The closing and opening schools nowadays can be included or considered the new normal and our children will have to choose between the extracurricular activities that are offered in the educational centre. Chess has become one of the sports that most benefits our children.
Chess is a classic game whose origin can be traced back to India. From there it reached China and then to the whole world where it has always encountered big fans among adults and children. Since then, chess has become a trendy discipline in all countries.
However, some have considered chess a wise men game. This could be labelled or seen as a myth because anyone can learn its secrets, including kids. Children from 4 years of age already have enough cognitive abilities to learn how to move the pieces and make simple plays. Parents can take this step to stimulate interest in chess because it has proven to be one of the games with greater cognitive benefits for small at home.
Chess for kids is an excellent exercise to train the mind and enhance intelligence. This game helps to create new neural connections, while stimulating thinking and encouraging problem-solving.
United Kingdom researchers at the University of Liverpool conducted studies to analyze the effects of chess for kids. The results revealed that practicing chess has a positive effect on the development of intellectual abilities, especially in the field of Mathematics.
The practice of chess also has a positive effect on the children’s social skills. Kids that often have difficulty relating could benefit from chess. Children that engage in the practice of chess regularly contribute to their socio-emotional development.
Research results from Universidad de la Laguna, Spain, revealed that playing chess not only stimulates interactions but also improves social skills and abilities to make new friends. At the end of the study, those who participated in the chess for kids program were in a better position when it came to communicating with others and more responsive to social interaction and emotion.
When it comes to school and children, concentration in class tends to be an issue for both parents and kids. Playing chess at an early age can become excellent training to improve concentration. Schoolchildren involved in chess regularly pay more attention and have a greater capacity for concentration than those who do not.
To achieve these results various cognitive tests can be applied, including, assessing the level of concentration in a group of primary students where some of them are involved in some sort of chess for kids training program. Those who play chess pay attention and discuss possible options in a given situation, forcing them to block out the surroundings and focus their attention on the game or the matter at being presented.
A study in Canada evaluated the ability to solve problems in 437 fifth graders that were divided into three groups: one group received a traditional course of Mathematics throughout the study, another received a traditional Mathematics plan in first grade and then a chess for kids enhanced Mathematics program from the first grade. The results showed that the chess involved group from first grade obtained greater marks when assessing the resolution of problems in comparison with those who included chess later in their curriculum or those who never did.
Children’s creativity can also be stimulated as well as their focus. Kids involved in chess tend to show higher creativity levels compared to those engaged in other outdoor activities. The reason for this is that chess players exercise both brain hemispheres, improving the functioning of the brain and fosters a connection between neurons.
Don’t overestimate the benefits of teaching kids to play chess. If the training focuses on tactical aspects, its effect could be limited to cognitive processes (for attention or, memory); but when it is part of a methodology, a curriculum based on meaningful learning, the kids participating in such program could enhance both cognitive and emotional capacity and then moving towards improving a broader range of competencies such as analysis, synthesis, plannings and foresight. Chess for kids, not a bad idea.