by Karina Austin
Chess strengthens critical thinking, improves decision making and improves problem solving skills. Did we also mention it can be extremely fun once you catch the hang of it?!
Through chess, we learn how to analyze a situation by focusing on important factors and by eliminating distractions. We learn to devise creative solutions and put a plan into action. Learning how to use creative thinking skills in real-world scenarios helps students become better problem solvers in their everyday life. Below we have listed some key critical thinking skills gained from learning the game of Chess!
7 Critical Thinking Skills Kids Learn at Chess Camp
1. Problem Solving
In its most simplistic form, chess is quite similar to a large puzzle. In order to “solve” a chess game, players must use problem-solving skills to decide which pieces they should move to yield the best results on the board. Below we have a game and it’s time to Make your move, Good Luck!
As players advance and start playing timed games, chess teaches students how to solve problems on-the-fly.
2. Abstract Reasoning
The ability to engage in abstract reasoning is undoubtedly beneficial to any school-aged student, both in academia and beyond. Chess helps students improve their abstract reasoning skills by helping them learn to recognize patterns on the game board and develop strategies based on those patterns.
Chess invites students to practice abstract reasoning through “if, then…” scenarios. For example, “If I move my rook here, then I can take out his bishop.” Abstract reasoning skills go hand-in-hand with problem solving, making these two of the most beneficial skills gained from learning the game of chess as a child.
3. Calmness Under Pressure
When students play games with timed moves, they must repeatedly consider their current position on the board and determine the best possible move before time runs out. Learning to stay calm while thinking through possible moves gives students the ability to make informed and thought out decisions while under pressure in real-life scenarios down the road.
The average game of chess goes on for about 40 moves before one player emerges victorious over the other. Each of these moves must be carefully calculated, planned and executed. The slightest lapse in concentration could lose a pawn, or an overly aggressive move could lead to a checkmate for the opposing player.
This careful calculation teaches children the virtue of patience. Not only must they stay focused while waiting for an opponent to take his or her turn, but they must also exercise patience by not rushing the number of moves it takes to complete the game.
Students learn chess by discovering which moves work and which ones don’t in certain scenarios. In a chess game, there’s almost always a winner and students will quickly find that they’re going to lose matches from time to time.
Games and activities where there’s a clear-cut winner encourage students to become more sportsmanlike, when they win and when they lose. When children learn early to be good sportsmen, it’s easier for them to overcome loss or failure later on in life.
6. Creative Thinking
To defeat an opponent, a chess player must become a creative thinker. During each game, they need to imagine what will happen with each possible move on the board and then quickly come up with new strategies on the fly.
Learning how to use creative thinking skills in real-world scenarios helps students become better problem solvers in their everyday life.
7. Strategic Thinking
As students combine all the skills above as they learn to play chess, they develop their strategic thinking skills. They learn to combine problem solving, pattern recognition and creative thinking to make their moves. They discover how to be patient until just the right moment for a big move, and learn that each loss is just an opportunity to perform better the next time. Most importantly, students learn how to develop and execute a strategy.
Why Consider Chess?
If you’re serious about helping your child get ahead in academia and life, signing him or her up for a summer chess camp is a smart move. Not only will your child have fun learning a classic game, they’ll develop valuable life skills that will set them up for future success.