

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