One of the core educational values attributed to the game of chess has to be improved concentration. Lack of concentration during a game of chess can result in loss of a chess piece or even loss of the game. Bobby Fischer, who became the youngest international chess master at the age of fifteen, lists concentration, along with memory and imagination, as the requirements to becoming a great chess player.
The game of chess is never completely predictable. It is not a game of chance. Critical thinking skills come into play. Problem solving rates highly on the list of skills needed in a game of chess. Children learn how to focus on the game and use memory skills as they plan their next move. Concentrating on these moves and paying attention to the whole chessboard, helps develop the brain’s neuron cells. Chess is one of the few games that stimulates both sides of the brain. Mathematical thinking and creativity are nurtured through the game of chess. When the brain is active, concentration is enhanced.
The memory skills required to learn the game of chess help children improve their ability to concentrate. Children love to learn through games. Chess pieces move in patterns. Learning how the pieces move in relation to the board and the other pieces in the game encourages children to concentrate. There are diagonal patterns and horizontal or vertical patterns. There are numbers to count and chess pieces to move as they capture other pieces and win the game. Everything about chess encourages concentration.
Chess has been compared with a puzzle. A puzzle of moving pieces. Chess is like a 3D puzzle and as the pieces move the game changes. Puzzles strengthen the skill of concentration as the mind has to study the images and concentrate on visual sequences. This continued focus on shapes and spaces boosts concentration and increases a child’s attention span and powers of concentration.
Visualisation is a key element of chess. The ability to visualise the sequence of the game and concentrate on each piece of the puzzle is what makes this game unique. Chess is not just a board game – it is a battle between two kingdoms, filled with master plans and strategy. Learning to play chess at a young age helps with concentration and focus.
Go on and ‘check it out mate’ – it’s a great game that helps develop young minds and improve concentration.