With the increase of fast-paced modern forms of entertainment such as computer games, television and internet technology, many educational experts are concerned over decreasing concentration levels in students, to the detriment of classroom learning and exam performance. Chess games, on the other hand, demand precise logical thinking and can be long, arduous and require consistent intense concentration - any lapse may forfeit the game. Thus, when tested by various educational researchers, some studies have shown that chess-playing students show increased aptitude for concentration, patience and perseverance than their non-chess playing counterparts.
Chess promotes efficient problem solving abilities, since success relies on the ability to quickly and completely assess a given game scenario, involving planning ahead (taking into account one’s own and anticipated opponent moves), and drawing upon a pool of experience to find the correct strategy. Strong analytical and logical skills are thus also required.
The ability to make thoughtfully considered, strategic decisions under pressure is crucial to success in chess. When a player feels he or she is losing, or the game is played under strict time restrictions, they must resist pressure to make a rash decision for ultimate success. Many people believe that this aptitude is essential for effective exam performance, and studies have shown improved exam performance arising from learning chess. Additionally, advanced chess players demonstrate increased expertise in making difficult and abstract decisions, where there are many different factors to assess. (Seymour and Norwood 1993)
Chess helps a child realise that he or she is responsible for his or her own actions and must accept their consequences. Ultimately, it is up to the individual player to make decisions on the board, and if a player makes a mistake, then there is no one else to blame but themselves. Chess also teaches children to try their best to win, while accepting defeat with grace and good sportsmanship. In this way, chess can be a very effective tool for self-improvement and self-motivation.
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