Does playing Chess make you smarter?
This is a topic that has been considered and researched for many years and, you will find all sorts of facts and conclusions from experiments designed to confirm or quantify this.
There has always been the stereotype that you have to be smart to play chess. This is not actually the case. All you really need to know in order to “play” chess is how the pieces move and the rules of engagement. Once you understand that then you are underway.
Like anything in life, the more you work at something the better you get. It has often been said that training your brain is just as important as training your body. This being the case then, what might be the best exercise for the brain?
To answer this question, first, we need to consider what function of the brain you want to train. Is it memory, is it problem-solving, is it creative writing. Any one thing can be trained individually and specifically by way of memory exercises, cognitive puzzles or creative writing exercises, however, if you are looking for an exercise that will give you an all-around lift in brain function then chess is often considered the heavyweight champion.
Let’s look at the functions of the brain, playing chess utilizes. The things you are constantly doing while playing chess include:
Goal setting. Not just goal setting but breaking those goals down into smaller, more immediately achievable goals.
Adapting to change. Chess requires you to think through a logical adjustment to overcome a roadblock.
Memory. Constantly exercised when keeping on top of your and your opponent's game plan.
Mathematics. You consider mathematical calculations when contemplating exchanges.
Perception. Developing your level of perception and perceived probability as you learn to take ownership of your actions.
Patience. You strengthen your patience and you build confidence in backing your decisions.
Creativity. You are firing your creative side of the brain by constantly coming up with creative and strategic attacking and defensive gameplay.
Look at all of these elements and consider which of them you use in your day to day lives.
Like anything, what you don't use you lose and the brain is no different. A brain that plays chess is like a well-oiled machine with the very neurons that you will often call upon in your day to day lives, fired up and highly tuned.
Chess may be one of the ultimate exercises for the mind and the more you exercise a muscle the stronger it becomes. Because of all the problem solving, memory, mathematical and strategic qualities to this game, it is a fantastic game to play to keep your brain sharp. Best of all Chess is an amazingly enjoyable and satisfying game to play and every household should have a set at the ready for a bit of strategic fun. Chances are however, you might just become that little bit smarter in the process.