Benefits of Playing Chess

As a tournament chess player, I would like to share with you the benefits playing chess and perhaps getting involved in tournament chess.

Benefits of Playing ChessImage source: http://www.demotix.com/news/477940/chess-tournament-gambol#media-477828

*As a side-note, if you're ever curious about my current USCF rating, you can click on my name and see in my profile. At the time of writing this myTake, I am rated 1427 (about average within tournament players, if you're curious).

Gain Another Perspective on Life


Image source: https://coachingcultureca.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/shifting-from-me-to-we-how-to-be-open-to-the-perspectives-of-others/

Many of the ideas and principles you learn in chess can be applied in other area's of life and you'll be able to make connections between what goes on over the chess board and what happens in real life. For example, you may better understand why certain things feel better or worse than other things, why things happen, and again be able to pinpoint similar life principles. Josh Waitzkin has made some very insightful statements throughout his teaching material in Chesmaster: Grandmaster Editoin (PC) and his book, The Art of Learning.

Develop Better Analytical and Planning Skills


Image source: http://analytical-skills.amanet.org/

Chess is a lot about analyzing positions and what the imbalances are (i.e. pawn structure, initiative, material, king safety, development, space, etc) and planning on the basis of those nuances. As I discussed in the previous benefit, you can apply these skills in life as well. It can impove the quality of your decision-making and thoughtfulness. In some cases, this isn't exactly a quality you want to abuse and be careful of overthinking (I myself suffer from this a lot), but when applied in moderation, it can be very effective.

Meet People With Similar Interests and Become a Part of a Community


Image source: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/today/archive/archive_2004/today04-05-24.html

No, I don't mean single women or men, although you may - you never know. I am primarily talking about the general chess community. I've found that chess players are usually pretty nice and welcoming people. As always, meeting people with similar interests is always a huge bonus. You will likely meet some great and interesting people at your local chess club.

Divert Yourself From Life Stress


Image source: http://whyamisuffocating.blogspot.com/2015/09/life-stress-ourselves.html

Anyone knows that after a certain point in adolescence, life is never the same as it used to be when we were little children. Now we have all sorts of things to worry about like our future, love life, careers, complicated interpersonal relationships, "being attractive", self-improvement, and much more. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and those are important aspects of life that you should work at. However, whenever you're feeling mentally or emotionally exhausted and need a break from life's pressures, chess can truly be a great psychological refreshment. It's like a world of its own. Don't get carried away and shut yourself out from life though (I've made that mistake before myself), because eventually life will hit you and you'll be back to square one and out of shape.

Possession of a Unique Interest


Image source: http://www.themahjongshop.com/product/TK4BW6BN/Professional-Tournament-Chess-Set-Package-in-Black-ivory---Brown.html

Not many people play chess. I personally only know one other chess player on GAG. It's something you can really own and call one of your personal hobbies or interests in many communities. You kind of feel like a boss having knowledge of an area that most people don't know two shits about (no offense to them).

Confidence


Image source: http://www.centeronline.org/knowledge/article.cfm%3FID%3D992%26amp%3B

This is sort of the result of the last two benefits combined. Because of this unique interest of yours and the tranquility you will experience, you'll feel better about yourself, at least a little bit. Taking up chess is a form of self-improvement. You're expanding your interests, becoming a more interesting person, and adding another perspective to your life. It's also, again, something to fall back on if you're down in the dumps or if things aren't going the way they you want them. I'd say, this is one of the best mental distractions that the recently heartbroken can employ. Chess requires a lot of thought and immersion. If you're at the point after a breakup where you have at least enough strength to occasoinally think about something else, and even if you don't, this is something to consider.

Reduction in Risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia


Image source: http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-support-help.asp

Keeping your brain mentally stiumlated can slow and even prevent the progress of Alzheimer's and dementia. By keeping it active and engaged, you prevent the brain from losing its power. The brain is like a muscle, new research has found. The more you exercise it, work it, and tone it, the better it will perform and the longer it will "stay good", so to speak. This is a good example of "use it or lose it".

