Articles for parents

The top five ways playing chess exercises your brain

Jul 2023

Chess is one of the oldest board games ever created and was reportedly invented in India in around 500AD, where nobles would learn it to practice military strategy. Since then, chess is played around the world and by people of all ages and backgrounds. Not only is chess fun, it’s also good for you – read on to find out how!

Chess is very good for improving your concentration. While the shortest possible chess game is just two moves, the average game takes about an hour and you’ll need to learn to focus on thinking about both your strategy and that of your opponent if you want to win.

With 62 black and white squares and 32 playing pieces on the board, there are hundreds, if not thousands of possible moves you can make in each game of chess. Players will need to think long and hard about which is the best to take, which is why chess is very good for encouraging you to think creatively and create new strategies that will help you in your games.

Planning ahead
Once you’ve thought of your strategy, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to make it happen. Planning ahead like this is huge part of chess, making it good practice for when you need to plan ahead with other things in life.

A lot of experienced chess players have been shown to also have excellent memories developed from playing chess. When you play, you have to remember all the moves that the pieces can make, as well as what you’ve learned from your earlier games – you’ll need to recall the strategies and plans that worked for you, and the ones that didn’t!

Self-esteem and confidence
While chess is an easy game to learn, the large number of different pieces and moves you can make at each turn mean it is a hard game to master. When a player does master it though, they’ll feel a well-deserved boost to their self-esteem and confidence. Also, as a game played by two people, it is also a good way to meet new people and make new friends.

These are just some of the benefits to playing chess, and they align with the values of the Kumon Method of Learning which aim to foster a sense of perseverance, resilience and focus in our students. At Kumon, we believe that students succeeding independently in their learning gives them a great sense of accomplishment and enthusiasm for their future learning. Contact your local Kumon centre to learn more.