Check to school failure

niño ajedrezPawn to King Four. Pablo moves a piece and there’s no turning back. That’s one of the many movements with which he could have started the game. He is so concentrated that he doesn’t notice the people moving around expectantly and enjoying this exciting strategy game.

And every time he plays this sport since he was 4 years old, he is not aware of the many beneficial effects it is having on him, effects which have been already explained several times by diverse media and on which we insist again following the latest scientific discoveries.

From an intellectual point of view, it has been proved that playing chess for several months increases intelligence quotient, facilitates concentration (not only in hyperactive children with attention deficit as has been recently discovered), and strengthens memory. It also improves their creativity, their logical thinking and their intuition, what will help them in the future to find solutions for everyday problems.

From an emotional point of view, it develops important qualities for success such as emotional intelligence by controlling impulsivity or favouring empathy. It also teaches planning and the ability to make decisions. This can also be extrapolated to any area of ​​life, because as they make decisions they realize that they are responsible for their own actions and that they must accept the consequences. Besides, it generates self-esteem and confidence in themselves

And last but not least, it develops, from a human point of view, some qualities that children will need in their adult lives together with the emotional ones, as ethics, because if you want to play you must respect the rules, the result and the opponents. It promotes honesty, integrity and the desire for self-personal improvement in the player and these are qualities that all those who, even being children, aspire to be in some position of power or leadership should have, while we are only able to play chess. It also helps to know how to lose, to accept defeat, and to overcome the frustrations and setbacks that they will find in everyday life while growing up as children and later as adults.

Chess qualities for children are so well-known and positive that, even 15 years ago, Unesco  recommended its introduction in the curricula of primary and secondary schools, and some schools have already introduced as a compulsory subject.

Therefore, as a pediatrician and former chess player I highly recommend to promote such a complete game among our children, showing them that there is an alternative or complementary game to modern videogames that, in addition to offering the benefits indicated above, can help to prevent diseases in the future, such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As you can see, chess is useful even from a medical point of view.

Published on 23 March 2013 in Diario Informacion of Alicante.