How playing chess helps your brain

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I’m playing the White Pieces using a modified Queen’s Gambit against the computer with its Sicilian Defense variation. One wrong move and you’re done.

I was surprised to see my son who would be turning four years old this August playing chess on my laptop when I didn’t even teach him how to play it in the first place. He may have been observing me while I’m playing against the computer. Of course, I liked what he did. He was just like me, after all.

Chess is one of my favorite of pastimes. I learned to play the game back when I was only in my grade school years. Nobody taught me how to play it but I learned it by simply watching people played the game themselves.

There was a waiting shade near our house in my hometown where by-standers trooped for chitchats, drinking session, and playing board games like chess. Almost every single day during that time, while I’m on my way to school and in going back from school, I took a portion of my time to watch chess players went all out for their games.

When I already knew how to play the game I played against people much older than me as there was no one in my age bracket would like to challenge me. Of course, I’m losing many good games at first but in the long run I’m improving and started beating known chess players in our place.  I was still in my elementary years at that time and I’m beating people in their thirties and forties. These people were the ones who used to shoo us kids away while we’re watching them play.

If there’s one thing that chess has clearly taught me something back then, when I was only a neophyte of the game, it was how to be patient. You would know you have reached the point of maturity for the game when you’re showing a lot of patience under pressure. Chess teaches us patience.

But what really interests me is the fact that, aside from teaching patience, playing chess helps our brain. It develops and improves memory. This due to the fact that chess involves theory that is complicated and players should memorize different opening variations (my favorite chess openings when I’m playing the White Pieces are the classic Ruy Lopez and Queen’s Gambit and Sicilian Defense and Queen’s Indian when playing the Black Pieces.)

And because it helps develop one’s memory, the ability of a person to concentrate could as well improve as a result. It promotes strategic thinking as the game itself is considered a strategy game.

Chess could also improve one’s critical thinking skills, preserves mental acuity, logic and efficiency, and many more. With all of these good things playing chess could do to your brain, chess is not just a game to waste much of your time with.

I’m happy to see my son playing chess because I’m sure it makes him smarter.

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