Playing Chess: Here’s Why You Should Learn To Play Chess + The Amazing Benefits

Playing Chess
Playing Chess: Here's Why You Should Learn To Play Chess + The Amazing Benefits
Photo by Marija Litajeva from Pexels

It is widely believed that chess is a boring and difficult game and that chess games necessarily last for hours or even days.

This is wrong! The Chess game is, in our opinion, the most beautiful, the most interesting, the most intelligent and the most exciting game. It is not by chance that it is called the Noble Game and also the King of games and the game of Kings.

And not only that: chess is a strategy game, but it is also art, science and sport. Being a mathematical game, it finds ample space in game theory, computer science and artificial intelligence; (don’t just think of chess programs and the algorithms on which these programs are based). It is also recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee (in fact it is a game that requires study, training, competition; but also fitness and nutrition, at least to reach certain levels of competition). Moreover, everybody can play chess: there is no particular age limit or cultural barriers or barriers for the handicapped or the blind.

Even better, the game of chess represents an excellent opportunity to stay mentally young and to have good socialization opportunities and new friendships. So, without further ado, in the following lines, we will share with you the reasons why playing chess is a great thing.

The advantages of playing chess

1. Chess improves concentration

Playing chess leads you to concentrate on a main objective: to checkmate your opponent and become the winner. The ability to concentrate for a long time; to think about each decision to be taken, (since in the game, the move is irrevocable); to be able to evaluate in parallel the various parameters which determine your position on the chessboard at each moment of the game is something that one develops thanks to the game of chess.

2. Playing chess develops imagination and creativity

One of the reasons to learn to play chess is that it encourages you to be inventive. There is an endless amount of beautiful combinations to create. The player must continually come up with new ideas to defend or attack his opponent. But he must also develop intuitive skills to predict the opponent’s moves. Chess teaches independence and responsibility. Each move is a fundamental decision in the economy of the game; therefore chess develops the ability to make decisions, being influenced only by one’s own judgment; often under pressure, and to take responsibility for them.

3. Playing chess inspires self-motivation

The game of chess encourages the search for the best move, the best plan, and the most elegant continuation of the infinite possibilities. It encourages one to always have improvement as a goal; always inclined to the pursuit of victory. Playing chess improves self-esteem

The ability to search calmly, with determination, with confidence in one’s own intellectual resources for the solution of difficulties; while rigorously filtering different rational hypotheses to choose the most valid one, refusing hasty and superficial answers. In chess, disciplined imagination may help, but not improvisation.

4. Chess develops logical skills in you

Chess requires some understanding of logic-strategy. For example, you will learn that it is important to develop your pieces quickly at the beginning of the game; to keep the king safe at all times, not to create too many weaknesses in your position; and not to supervise by giving away pieces. (Although you do this occasionally throughout your chess career. Mistakes are inevitable and chess, like life, is a never-ending learning process.)

5. Playing chess helps to develop self-control

Sitting focused for a long time, one must not only control one’s body (posture, hands and voice); but also establish an emotional balance by learning to better manage anxiety. Chess requires patience. In a chess game, patience is essential for reflection and reworking of concepts; especially what his actions cause irreparable consequences. Patience also serves to improve the will; because it is sometimes necessary to seek the best solution during a long time in difficult or unusual positions.

6. Chess develops memory

When playing chess, it is very useful to remember as much as possible the different previous moves and situations on the board; and this, in order not to have to play again from scratch each time. In this way, the memory is improved in more and more complex situations; but also the mental elasticity and the capacity of abstract calculation are increased. Moreover, being beneficial for memorization and concentration, chess develops a sense of creativity and anticipation in students.

7. Failure proves that success rewards hard work

The more you start playing chess, the stronger you become. You will have to be willing to accept defeat, which is a fundamental part of learning from your mistakes. One of the greatest chess players of all time, Capablanca said: “You can learn much more from a losing game than from a winning one. And you will have to lose hundreds of games before you become a good player.”

8. Playing chess allows you to think outside the box

In chess, there are general principles that guide the flow of the game;(protect your king, don’t move the same piece too often, etc.) but the best players know when it’s time to break these rules. This philosophy is also very useful in real life; despite the unwritten “social principles” that advise against talking to strangers, we have on several occasions struck up conversations; and as a result, made new acquaintances this way with hidden job opportunities!

 9. Playing chess allows us to make a synthesis between practicality and the search for quality

Chess is a cross between perfectionism (the search for the best move) and practicality. By playing many games, you will discover that it is important to take time and find “the strongest move and when it is best to save time and energy for the other phases of the game”. The same thing can be applied to life: there is no need to spend precious time and energy on deciding on trivial matters; but spend them on more important ones such as, “What did I learn today?”

