Math wizard Blaise Pascal once said that chess is the gymnasium of the mind. That is, you tend to gain mental benefits, like core cognitive and philosophical skills from playing chess. Did you know that these mental benefits play a role in leading an overall successful life? Let us explain why Garry Kasparov said chess is like life in miniature.
We’ll start by talking about the border-surpassing benefits of chess. Like every other game and sport, chess unites people across all nations and tribes and has been doing so for over a millennium. It is a game that transcends class divisions in any society and will remain so as its spread continues to reach new heights in this technological era. Lastly, the ability to play chess has always denoted prominent intelligence in individuals.
In an age where science has discovered the average attention span to be at a worrying low, chess can help train your mind to remain focused on one activity at a time. Focus brings calm, and with calm comes clarity. Despite being faced with imminent adversity, a high level of focus will help sustain a clear mind to think. You may explore chess in depth on the chessdoctrine website.
Focus also helps with better awareness and, when applied to life, can help prevent us from getting into uncomfortable or safety-threatening situations.
How deeply you calculate everything can give you much more power and control over a variety of situations. Whether on an emotional basis or a physical basis, the ability to know what happens after consecutive actions is a skill that can be applied to any concept of life.
In chess, it is a common trait between the best players to calculate at least 8 moves ahead. For context, a typical chess player calculates just 2-3 moves ahead, and even this level offers some benefit in everyday life.
Calculative depth does not end at informing your decisions or understanding situations. It also helps you make predictions according to the information processed from past and present occurrences.
For instance, if my opponent has a fianchettoed bishop targeting my kingside, and they just moved the developed kingside knight behind the undeveloped pawns, it’s easy to predict that my opponent is preparing a pawn storm on the kingside.
The time spent studying openings, learning tactics, memorizing endgame positions, and forming pattern recognitions from solving puzzles helps to grow your memory capacity. This benefit is why chess is highly recommended to the elderly to keep their memories sharp.
When the brain is constantly stimulated like it is when playing chess, you can expect your memory to serve you better in the long run.
There is a key difference between making the right move and making the right move AT THE RIGHT TIME. Chess theory describes this concept as Tempo combined with muscle memory, and mastery of tempo can greatly define how good you will be in chess and in navigating key areas of your life.
This skill helps you identify when a life opportunity has opened up for the taking. Sometimes, your application for a job might be too soon or too late. Chess can help with discernment in making such big decisions.
Of all the benefits of playing chess, perhaps the most popular benefit is the ability to be creative. You can know all the knowledge of theory and have it at your beck and call due to improved memory, but if you do not have a creative mind to formulate this knowledge into a plan, then you might struggle to impose yourself in chess and life.
There is a certain boldness with creativity because you are daring to thread a rather novel path. Therefore, every step of a creative journey is bold as a result of developed decision-making skills. There is no sitting on the fence to be creative in chess.
It does not matter if you master the game of chess, but to hack your way into being a critical thinker who navigates through the complexities of life, understanding chess is a must. Not only do we adopt life’s philosophies from chess, but we also have fun while doing it.