Chess is an all-inclusive activity in that it can be enjoyed by individuals of any age, racial or ethnic background, socioeconomic status, or gender. Because of this, a significant benefit of chess is that it provides individuals with the opportunity to create a diverse network of social contacts based on a common interest. Exposure to people of different cultures, generations, and backgrounds can be of great social and educational benefit to any individual, but especially to youth who may not otherwise be afforded the opportunity to intermingle with such a diverse group.
Additionally, as chess involves constant exchange between individuals, it allows individuals the chance to practice and enhance social interaction skills. By observation and active participation in the game, individuals are able to develop their understanding of the social world over time.
When individuals compete together as chess teams against other teams, chess can foster teamwork skills and if the team is school-based, a sense of school spirit and pride. Chess can also teach sportsmanship, allowing students to understand the importance of learning from past defeat, winning graciously, and persevering diligently in the face of impending defeat.
Perhaps most significant of all is that participation in chess fosters the development of new friendships and strong interpersonal bonds.
Because no chess game ever repeats itself, chess is always a challenging, entertaining, and amusing activity which an individual can participate in throughout the life span. Simply put, in addition to all of the aforementioned benefits, chess is fun.
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Ferguson, R.C. (1995, January). Chess in Education Research Summary: Paper Presented at the Chess in Education A Wise Move Conference, Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York, NY.
Ferguson, R.C. Teacher’s Guide: Research and Benefits. USA Junior Chess and Olympics Curriculum, Section B, pp. 1-11. Retrieved August 5, 2005, from Chess for the Quad Cities Web site: http://www.quadcitychess.com/benefits_of_chess.html
Meyers, J. (2005). Why Offer Chess in Schools? Retrieved August 5, 2005 from About Chess Web site: http://chess.about.com/library/weekly/aa05a08a.htm