“Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.” – Ralph Charell
On her 5th birthday, one of the presents was a board game. She was quite familiar with the other gifts and toys as she had seen them earlier or at her friend’s place. The one gift that really amazed her was the chessboard and its pieces. She opened the box and was flabbergasted with the king’s army, that too not one but two armies. She carefully placed all the pieces in a haphazard manner on the board, trying to figure out how to start playing the game. She was bewildered.
All this while I kept looking at her from the corner of my eye. I remember playing chess in my childhood with my grandmother. My brothers and I would always team up against her. But as the years passed by we started playing 1 against 1. My brother was definitely the best amongst us. But yes, the game could keep us hooked on for hours and it enabled us to think and concentrate.
By now, having lost all her patience she walked up to me, “Mumma, how do we play this new board game. I am so fascinated with it but can’t play. Please, can you help me?”
I glanced at her lazily, as I was in no mood to play with her. But her willingness to learn overshadowed my shiftlessness. Thus we created our me time and connected well over a game of chess.
I explained her the nuances of the game. Told her the roles and moves of each piece and why the colour is important (only for the clear demarcation for the 2 players). After 15 minutes of me still demonstrating her the game, she was now very eager to start playing. So we placed our bishops, kings, and the pawns and made a sincere effort to play. Since that day we do pull out the chess board every week and bond over it 😉
Playing chess does has its own benefits, especially for children. Chess involves concentration which helps to boost the muscles of the brain. As they say, when put to use they work well otherwise in no time will rust, aptly said … an empty mind is a devil’s workshop.
Here is a list of some benefits of playing chess with children:
- Chess helps in concentration and memory: Chess is a long game and one has to literally get involved. So while the game is on, there is enough work to be done as the brain keeps exercising.
- Chess enables to use both sides of the brain: As we grow older, we focus only on one side of the brain while the other starts getting lazy. Chess helps us use both sides of the brain. It is better to exercise both sides of the brain equally so that it can function well at maximum capacity.
- Helps in mathematical skills and reading: Since chess focuses on problem-solving and moving variables (pieces) it enhances a child’s skill for maths. But did you know that chess also helps in reading … wondering how? FACT… both chess and reading require analysis, decoding, comprehension and thinking. Well, I was didn’t know that …
- Enhances logical and critical thinking: Since a lot of thinking like “if I play this move, what move is my partner going to play, is the bishop safe, is that going to be a checkmate”, all empower towards logical and critical thinking.
- An increase in creativity: Research shows that playing chess motivate the children to visualise all the possible moves, not only theirs but their partner’s as well. Thus chess prepares the mind to foresee the possibilities in turn giving birth to creativity.
- Empowers decision-making ability: Playing chess allows the child to test their decision-making abilities, thus making them sane and focussed to plan, strategise and foresee not only the aspects of the game but also in life.
Now that the benefits of playing chess are so visible, indulge yourself and your child in the game. And yes, it is not that difficult, to start with … cos you are in no hurry to win a tournament 😉