How to learn to play chess well?

To get there, don’t be in a hurry, try to proceed step by step, without fear of making a fool of yourself; chess mushrooms say that to learn how to win you must also know how to lose; so much so that the International Master Bela Toth said that to move up in a category you must lose at least 100 tournament games If you are starting from scratch, after reading and learning the rules of chess; we still recommend you to read a book for beginners.

The next step comes from what has happened in the last few years, through the dissemination of information and the improvement of chess programs. Incredibly, many new talents have been born; children between the ages of 8 and 16 who have easily reached the level of master. One cannot speak of talents, since talents existed even before. On the contrary, it must be understood that the new computer tools have made the progression steps more efficient.

Now, here are the steps to learn to play chess:

Step 1: To know the basic strategic notions of the chess game

The first step for any new player, or player, is to learn the basic rules. And these are the ones you need to understand how the game of chess works; and therefore, orient yourself on the board and know how the moves work.

Attention, even before seeing openings or strategies; it is good to start from what may seem obvious: they are the pieces that compose the game. Here they are: chess is played on a chessboard composed of 64 black and white squares. The pieces are 32 in total, we have 16 white and 16 black; each player plays with a colour and the set contains a king, a queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights and 8 pawns. The goal of each player is to checkmate the opponent’s king.

We must remember this information by heart, and we must also learn how the pieces are positioned on the board and how they move. Each piece, in fact, has special characteristics. The most powerful is the queen, which moves in all directions, both forward and backward, and diagonally for the number of squares it prefers. Rooks, on the other hand, only move vertically and horizontally.

The best way to learn these basic rules is to carefully read an illustrated guide. There are several online, but reading is not enough; it is very important to physically position the pieces, and for that, it is essential to have your own chessboard.

 Step 2: Try playing for the first time at least

Now that you have your own chess board, you need to know how to recognize the pieces, how to place them on the black and white squares, and most importantly, how they move and interact with each other. Chess, like all sports, takes a lot of practice to improve. The sooner you start, the better.

However, not everyone can practice with someone; as there are also those who do not have a chess fan in their family or among friends, but no problem. There are apps and websites that can help you. For iPhone and Android devices, there are many apps to play chess online.

Step 3: Play to solve puzzles

Also on some sites, there are puzzles, which are simple and very useful trainings to have an overview of the chess game and “train the eyes” to recognize and read the different situations in which we will meet. These are diagrams in which the pieces are in particular positions; from which you have to try to reason and understand what is the best move for one or the other piece.

Step 4: Improve yourself by watching the matches of the great chess champions

At this point, you will have played several matches, learned a lot from the openings, practice and study of tactics; but you can go even further. One of the ways to improve, and the most fun, is to go and watch the matches of the great champions of the past.

On YouTube, for example, there are several games by one of the greatest chess players of all time, Garry Kasparov. But there are also some of the young Norwegian champions. There is even the first game Kasparov played against Carlsen when he was still a kid. Kasparov arrived late and the match ended in a draw.

Step 5: Choose a book for openings

Even in the Netflix TV series The Chess Queen, there is much talk of opening books. In particular, we mention “Chess Fundamentals” by Jose Raul Capablanca; but we find many other books that show, with diagrams and detailed explanations, the different opening strategies. One of the most popular and best-selling texts is called “Bobby Fisher teaches chess”; it is an excellent text for beginners, which, with a special didactic called “programmed instructions”, when you read it, you immediately start to solve short quizzes.

Starting to study from Fisher’s book is probably the best idea for anyone who has seen “The Chess Queen”; as the TV series is based on a book that is directly inspired by the life of the American champion himself. Still on the subject of books, there are those who have compiled a very interesting list of 22 titles, all designed specifically for those who enjoyed “The Chess Queen”.

 Some rules to master if you want to become an excellent chess player

a) For the opening of the game

Therefore, never apply the following general opening principles unless you have first carefully assessed the current situation. Keeping the above in mind, here are some principles to start a chess game well:

· Try to occupy and/or control the center of the board with your pieces: whoever dominates the squares E4, E5, D4, D5 has already gained a considerable advantage,

· Mobilize your pieces as quickly as possible in the most efficient houses, avoiding moving the same piece several times and launching a premature attack,

· Limit the movements of the pieces to those strictly necessary to allow the harmonious development of your pieces. Pawns are the bones on which the muscles of the rest of the piece, without an intact bone structure the muscles are of little use,

·        Try to castling as soon as possible: with castling, you not only secure your king, but you also develop a rook,

·        Avoid nailing: a nailed figure is as harmless as a tiger in a cage,

· Develop first the horses and pawns, then the rooks and queen: the soldiers and cavalry advance first in the war,

· Your plan must be flexible, i.e. adapted to the circumstances, otherwise, it will be easily broken by your opponent and will lead you to defeat.

b) The game environment

The goal of the middle game is to get the maximum benefit from the developed pieces to move to an advantageous end. The tracks on which the middle game “train” travels are strategy and tactics.

