Do you find chess complicated? Well, that's okay because it is a strategic game. But then why play chess in the first place?

Chess games for the brain are mentally conducive, like all those sports activities you do for your body. Moreover, it will have you fill your time doing something that will improve your life.

By imploying your brain positively, you can do wonders for your cognitive health. And it is okay if you're unaware of how to play chess; the learning process is also great for the brain.

Keep reading as we identify the reasons to play chess and how to go about the process:

The black chess pieces seated on the board
There are numerous benefits of chess. It is one of the most healthy pass times. The game is all about tactics and rules. So make sure you are well-versed before you pick a challenge (Source: Unsplash)
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Why Play Chess?

Before we begin to make time in our busy schedules for a specific activity, we require convincing reasoning to do so.

For example, what are the benefits of playing chess? Is chess good for the brain? No need to worry; we've got the answers:

Develops Perspective

Chess will teach to interpret the opponent's next move. And with this anticipation, you can formulate your strategies.

This phenomenon in science is known as the "theory of mind." Hence, this ability will help you make better social relationships and develop perspective.

Improves Memory

The game is all about memorizing the way different chess pieces move. Therefore, experienced chess players are known to have better auditory memory.

Research also suggests that chess players are better visual thinkers as they adapt to perceived patterns.

Deepens Focus

Athletes, performers, and artists can retain focus on a subject for long durations. This is because they tend to forget about the world around them in the heat of the moment.

Consequently, this is the state of flow when the theta waves in the brain heighten. Furthermore, research shows that a similar pattern is reflected in the human mind when playing chess.

Elevates Creativity

Children and adults who have regular exposure to chessboards are known to exhibit heightened creative thinking and divergence.

For example, a test on kids suggested that the chess players identified alternatives and interpreted patterns better.

Boosts Planning Skills

Silent contemplations are a part of the chess game. The careful planning and analysis behind each move against your opponent build cognitive health and planning skills. However, they may take more time to make a good decision.

Increases Self-Awareness

Chess has also helped people develop healthy relationships. How one reacts to stress is a crucial determinant of knowing them. Hence, chess is often used as a tool by therapists and counselors.

Protects Against Dementia

Chess demands complex mental flexibility. Such use of the brain can significantly alter the chances of developing Dementia as an adult.

The nature of chess promotes:

  • Strategy evaluation
  • Memory use
  • Visual analysis

Therefore, it will delay or eliminate cognitive decline.

Reduces Panic Attack Symptoms

Chess is known to help those suffering from regular panic attacks. For example, research shows that the chess app has helped a panic attack patient from diving deeper into their depressive hole.

How To Play Chess?

Now that you know of the numerous advantages of playing chess, you may want to learn how to play it. Well, it's a mind game, and simply memorizing the process will not do you any good.

Instead, you must consistently practice and dedicate a chunk of your time to it. Here are seven steps you should practice to become a good chess player:

1. Set Up The Chess Board

The first step is to layout the chessboard so that each player gets a light color square (white square) on the bottom of the right side.

Next, chess pieces have to be arranged. These pieces are known as:

  • Pawns: make up the second row, also known as rank
  • Rooks: are positioned in the corners
  • Knights: go next to rooks
  • Bishop: go next to knights
  • King
  • Queen

Ultimately, the queen is placed on the matching colors (the black queen is placed on black boxes while the white queen goes on the white ones). Then, finally, the king is put on the remaining square spaces.

2. Learn To Move The Pieces

All these chess pieces move within their specifications. Most of them wouldn't even move across the other pieces, just like they won't move onto a square with the same piece.

However, the knight can jump over the others. And the others can jump onto opponent pieces to capture space.

Doing so is the ultimate goal; pieces need to move around to capture other pieces. The goal is also to defend your pieces, controlling the most vital squares on the chessboard.

The important points to note here are:

  • The king is the most crucial piece; It can move one square in any direction
  • When the king is attacked, this is called check. Though, a king can never put himself into check
  • The queen has great liberty to move in any direction until she meets her counterpart
  • The rook can not move diagonally; they are great at working together
  • A bishop can only move diagonally. However, if it begins from a dark color, it has to stick with the same
  • The knights move in an L shape
  • Pawn moves forward but capture areas diagonally. Thus, they may move two squares the first time, but one square with every next move
  • Pawns can never capture backward, nor can they catch what lays right in front of them
The black and the white knights face each other
Knights have a significant influence over the game. They can capture major pieces like the opponent's king and queen. Practice the game and find the answer to the question, does chess make you smarter? (Source: Unsplash)

3. Discover The Special Rules

Some rules in the game may not make sense to you at first. However, you will gradually understand that they make the game increasingly enjoyable.

