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Chess is a strategy game involving two people played on a checkered gameboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. The history of chess spans back to about 1500 years originating in Northern India.
The game of chess might not help you build your biceps or tone your abs, but your lifelong mental health can certainly benefit from it. When the brain has no stimulation, the cells inside slowly die. It’s an example of ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’. Chess is a tool which gives players a rigorous mental workout.
It is an incredibly beneficial pastime because playing chess results in better brain function, improved memory, cognitive abilities, strategic thinking and attention improvement. In recent years, chess has become part of the curriculum at some schools for the benefits it provides.
Let’s take a look at some of those benefits in more detail:
Scientists have shown that chess helps keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay, which is directly related to the loss of memory. There are many tactics and strategies in chess and a good player should know most of them. Over the course of many games, players develop an almost natural feeling of when to use a certain strategy or tactic. Players can quickly remember and use different strategies or tactics. The best part is that this benefit is not just limited to chess – improved memory can be noticed in other areas of life such like academic and work performance.
Chess improves visualization. For example, before implementing a move, a player imagines or visualizes the effect on chess board or game. This mental exercise further increases one’s perception.
The mind is trained to be focused and attentive mainly because of the complex rules you have to remember. Looking away or thinking about something else for even a moment can result in the loss of a match, as an opponent is not required to tell you how he moved if you didn’t pay attention. This routine will improve your attention span.
In a German study, researchers discovered that chess exercises both sides of the brain. Since the right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for creativity, it should come as no surprise that activating the right side of your brain helps develop your creative side. Specifically, chess greatly increases originality.
Improves thinking and problem-solving skills
Chess is a game where every move on the the board either helps you solve an immediate hurdle or create a bigger hurdle. As you keep playing the game, your mind develops strategies to resolve problems better.
Helps with rehabilitation and therapy
Moving chess pieces across the board can help develop and fine tune a patient’s motor skills, while the mental effort required to play the game can improve cognitive and communication skills. It also stimulates deep concentration and relaxes patients who are experiencing different degrees of anxiety.
All in all, strategic games like chess have an immense impact on your brain and improves your brain function. Some other games which have similar benefits are Bridge, Sudoku and Sequence.