If you're interested, I recommend the first product you get is Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition, if you can, and go through Josh Waitzkin's tutorials, and/or sign up on chess.com and perhaps ask on the forums where you should start. They'll probably tell you at first to just train your tactics by solving puzzles and focus mostly on that (either by purchasing a tactics workbook or going on ChessTempo). You'll also want to learn basic strategic ideas, especially opening principles, and study endgames (Silman's Complete Endgame Course is great for all levels from total beginners to National Masters - a book I personally own). Most imporantly, join a chess club. That will get you the well-needed experience to become accustomed to playing over-the-board; at home, play games online. And you can take it from there.


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What Girls Said 3

  • It's true - smart people play chess, and it's a difficult game to play.
    Congrats on your achievements, and bonne chance in the the future tourneys. :)

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  • Never really played before. Maybe once or twice at elementary school but had no idea about what I was doing. Hopefully I can meet someone who can teach me. Cool take!

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  • I love your mytake!! I also love playing chess, although i don't play in tournaments. I started playing when i suffered from panic attacks. I had a chess app on my mobile. Everytime i felt a panic attack coming on i played chess on my app. I initially used it as a distraction to help me combat my panic attacks. It really did help!

    I don't suffer from panic attacks now, but i do play chess with friends, family and against the computer on my chess games

    Good luck in your future tournaments. I would love to watch a live tournament 😊

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What Guys Said 17

  • When i was at the uni, one year I paid my bar bill by playing chess. :D

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  • I had one of those electronic chess sets that had AI built in... I was never great at chess but I was able to hang with most ppl! 8-)

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  • I currently play at around 900-1100 :P we should play some time, i got the chess app by chess. com
    my username: Mr_Penguin_Sir

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  • I would love to play chess OTB but I just can't find opponents at my (extremely low) level of skill.

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  • It makes me look smart if I can manage to win. But I really just make random moves and hope for the best.

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  • Great take, I was never in a community of players but I enjoyed schooling people.

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  • Great game. It's not hard to learn. I recommend it.

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  • My friend, who is a high level chess player, would beat me every single time when we were little. he could now beat me with his eyes closed so I stayed away from the game. though maybe I'll give it another go.

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  • Nice, what's your rating?

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    • Oh, 1427 I saw. I'm about 1700-1800 or somewhere in that range

  • I used to be obsessed with chess. When I was in third grade, I beat a fifth grader to become the first school chess champion which was a pretty big deal lol. And then when I got a couple of years older I would play with high school students, and then grown men in a local organization.

    But then I found tabletop wargaming when I was 12 or 13 and I don't think I've touched chess more than like twice since then lol.

    But yeah, I think more kids should be introduced to it. I feel like it's harder to get into when you're an adult, especially if your ego can't handle getting beat by kids.

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    • Also, I have found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to be similarly stimulating. It's kind of like a physical version of chess. You have to constantly react and plan ahead based on what your opponent does.

  • Great take I like chess though I am not good at it.

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  • i like it, and i love chess it's kings game :)

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  • I like chess and played in a blitz tournament a month ago. Got trashed even by a 8 year old boy. So i will never play in such a strong tournament.

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    • Yep, that can happen the first time you play in real life. I remember getting beat up in a casual game againdt a 1650 the first time I played at a real club.

      And some of us just do better standard time controls than blitz, like myself.

    • On online chess my standard rating is in 1600s and blitz lower. I think the tournament guys I was playing against were near 2000.

  • anyone who can't play chess has crazy issues.

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  • This is basically the merits of any competitive game.

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  • 2043. Stick with it. It actually changed my life and led me to my current job. And the mental conditioning is good.

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    • Oh wow - 2043. That's really good. Congratulations on reaching Expert! And definitely, the mental conditioning is very beneficial.

    • Show All
    • Where do you work if I may ask?

    • @guitar94
      I work for a printing company. But I got a job working for a chess magazine, (and then a different chess magazine) which allowed me to learn photoshop which lead to the job I've had for the last 15 years. People who are good at chess are supposed to make good Air Traffic Controllers too.

  • I tried playing chess, and it's a hard game. Also, I feel it's like tic-tac-toe, in the way, that if you get the right first move and don't screw up, then you basically won.
    That can be said for any game, really.

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