  • If a pawn reaches the other side of the chessboard, it evolves to replicate any other chess piece
  • If the pawn lands on the opponents' pawn by moving two squares the first time, it can capture the chess piece. However, this movement has to be made immediately
  • Castling is about putting your king to safety and getting the rook into the game, simultaneously with one move. However, for castling, it must be the kings' and the rooks' first move. Secondly, the king must not pass through a check

4. Learn Who Makes The First Move

The holder of the white chess pieces moves first. Hence, choosing who gets white is an essential part of the game. Mostly, players may flip a coin to decide. The black then follows by taking the next move.

In fact, the white player takes this advantage on every move until the end of the game. This is a highly contentious affair in competitive tournaments.

5. Check Out The Rules On How To Win

The game can end in various ways; by resignation, by checkmate, or by forfeit. However, the purpose of the match remains to checkmate the opponent.

There are three ways of going about this: to block the check with any other piece, move out of the way, or capture the piece that threatens the king.

Resultantly, if the king remains unable to escape the checkmate, the game is over. Such a situation can occur several times initially as the game begins. A fool mate is also probable.

Moreover, you can always end the game with a draw. Here is how:

  • The game reaches a stalemate where one player withdraws from the match
  • The number of chess pieces on the board is not enough to checkmate
  • The exact position repeats thrice
  • If there are five consecutive moves with no captures or pawn movements
Chess pieces settled on the chessboard
Choosing your opponent carefully is an integral part of the game, especially if you're still learning. If you're still asking yourself, what are the benefits of chess, a strong opponent will teach you soon. Emulate their playing style, and you will find yourself benefitting from the advantages of playing this fascinating sport (Source: Pixabay)

6. Study The Basic Strategies

The four basic strategies to carefully pull in a chess match are:

  • Don't Give Pieces Away: Every chess piece is valuable. And it's essential to have enough pieces to checkmate the competitor's king. The best way to assess your position in the game and to keep track of your pieces is to assign value. The pawn can be worth one, a knight worth 3, a rook worth 5, a bishop worth 3, a queen worth 9, and a king infinite
  • Protect Your King: Work towards bringing your king in the safe zone, that is, around the corners. If you choose to castle, do it as quickly as possible. Don't get too caught up with trying to checkmate the opposition; keep hold of your king
  • Use All Of Your Chess Pieces: Sitting back in the first row wouldn't help you win. Hence, work towards match development and attack the opponent's king. Having one or two pieces to attack will not work if your opponent is a strong player
  • Control The Center Of The Chessboard: You can keep the chessboard center in control with your pawns and other chess pieces. If you establish control in this area, you will move more freely, making the opponent fall for the trap

7. Practice Playing Lots Of Games

The only way to do better at the game is to spend time practicing it. This doesn't matter if you're playing online, with friends, or with family; play the game a lot to bring significant improvement.

Can Chess Be Categorized As An Art?

Opinions on whether chess must be categorized as an art, science, or game vary. However, we must observe how chess works before classifying it.

Chess is all about rules. The different kinds of moves drive the game. To learn these moves and to keep your opponent in check is the idea behind chess. Hence, chess could be concluded as a game or sport.

However, shows and movies on chess depict it as a kind of 'finger ballet,' where two competing dancers trade verbal blows as their pieces pirouette across one another.

This is also how most people perceive two warring professional players during a game.

Fortunately, free will dictates that you can perceive the game however you like, as long as you end up winning!

Looking Forward To Learning Chess?

So, does chess make you smarter? Indeed it does.

Learn chess now to avail the great benefits of the game and invest time in productive activity. Remember, it isn't as difficult as it may seem.

With a professional private tutor from Superprof, you can enhance your learning progress and play better than pro players within no time.

Our teachers are accomplished and experienced. They will teach you the art of formulating strategies to beat any opponent.

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