While learning to play any game can help our kids build self-esteem and confidence, chess is one of the few that can help to exercise their minds. Although kids as young as three years old can begin to learn the basics of chess, the best age to start learning this useful game is five or six. The classic strategy behind chess was invented more than 1500 years ago and throughout the years it has proven to develop better thinkers and increase academic performance.
According to Chris Stormont, founder of The Stormont Kings Chess Club in Miami, FL, chess helps kids in different areas of their lives. He has seen kids that regularly attend his lessons to significantly improve their critical thinking skills, creativity and behavior. He also recommends parents who have kids with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or other symptoms of hyperactivity to play chess in order to better concentrate and strengthen their decision-making skills.
Thanks to the United States Chess Federation (USCF) there are national tournaments offered all year round, which gives your kids the opportunity to meet other chess players their age and be rewarded with trophies and medals for participation. Online classes and live lessons are another popular alternative now days for those who want to learn to play chess from the comfort of their home.
The beauty of chess as a teaching tool is that it stimulates children’s minds while enjoying themselves. Below find in more detail some of the educational benefits of playing chess:
Kids are taught the benefits of observing carefully and focusing. Several studies by educational researchers have indicated that chess playing students show an increased aptitude for concentration, patience and perseverance. If they don’t focus, they can’t respond to it, no matter how smart they are!
They are stimulated to imagine a sequence of actions before they happen. They learn to shift the pieces in their mind, first one, then several moves ahead. This helps to burst their creativity!
Think first, and then act. Chess teaches them to ask themselves “If I do this, what might happen then, and how can I respond?” Over time, chess helps kids to be analysts and better visualize the consequences of their actions.
Balance the Options
They don’t have to do the first thing that pops into their mind. They learn to identify alternatives and consider the pros and cons of various actions. Strategic decisions under pressure are crucial to the success of chess.
Overall, chess has shown to increase the levels of intelligence among school children. An experiment conducted in South America entitled Learning to Think Project, demonstrated an increase of IQ among kids after being exposed for less than a year to studying chess. For this reason, many countries have adopted chess into their schools’ curriculum.
As a result, chess is not only an activity our kids can enjoy, but can also help them to improve on skills and aptitudes that are essential to their development.
Written by: Estefania Arosemena
For more information about Chess Programs contact
Chris Stormont at 786.303.2437