Checkmate! (19:365)

Henry concentrating

Henry concentrating

Now that my son has completed his second chess tournament, I am curious about the role chess plays in schools. The private school that hosts the tournament prides itself in the fact that chess is integrated into the curriculum. Students play everyday! At my son’s elementary school, one teacher volunteers 3 days a week so that over 100 students can play. He supports the kids on the  day of the tournament by providing feedback on their wins and losses.


Currently, my elementary school does not have a chess club. I feel compelled to get one started so that the students can learn this historic game that can have positive impact on critical thinking, problem solving, and even raise achievement.


According to chess vibes, there are 10 brain benefits of playing chess:

  1. Can raise your IQ
  2. Helps prevent Alzheimers
  3. Exercises both sides of the brain
  4. Increases creativity
  5. Improves memory  
  6. Increases problem solving
  7. Improves reading skills
  8. Improves concentration
  9. Grows Dendrites (tree-like branches that conduct signals from other neural cells into the neurons)
  10. Teaches planning and insight


I see other benefits as well. My son has become part of the a “team” and enjoys spending time with the other kids in the chess club. He and I play at least once or twice a week, and with a busy schedule, this is great bonding time for us. So, I don’t mind the hour drive to the tournament, or the 5 hour wait, or even the hour drive home… It is all worth it because in the end, I have learned so much and I have to get things started at my school!

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