·        Strategy is the long-term plan that each player makes to win the battle. For example, conquering the center of the board, placing a rook on an open file; avoiding doubled pawns are all strategic plans that the player implements knowing that, even if they do not imply an immediate advantage; they will be right in the long run. Course.

·        Tactics is the art of discovering combinations. So at its base there is the short term calculation; for example the gain of material or the gain of quality (changing a bishop or knight figure by a rook). From the above, it is clear why current computers are excellent tacticians and mediocre strategists; in fact, their game is based only on the pure calculation of variants of a position and not on strategic concepts.

However, it would be a mistake to consider strategy and tactics as two separate units. As we have already said, they are two parallel tracks on which the same train runs. In fact, a good strategy is not enough to win a game; the look, the opportunism, the ability to find combinations in a word, “the tactics”, it is essential to win!

To improve your tactical skills, it is necessary to study the typical mechanism of many combinations. For this reason, we recommend that you understand the ideas behind the combinations in the games you are studying.

 c) The end of the chess game

Usually, the Endgame of a chess game begins when there are few pieces left on the board and especially when the Queens have left the scene. It is also said that the endgame begins when the King, who usually has a passive function during the game, starts to activate. In fact, in all endings, the King always plays the role of the first actor and his contribution becomes decisive and irreplaceable.

Here are some general rules for the final:

· In the endgame, you must have “head feet”. In fact, if a mistake in the opening and a little less in the middle of the game can be corrected; the one who misses even one move in the endgame will face certain defeat or no victory. Remember: in chess, according to the principles of the game, the one who makes the second-to-last mistake wins! Therefore in the endgame, before making a move of the pieces, it is necessary to evaluate more than ever the consequences of the move which is about to be made; even if it is the most banal and the simplest.

· When you have extra pieces, you must push the opponent to change the remaining pieces, not the pieces (according to the rules of chess),

· Never place your pieces on squares of the same colour (white or black pieces) as your bishop’s field. If you end up with the bishop’s field light, place your pieces on the black squares, otherwise you will limit your bishop’s action.

· Place your rook behind the passed pawn, have this reflex if you have a good chess analysis,

· Avoid doubled pawns, especially if you want to progress in chess.

Chess is beneficial

Learning to play chess is something very beneficial, not only for our mind, but also for our spirit. Just like board games like checkers, poker, backgammon…; chess is a very motivating, de-stressing game that requires a constant presence of mind. Learning chess is still so easy if you quickly assimilate the rules of the game; and especially the small basic notions of the game (as mainly the position of the pawns on a chessboard). Playing chess in a chess club is also an excellent way to quickly progress in this game. If you read the history of chess, precisely that of the chess world mushrooms, you will also learn about their strategies and tactics!

Chess: the art of developing your skills

Benefit of Chess in Education

Numerous studies have shown that the game of chess is a real pedagogical tool to be exploited for the development of the intellectual capacities of pupils. In addition to being fun and attractive, it contributes to the improvement of the spatial sense of children.

Smith’s 1998 study, for example, was designed to test the impact of a chess training program on students’ visual-spatial functions, general intelligence, and mathematical skills. Approximately 39 students participated in the experiment and were divided into two groups, one experimental and one control. The results obtained were significant in favour of the

experimental group. These students had developed more skills than the control group, thanks to about 100 hours of chess lessons.

In 2018, a Canadian study also showed that chess helped with math problem solving. The 186 participants were divided into 2 separate groups. The experimental group had received one hour of chess lessons per week for two years. Each group was regularly given different mathematical tests selected by a GRICS bank of measures (BIM). These tests were not directly related to chess. They were mainly focused on arithmetic, geometry, probability and statistics. The experimental group performed significantly better than the control group.

Is it possible to learn to play chess in 24 hours?

It’s never too late or too early to learn to play chess. It is a board game that suits everyone, and the rules of chess are not as complicated as you might think: you can even learn to play in 24 hours on dedicated platforms. You will be coached by French champions such as Christian Baueur, Anthony Wirig, Kevin Terrieux and Hélène Ruhlmann. They will explain to you in a clear and precise way the basic rules and the stakes of each strategy.

