The game of Chess is one of my dearest board games and also one of my favorite “sports”. Yes, I said sport. It is now considered an official sport in many places.
I started playing Chess a few years ago when I went to private school. My mom signed me up for group practice that took place once a week. At first, I saw it only as a game with pieces. But over time, I have learned that it is much more than a game. It requires thinking, focus, and concentration skills. And it is very important to look at the situation you are in and all the possible choices to make.
For those of you who don’t know exactly what Chess is and how it’s played, I’m going to take the time to explain that.
The main objective of Chess is to capture your opponent’s pieces and to eventually take their King (which ends the game). There are two sides, black and white.
The game of Chess includes 6 different pieces which are (in order from least to most important):
Pawns could be considered the tiny but fierce warriors. There are 8 of them on the board and are worth 1 point each. They can only go forward (not to mention moving only one space), but they can also move diagonally when capturing.
A Knight looks like a horse head. There are 2 of them on the board (worth 3 points each) and they move in an ‘L’ shape. They are the only piece that can jump over other pieces, which makes them valuable. You usually don’t want to lose your knight because of this.
Bishops are worth 3 points (like the Knight) and they can move as many spaces as they’d like. They only move diagonally and capture diagonally.
Rooks are 5 points a piece and they can move on rows and columns. These are awesome pieces and my personal favorite because you can trap your opponent’s pieces easily with them and protect your king with them.
To help you get an idea of how important this piece is, I’m only going to say this: this is the LAST piece you want to lose (other than the King, of course). She can move in any direction (except for the Knight’s L-shaped movement) and as many spaces as she would like. Oh, and she’s also worth 9 points!
The King is worth the entire game. You lose your king, you lose the game. You want to keep the King safe as much as you can and only move him when extremely necessary.
OK, now that you know the basics, I am going to share 3 reasons why Chess is a beneficial sport for children … Take it away!
- 1. Helps you Develop Self-Esteem
As a speaker about self-esteem, I can guarantee you that playing Chess boosts your confidence and helps you make more choices with sureness and steadiness. It has helped me get clear on some situations I have had because it has helped me notice and catch some patterns I repeat over and over again both in Chess and in life.
- 2. Improves your Smarts
Studies show that kids who play chess get higher grades and that Chess literally boosts brain power. It literally makes you stop and think, “if I do this, then that will happen,” and you eventually make it a habit, which helps you get an A+! It also takes a lot of focus, analyzing, and planning ahead to succeed in the game. These tools are needed in many areas of life, including finances, family, business, and many other important choices.
3. Teaches Good Sportsmanship
This was a certain area I aced. After playing, it is important to congratulate and shake hands with your opponent with a smile on your face and in your heart. Good sportsmanship helps me feel good on the inside and on the outside!
Now are you ready to play a game of CHESS?