By Ian King
Let’s face it. You’re probably familiar with the social and mental benefits of chess. Probably even, aware of
the psychological enamoring chess accords its players. But you might still be asking… is that it? Or is there an actual concrete benefit that only chess offers to those that play it? Something, you know, that can be useful in day to day life? Or could one just play Scrabble orMonopoly and get similar benefits without the tirade of ‘openings’ and ‘variations’?
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably asked yourself at some point if having your kid learn chess is worth it. Well, it is worth it. And more than you could ever imagine it to be. You see, there’s something called
‘chess understanding’ that is developed when one plays chess.
And it is this understanding that carries over to other spheres of life, and augments basic thought processes to increase mental efficacy in day to day problems. As for what it is exactly, I think the simplest way to
explain it is to conceptualize it as an auxiliary module to one’s logic and mental aptitude that evaluates
situations at a deeper level.
For instance, let’s contemplate a person who has never really been into preparing to do lists. Let us also imagine that he achieves rather good success in his current modus operandi, and that he may, for all intents and purposes, be considered efficient.
Then let us suppose he takes up chess. In no time, he suddenly finds himself, almost unconsciously, organizing his days and tasks in consideration of longer term goals. This is because the auxiliary algorithm in his head – the aforementioned chess understanding – highlights the importance of long range planning as regards his desired goals, and rightly evaluates contrary action as messy, haphazard or rather tedious and detrimental to one’s aspirations.
And therein is the heart of chess application in life. Chess teaches you, in essence, to automatically think in
terms of varying plans, and the execution of the best one among many… depending on certain givens. It also bequeaths you with a longer horizon of thought, constantly instigating contemplation of long term
effects of day to day actions.
In this way, chess shines through as a sturdy compass towards the attainment of any life goal or task, and as, perhaps, the greatest assistant one can have in day to day life. So you can only imagine how beneficial this understanding could be if instilled early in one’s life.