There are significant benefits that young students gain from playing chess. Children who pursue chess as an interest possess advanced concepts of creativity, problem-solving, and sportsmanship.
Chess is an extracurricular activity that is available to anyone, regardless of their race, gender, or ethnic background. As more people recognize the benefits of chess in children, adult competitors travel the world to promote the game.
One of the best benefits of chess is that it can be taught to anyone with a desire to learn. Physical characteristics and other restraints set for more popular sports are irrelevant. Often, it may only take a gentle approach to influence young students to pursue chess.
According to the United States Chess Federation , (USCF) 31,167 chess players aged fourteen and under became members in the year 2000 while only 3,266 chess players were members in 1990. In addition, 37% of USCF members are under the age of thirteen.
Chess Improves the Mind
Chess positively impacts the minds of children in many ways:
- Chess improves creativity and mental clarity.
- Chess improves concepts such as extended analysis and memory.
- Chess is known to improve academic skills, particularly in reading and math.
Children and young adults have less responsibilities which make it easier for them to maintain focus while learning and playing chess.
Financial Benefits of Chess
Chess may be a more affordable after-school activity. Students can also play and learn chess in academic settings, reducing transportation costs.
Chess is Pursued Competitively
When young students play chess, they obtain knowledge of competition. As children grow older, they soon realize that things they desire in life are no longer free. Because chess improves academic skills, children will be able to grow up with increased value in the workforce.
Advanced technology allows students to learn, study, and compete against other chess players internationally.
The Adult Influence on Chess
As successful adults appear in media headlines, younger students realize that pursuing chess does not place them in a category apart from more popular interests.
Young adults possess more leisure time which can distract them from their priorities. Star Baltimore Ravens NFL athlete Ray Rice used chess to occupy his mind when he was younger. By remaining focused, he was eventually drafted into the NFL.
Maurice Ashley, the first African-American International Grandmaster, chose to play chess to avoid life on the streets. He returned his success by promoting chess for young children.
The U.S Chess Center organized an event allowing thirty students to challenge him in a simultaneous exhibition. Chess helped develop Ashley into a productive adult.
Previously, chess was of no interest to children. With adult influence, technology, and school-based programs, more students are interested in learning chess.