Did you know that when playing chess experts there is an area of the brain connected to facial recognition? In fact, it is the area that analyzes spatial relationships. Playing chess activates this area because it requires an understanding of the spatial relationships between the pieces.
It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced or casual player. In both cases, the areas of the brain responsible for spatial relationships are activated. But it has been shown that in experienced players these areas are activated even with the sole vision of the chessboard and the pieces arranged in the starting position.
Curiosity aside, the benefits offered by chess are many and important. In the following lines we present some of them although science continues to investigate and there are probably many others.
Growth of dendrites
Dendrites are the branched extensions of neurons. They deal with conducting neuronal signals between neurons. The more their growth is stimulated, the more intense is the reception and sending of signals.
Learning to play chess and doing it regularly stimulates the growth of dendrites. This, in turn, increases the speed of neural communication. In other words, it increases the level of processing and improves cognitive performance.
Both brain hemispheres train
The left hemisphere also deals with object recognition. The right hemisphere, on the other hand, of the recognition of the patterns during the game.
Playing chess, following the rules and the technique forces the player to use both brain hemispheres. Therefore, regular practice helps to develop both hemispheres.
Playing chess prevents Alzheimer’s
The Albert Einstein School of Medicine of Yeshiva University conducted a study whose results provide very important data regarding the habit of playing chess. As a mental exercise, it prevents cognitive decline.
Playing chess appears to significantly reduce the risk of dementia and also combat its symptoms. This could also apply to ailments such as depression and anxiety.
Helps treat schizophrenia
The Center for Cognitive Neuroscience in Bron, France has set up daily chess meetings for people with schizophrenia. This led to an improvement in the patients’ conditions compared to those excluded from the play program. Specifically, processes such as attention and reasoning have improved.
Improve thinking and problem-solving skills in children
Children who start playing chess at an early age seem to improve their problem-solving skills. There was also an improvement in reading and math scores.
After all, for a child, chess can be seen as a great puzzle to be solved. It requires constant changes of strategy, which must adapt to the opponent’s movements.
Playing chess increases self-confidence
Chess also has a big impact on self-esteem. Regardless of whether you win or lose, playing chess lends itself to analyzing games and understanding where you went wrong. This provides a lot of information about ourselves.
Practice helps to improve as chess players: there comes a time when the strategy game becomes really enjoyable, and it will make us feel much more comfortable and confident. This greatly increases the level of mental strength and self-confidence.
Strengthen your planning and forecasting skills
Playing chess requires self-control and planning skills. These abilities develop in the prefrontal cortex, one of the areas of the brain that develops later.
Children and teenagers benefit from this strategy game mainly because it helps them develop this part of the brain. It is an excellent method that will help them, as adults, make decisions in many aspects of their life.
Playing chess during rehabilitation
People recovering from a stroke, or any other physically debilitating problem, can greatly benefit from playing chess regularly.
Helps improve cognitive and motor skills. Communication skills too. It stimulates deep concentration and helps fight anxiety.
A psychological duel
In reality, playing chess is a psychological duel that requires stamina, the will to win, tenacity, combat readiness and a lot of resilience. If you don’t play chess regularly, you may want to think again after looking at this data. Are you ready for the challenge?