“Playing” is (without a doubt) a notion that we associate with children. However, the benefits of continuing to “play” as an adult or elderly person are recognised far and wide.
Whilst we may stop playing with toy cars or baby dolls as we get older, many adults still enjoy playing games: video games, board games, card games… you name it!
Chess, in particular, is an excellent game to play as an adult, but it does have a bit of an undeserved negative reputation. Lots of people think of chess as overly competitive, too difficult or downright boring. At the end of the day, however, you just need to remember that chess is only a game!
Whether you win or lose, playing a game of chess gives you the opportunity to connect and socialise with an opponent – something we’re no longer taking for granted after a rather isolated 2020.
Playing chess gives our brains a valuable opportunity to practice planning, analysis, and problem-solving, thus helping to build the brain’s cognitive reserves. Chess also helps the brain to develop dendrites: the tree-like structures in the brain that help neurons communicate more effectively with each other. When you engage in an activity that elicits mental activity, like chess or crossword puzzles, your brain develops more dendrites. The more dendrites in the brain, the better and more efficiently it works.