Chess is a global sport played in every country of the world. It promotes patience, courage and a way to show your personality on a 64 square board. And besides many other benefits, one thing that stands out is that chess is good for your health.
Listed below are the top 10 health benefits of playing chess.
1. Chess Improves Memory
Skilled chess players are very good at recognizing patterns. Their memory is sharper than an average human. Plus chess constantly puts you in a situation where you are looking for solutions. This mental involvement is very good for memory and concentration and saves you from many diseases.
Statistics suggest that people who play chess are 35% less likely to suffer from dementia.
Since chess is a game of memory and concentration, it stimulates the part of the brain responsible for the growth of dendrites, the bodies that send out signals from the brain’s neuron cells.
2. Chess Improves Intelligence
Intelligence has many forms. It could be logical decision making, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
One thing common in all these forms of intelligence is that you can find it on a chessboard. Whatever your level of gameplay is, you can always learn from mistakes and become a more intelligent chess player.
Your problems are not unique. They can be solved with intelligence, alertness and learning from your mistakes.
Chess works on patterns, positions and not repeating the mistakes that you have already done in the past. When you learn from those mistakes, you become a better chess player and if you take the chess problems as a metaphor and use them in real-life problems, you will become a more intelligent human.
3. Chess Enables you to Enter a Flow State
Flow means giving your utmost concentration to a single task at a time. According to research, theta waves are heightened in electroencephalograms (EEGs) taken when people are in a state of flow.
That flow is important to build a habit of focus. Which as a result, can bring a significant improvement in whatever your profession is. That flow is equally good for Athletes, Students, Artists and everyone else.
Successful people are more focused. They don’t only know their goals but also are constantly focused on how to make those goals turn from dreams to reality.
Play chess to improve your focus.
4. Chess Elevates Creativity
Many consider chess art and not a Sport. The creativity and beauty of chess lie in the number of possibilities after each move.
The first four moves of chess have 318,979,564,000 possible combinations. By the time you reach the mid-game, you have encountered more possible decisions than there are atoms in the universe.
Even the super-computers are not aware of all of them. And most of these moves are not worth consideration and non-sense but they do lead to creativity because creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; it’s a power of inventiveness.
You can always surprise your opponent by playing a move that goes against the flow of existing knowledge and requires creativity to solve a particular position.
5. Chess Improves Planning Skill
Planning is a process used in all walks of life. It gives you a direction and goals to strive for. No business can survive without an action plan. And chess is a proven solution to help in improving planning skills.
Right from the beginning, both players are in a constant struggle of controlling the important squares and the centre. Then comes the middle game phase, where both the players are constantly looking for checks, threats and captures. Plus keeping an eye on where the opponent is going and what his plans are in each passing move. That awareness of position is required right till the end of the game.
And you constantly have to look for and plan moves based on threats and initiatives. All this power struggle leads to better planning skills.
6. Chess is Helpful against Dementia
A somewhat similar benefit is listed at the top but this one is specifically targeting a disease. Dementia is a syndrome that hampers memory, ability to think, behave and perform everyday activities.
7. Chess is Helpful against AHDH
AHDH stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A 2016 study revealed that chess can improve your ability to become a more attentive person. According to that study, 41% of participants showed an improvement against ADHD by the end of the experiment.
8. Chess is a cure for Panic Attacks
Anxiety and mental health issues are real things. Millions are suffering from it in silence and at times it feels like there is no help available. Well, if you can’t reach out to any helpline supporting mental health or a close relative that you trust the most. You can try chess to get your mind off the mental issues and panic attacks.
Chess is a game that if played regularly will make you a fan of itself. It takes your mind off the worries and puts the concentration all and all on a 64 squared chess set.
Will it solve your problem? No, but it will temporarily take your mind off it and maybe later with a fresher mind you can better solve your issues.
9. Chess is good for Kids
Curiosity is the desire to learn and kids are no short of it. To a certain age, they want to taste anything and everything. Then comes the age of observing, looking at and testing things. That is where you can introduce chess into their lives.
Bobby Fischer, the greatest US chess player ever was not a kid from a chess family. In a way, he became the accidental genius who was introduced to chess by his Mom gifting him a chess set as a Christmas gift.
If you are looking for gift ideas for kids, a chess set from here can be a good option.
10. Chess is good for Brain Rehabilitation
To recover from brain injury, there is a need for three kinds of rehabilitation exercises:
- Exercises for Memory Skills
- Exercises for Problem Solving Skills and
- Exercises for Attention and Concentration Skills.
Chess is a recommended Memory Exercise for all these skills especially the problem-solving skill. Concentration is very important to memorize something and in chess, the whole focus is on a single 64 square board. Leading to improved memory by concentration.
That’s all in the top 10 Health Benefits of playing Chess. If you know any more, share them in the comments and we will feature them in the updated article 🙂