10 reasons why children should play chess

My father was a professional chess player, so I grew up watching him staring at a black and whiteboard like there was nothing else in this world. He never forced me to play chess though. He claimed that it must come about from natural curiosity because chess requires a lot of passion, effort, and patience. My father played with some of the best chess players and won many games, but that is not the most important thing. All chess players do not have to become world champions, as all ballet dancers will not dance in Swan Lake, but chess can develop skills and habits that can be applied to other areas of life.

My 5-year-old daughter playing chess with her grandfather


It seems that It seems that my 5-year-old daughter went down her grandfather’s paths. She recently joined the chess club and she won a medal at the club tournament. She was the youngest player in the club who won the 2nd place among 32 other children. She doesn’t have to become a Bobby Fisher; I am already impressed that she can sit down in one spot for 1.5 hours and intensely focus on something that is not a cartoon. It is a nice thing to see a little kid concentrating with such a serious face while playing chess.

1. Children are peaceful and patient

Psychologists claim that children who play chess are much more peaceful and patient in school and achieve better learning outcomes. When playing chess, kids learn to wait for the moves of the other player. It appears to be an excellent way to develop patience. Research shows that chess especially encourages logical thinking, so I think it would be great to integrate chess into a regular school or kindergarten program. They already have it in Armenian schools, for example. Their professors claim that the benefits of learning chess are applicable in everyday life. There is also another kindergarten in Zadar (Croatia) where two-year-old kids have fun playing chess.

2. Children learn to think

Although chess is a game with firm rules, it allows countless combinations. Children develop divergent thinking; they discover that there could be several solutions to one problem and that some answers are better than others. It helps them to reach a specific goal in many different ways. Children who learn to think through chess logic will be more prone to seeking solutions instead of negative thinking when faced with a problem.

3. Being responsible for your actions

By playing chess, children learn that their behavior always has certain consequences and that it is worth thinking about what they could be. Before you move the figures, you have to think about it because you know that every action has some reaction, and that can be said for any situation in your life.

4. Respect for all people

Children realize that every figure in chess has its value; that there are figures worth nine points and that there are figures worth one or five points. Children learn maths this way, but they also learn something more valuable. They realize that the pawn is just as precious in the overall game as the queen is. One pawn often decides on the outcome of the game. Chess is a great way to understand that no-one should be underestimated. A pawn can become a queen.

5. Developing the brain

Do smart people play chess or do chess makes people smarter? I would say both answers are correct. It has been proven that after only four months of playing chess, IQ can increase. Chess is the best gymnastics for the brain. Studies have shown that while playing chess, both the left and right side of the brain is equally active. Games like chess stimulate the growth of dendrites; the nerve cells that send signals from the neuronal cells of the brain. With more dendrites, neuronal communication within the brain improves and becomes faster. Chess players need to make decisions in seconds and react quickly.

6. Learning how to lose and win

When a child fails at a game, it is an excellent opportunity to talk to them about the significance of the defeat because that conversation will be valuable in life when faced with real losses. A child can learn not to give up after the defeat but to accept it, to learn through mistakes, and to experience failure as a valuable experience. Competitions can be devastating to a child’s psyche. One should know how to remain dignified when defeated, not to walk away, not to throw figures or shout nor blame someone else. It is an opportunity to learn how to behave appropriately while winning or losing.

7. Developing discipline

Discipline is absolutely not something that children are born with. It is a set of habits that are adopted slowly through time. We can learn a lot about discipline from the pawn. That is a figure who can achieve a lot moving in small steps. The same thing is with discipline in life. Children can achieve a lot by being persistent and consistent in their activities. Chess is a great way to develop discipline with children. They learn that there are rules and how to respect and apply them.

8. Better concentration

Children are exposed to many attractions and stimuli today, and their brain has a lot of work to deal with all this information. One of the consequences of this is distracting attention and lack of concentration. Children have to be concentrated in a current position during the game and be focused on many details. Chess is great for developing a concentration that will be transferred to other areas of life.

9. Developing self-confidence

There is a close relationship between building a better self-image and playing chess. Children learn to think abstractly, to make their own decisions, to solve different problems and overcome many obstacles which make them feel proud of themselves and aware of their abilities. They realize that they can achieve goals in life by using their mind and intellectual skills.

10. Socialization

Chess is a game for two if a live person is not replaced by a computer. Otherwise, it is less social. It is good for kids to play chess with their peers and that way, they could develop new friendships and social life. Playing at tournaments and in clubs allows a lot of interaction and communication between children. Chess playing is also a great way of giving kids the chance to get away from computer games and tv.

When is a good time to start playing chess?

I asked the opinion of trainers and other parents and concluded that there is no unique answer for when to start playing chess. I have seen two-year-old children playing chess in kindergarten and I met some people starting at 63. It seems that it is never too early or too late to learn, but one thing is for sure, the young mind is more flexible and learns faster. If we start playing chess at home with two-year-old kids, we might expect that they will try to eat the figures instead of playing with them. It would be awesome if someone makes chess from carrots so that it would be a vitamin-bomb game. So far, the only edible chess sets I’ve seen are the chocolate chess sets. Who wouldn’t like to become a world champion in playing chocolate chess? Amazon chocolate chess It would be an incredible gift for chess lovers, but I guess this kind of motivation isn’t long-lasting. Children would stop loving the game very soon after eating the pieces 🙂

The best chess books for children and parents

I have chosen three books that introduce kids and parents to the chess world in an accessible and exciting way so that kids can enjoy every step of learning chess. Maybe one of the most charming and original books about chess is ‘Chess for Children: How to Play the World’s Most Popular Board Game. Lessons are followed by imaginative and inspiring tales that the character George is told by his pet alligator, Kristy, self-proclaimed ‘Grand Alligator of Chess’.