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Educational Benefits of Chess

© Beverley Paine July 2001

As unschoolers, my children learned more from playing than they did 'lessons'. In our first year of homeschooling I was often unwell and this meant my children frequently played all day, sometimes for days on end. It soon became apparent that on the days they weren't doing 'school at home' they were still learning reading, writing and even maths! Consequently, playing games became an integral and important aspect of our home educating lifestyle. I

We've had a round of chess fanaticism at our house lately and it has been a lot of fun. Quite often families ask me how my children learn and I like to point not to reams of work from educational books but to the many fun games and activities my children seem to continuously engage in. Some time ago I came across this list of the benefits of playing chess by the international master chess player Aleksander Davidovic. I can't dispute his findings!

  • Chess greatly helps the development of the analytical mind.
  • Children practicing chess once a week have better results in subjects like mathematics and physics.
  • The ability to concentrate on a given subject increases together with time spent on studying chess.
  • The increase of determination and self-confidence becomes evident even after a few classes of chess tuition, as students learn to solve over the board problems by themselves.
  • One of the main improvements is better organisation of thought. Since a game of chess is normally played with clearly defined time limits, methods are developed to help organisation of thought so that students can do their best within the available time. It then affects all fields of their work, making solving of different problems faster and more efficient.
  • Analysing a chess game has all the elements of scientific research. It also develops students' independent thinking.
  • Through chess, students learn to control their emotions, to be patient, and not to give up easily.
  • Chess-playing children have much better results when it comes to making decisions. Once their goal is set, they act with persistence and dedication.
  • Chess develops creativity and imagination. It usually comes as a surprise, as many think that chess is all in calculations. If this were true, computers mould be able to beat every human player.
  • Chess encourages logical and lateral thinking and develops visual memory.
  • Every chess player has to be in excellent physical condition to give his/her best which is achieved through active participation on other sports.

The only other things I can add is that when we play chess at home we have lots of fun, explore our competitive natures and learn to cope with loosing and winning, talk about many other topics as a game generally last up to one hour, and lastly it is a most relaxing past time!

Read more articles about the educational benefits of chess:


Beverley Paine is a mother of three young adults and a prolific writer of homeschooling articles. More articles and essays can be found in her books, available from the Always Learning Books online bookstore.

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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

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