Chess is widely considered as an intellectual game. It requires a lot of visuospatial capability and calculation. Some researchers have even found chess players to be more intelligent than the other, while other have rejected this hypothesis. The purpose of writing this blog is not to argue about this point. What i am trying to tell is chess definitely helps in making your brain healthy. Playing this game during old age prevents the age related cognitive decline and dementia.
What the research tells?
Researchers at Universidad de Laguna, Spain compared the students playing chess and those playing soccer or basketball. Their results showed that students playing chess have improved cognitive and problem solving capacity than the counterparts playing soccer or basketball. The findings of this research correlates well with the results of functional magnetic resonance imaging(fMRI). Researchers at University of Minnesota, USA reported bilateral activation of frontal, parietal and occipital areas in fMRI while playing chess. Its the frontal area of our brain that is involved in problem solving and intelligence.
What are the benefits of playing chess?
Psychological and intelligence test conducted on chess players dismiss the idea of chess players being intelligent or being more efficient planner or thinker than those who don’t play chess. But there are other studies which tend to differ. Here are some benefits of playing chess as mentioned in the website http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/10-big-brain-benefits-of-playing-chess:
- Increases the IQ
- Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
- Increases creativity and problem solving skills
- Improves memory,reading skills and concentration
- Promotes the growth of dendrites in the brain
For more information about the benefits, visit the webpage by clicking the above link.
How often do you need to play chess?
There are no clear studies indicating the frequency and time one need to spend . Playing chess is just like doing meditation or your daily routine training like jogging,swimming or cycling. The more you play, the more your chance of reaping the benefits. Like the exercise training or meditation, its never late to start learning chess
Reference and related articles:
Atherton M, Zhuang J, Bart WM, Hu X, He S, A functional MRI study of high-level cognition. I. The game of chess. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2003 Mar;16(1):26-31
- Aciego R, García L, Betancort M, The benefits of chess for the intellectual and social-emotional enrichment in schoolchildren. Span J Psychol. 2012 Jul;15(2):551-9
- Unterrainer JM, Kaller CP, Leonhart R, Rahm B., Planning abilities and chess: a comparison of chess and non-chess players on the Tower of London task. Br J Psychol. 2006 Aug;97(Pt 3):299-311
- Unterrainer JM, Kaller CP, Leonhart R, Rahm B.Revising superior planning performance in chess players: the impact of time restriction and motivation aspects. Am J Psychol. 2011 Summer;124(2):213-25
- Frontal Lobe Function in Chess Players. http://acta.tums.ac.ir/files/journals/1/articles/4501/public/4501-4858-1-PB.p
- Ten big brain benefits of playing chess. http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/10-big-brain-benefits-of-playing-chess