The analysis of the different games, the tactical exercise sessions as well as the exercises on the finals with Tigran Gharamian, the 2018 French champion, will allow you to gradually improve. If you wish, you will also be able to participate in beginner, amateur and team tournaments, once you have acquired the basic rules.

The basics of chess

First of all, a chessboard (the board of the chess game) is made of black and white squares arranged in 8 columns. The horizontal side follows an alphabetical order (a to h), the vertical side is numbered from 1 to 8. At the beginning of the game, the players each have 16 pieces consisting of 8 pawns, 2 knights, 2 bishops, 2 rooks, a queen and a king. The chessboard must be considered as a castle for the placement of these pieces (queen and king).

Rooks are placed in the corners of the board, followed by knights and bishops. The queen and king must be placed in the middle. The pawns are the soldiers in charge of the defense of the castle. They must be placed in front of the other pieces.

Moving parts

To master chess, you must know the basic rules. First, you must learn the permitted moves of each piece that makes up the chessboard. Forming the first row, the pawns can only move one square at a time. The rooks can move horizontally and vertically. As for the bishops, they move diagonally.

On the other hand, the queen can move on the three corners according to the convenience of the player. The king, on the other hand, can only move one square in any direction.

Always observe the opposing king to better capture him

Everyone knows the expression that designates the end of a chess game: “checkmate”. This simply means that the king is trapped by the opponent’s pieces and is no longer able to retaliate. To achieve this, you must constantly keep an eye on your opponent’s king to reach it through your attack strategies. In the same way, you must not forget to set up a good defense strategy to prevent your opponent from capturing yours.

Taking a pawn is not mandatory

Unlike checkers, you don’t have to take a pawn: you have to think about each move you make to avoid mistakes and not rush. Indeed, your opponent can set a trap for you by to weaken your defense and reach your king.

Staying one step ahead

Note that all moves are decisive in chess, from the first to the last. In any case, the winning strategy is always to be one move ahead of your opponent. You will find it difficult to dominate the game and win if you only react, unless he makes a mistake.

Introduction to chess

It is best to start playing chess with a real opponent. Although playing against a computer can be reassuring, it will not help you to improve. Indeed, the moves made by a machine are already programmed and therefore predictable in essence. On the other hand, playing against a “real” person will allow you to better build and refine your game, to know the different possibilities of attack and defense to counter them with efficiency. It is quite possible to play chess, even to participate in online tournaments, on dedicated platforms.

Note that it is also possible to train in chess, with specialized sites.

The benefits of chess

In addition to entertainment, the game of chess has many benefits. Among other things, it improves concentration, logic, behavioural skills and memory.

Chess to develop intelligence

Playing chess is an excellent way to develop intelligence. Indeed, this game stimulates and exercises both sides of the brain. Neural communication is much faster as each hemisphere of the brain is intensely activated when a player strives to identify the positions of each piece on the board. Because it requires a lot of thinking, chess is a particularly effective way to increase IQ (intelligence quotient).

Chess to improve concentration and logic

This is one of the major advantages of playing chess. As you build your game, you use logic, thought and concentration to establish a winning strategy, detect the flaws in your opponent’s plan, anticipate his moves and plan an effective counter-attack. Of course, you will be faced with different problems and will have to make the right decisions to avoid losing. Outside of the game, these skills will help you solve the different problems you may face in life in general.

 Chess to boost your memory

Playing chess is also a good way to boost your memory. Indeed, logic and concentration are not enough to win at this game. You have to memorize every move you make, as well as those of your opponent, to carry out your plan. If you don’t, your opponent may take advantage of your inattentive moments to catch you off guard and deal you the fatal blow.

Chess to improve behavioural skills

Chess will also help you improve behavioural skills. First of all, the game requires players to abide by rules and also teaches mutual respect. It also teaches everyone independence and a sense of responsibility. This can be explained by the fact that all decisions made are irreversible and have a significant impact on the course of the game.

Moreover, chess gives the taste of effort and the desire to motivate oneself. Since the players have only victory in mind, they do their best to find the best sequence of moves to capture the opponent’s king. They also have to be patient and wait for the right moment to surprise and defeat their opponent.

Suitable for all, children, teenagers and adults, chess is an excellent activity to have fun, but also to improve your cognitive faculties. The implementation of good attack and defense strategies is essential to win. As no mistake is allowed, each move made must be thought through. Playing time is extremely variable: chess games can be very fast, as well as very long. To improve your level, it is advisable to slow down the pace and always evaluate the different possibilities.

Don’t hesitate to learn to play chess or to initiate your children. In addition to sharing good times, it is the ideal opportunity to develop and improve everyone’s skills.

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