For centuries chess has enhanced critical thinking skills, improved the application of science and mathematics, as well as language, arts, reading and English. Chess is an effective learning tool that also helps its students to:
Solve complex problems & mature intellectually; Concentrate & plan ahead, Improve social skills; Make personal & team commitments; Measure achievement & accomplishments. For many youth and adults, these valuable skills create a solid foundation for a bright future.
The benefits of Chess are well documented. One only has to Google "Benefits of Chess" with any of the popular search engines to find pages and pages of references.
Chess is an all inclusive sport. It does not discriminate as to age, gender, race, able and disabled. Visually impaired or physically disabled people can compete in tournaments against sighted and able players on an equal footing.
Below are some sites that we find particularly useful in highlighting the benefits of Chess.
An excellent document is "A Collection of Studies and Papers on Chess and Education", compiled by Patrick S. McDonald who is the Youth Coordinator of the Chess Federation of Canada.Download Benefits of Chess - 965Kb
An interesting anecdote by Wouter van Zijl.
Unika is a primary school in Randburg. For years they have had the policy of teaching chess to all the grade 1's, 2's and 3's irrespective. This duty was performed by Mrs. Erwee and her daughter Yvette.
The story goes that Unika was hosting a big Rugby coaching day for all the local schools and especially the little boys in grades 1, 2 and 3. In attendance were highly qualified coaches from the province who proceeded to teach and demonstrate to all these little boys. Where to position yourself, how important passing was etc.
In the afternoon the various teams were tasked with demonstrating their new found skills by playing short matches against each other. And what happened? They reverted to type! Anyone who has watched small boys play any team sport involving a ball, will know that it closely resembles a swarm of bees following their queen in search of a new hive, as they all charge after the one who has the ball.
This was true for all the teams except one! The Unika team looked like a rugby team on the field as they kept their positions, passed the ball and generally seemed to understand the structures of the game and how one element supports and compliments another. And yes, you guessed it! They were the only group of boys who had been taught Chess.
African Woman's Open Chess Festival: