The history of chess goes back almost 1500 years.
The game played by millions of people worldwide today, is believed to have originated in India sometime before the 7th century, being derived from the Indian game chaturanga, which translates as ‘four divisions (of the military)”: infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry, represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop and rook, respectively. Today chess is one of the most popular indoor games and the Chess Olympiad attracts participants from over 200 countries across the world.
Chess has long been recognized throughout the world as a builder of strong intellects.
However of more recent, countries across the world have begun to recognize that chess improves academic performance of young students through improving their cognitive abilities, rational thinking and reasoning. Chess brings out latent abilities that have not yet been exposed by traditional educational means. It promotes logical and critical thinking skills, instills a sense of self-confidence and self-worth, and improves communication and pattern recognition skills. It teaches the values of hard work, concentration, objectivity, and commitment.
The game of chess makes one of the most important contributions to the field of education.
Chess lovers have long contended that chess should be a valuable classroom tool. Chess has been part of the curriculum for most Russian schools for over 40 years. Armenia has made it an integral part of the school curriculum, and countries like Spain and Turkey have followed suit. After all, one of the essential goals of education is to teach children to think critically. Chess is an excellent tool to demonstrate the theme of critical thinking. During a game a player must formulate a plan of attack or defense. Chess makes kids smarter and it can provide not just an intellectually stimulating and rewarding activity, but it can also teach discipline, concentration, planning and all the other useful elements that go into successful chess. In the words of renowned educationist, Harry Lyman, “Learning chess makes kids smarter in the classroom!”
Chess has rightly been called as the gymnasium of the mind and is variously described as a science, an art and a sport.
It has the virtue of being completely free of the element of luck. The result of each game depends entirely upon the skill of the players. Thus, everyone associates a good chess player with a clever mind. A child who can play a good game of chess has proof of his or her mental abilities – and no one can take that away! A child taking part in a chess program develops good memory, concentration and problem solving abilities apart from patience and good sportsmanship. And perhaps more importantly, improve their self-esteem.
Some of the benefits I have added here, but for me its sheer pleasure to play chess! The pleasure of playing chess so much, I wouldn’t even care about all the benefits I mentioned above!