As the world watched 18-year-old Indian Chess Prodigy R Praggnanandhaa calmly play in the FIDE World Cup chess final on August 23rd, He was inspired by the dreams of many parents who would like the children of their family members to start taking the game seriously. Chess. The introduction of chess as a pastime can bring many benefits, including increasing cognitive skills, logical thinking, and numerous other benefits. It was initially an acquired pastime to Praggnaanandhaa and his sibling R Vaishali, now an international master who has turned them into Chess celebrities worldwide.
Chess was just one of numerous games taught to Daakshin Arun (13) from Chennai when he was six. Dakshin has been ranked as the most popular player of his age group in India. “I used to play chess with him regularly and when I realized that he had developed his interest in the game, I put him under a coach for professional guidance,” Says his father, Arun, who quit his job as a professor to care for his son and accompany Daakshin to tournaments all over the globe.
Starting chess early
Engaging a child’s brain and being active is essential for a child’s development. Playing games such as chess from the age of young allows them to think, strategize, and make decisions, as well as act, which boosts brain ability, according to Dr Sameer Sadawarte, who is the head of neonatology and pediatrics at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai. “The game requires them to think about the next move their opponent is planning and anticipate all possibilities of executing it, which requires lots of focus and perseverance. This assists in creating new connections within the brain and helps strengthen these connections. This is an essential aspect of the development and growth of children. The younger they get more flexible, the better they will be,” he says.
Grandmaster M. S. Thejkumar says that parents can introduce chess games to their children from four to five years old, and it can help them improve their memory. “When one plays a chess game, one must be able to recall many variations and plan accordingly. This assists in developing their minds,” he says. Thejkumar introduced the chess game to his son this year when he was five, and he frequently plays with him.
Chess and IQ
Chess can be a method to enhance one’s imagination, visual judgment, intelligence, Memory, Quotient, and ability to calculate, according to Aruna Dinakara, who is a Bengaluru-based freelance chess coach. He claims that playing chess increases confidence because they can compete with their minds, and if they win, their confidence and self-esteem improve.
Chess is among the more complex games that require advanced thinking skills. Losing and winning games teach the players to be sportsmanlike. It’s essential to possess a logical and strategic mind when playing chess. “When kids play games like chess, which requires long-term thinking, strategies, and planning, their ability to solve problems improves. Engaging in it on a regular regularly will improve the eye and brain coordination,” Dinakara, who quit his job with an IT firm to pursue his passion of teaching the game of chess.
Chess is an excellent game for kids.
Arun claims that playing chess has helped his son Daakshin to develop his grasping skills. “We noticed a large changes in his academics when compared with others that were his age. He was able to take shorter time to comprehend and read the subject matter,” he said.
The ability to think required by chess is comparable to the mathematical thinking process, and those who play chess are more successful in the subject and can master it, according to Dr. Sadawarte.
Children who play chess frequently tend to be more educated than children of the same age. Reading a book once can be enough to keep it in mind for a long time for players who play chess, claims Thejkumar. “Many Chess players tend to be among the top in their classes. Chess can have a massive positive effect on academics,” the expert says.
Parents shouldn’t oblige their children to play the game and should let them play freely without thinking about the outcome, said Thejkumar. “One should enjoy playing without expectations. The results will be evident how they think and act in the long run,” he said.
Chess is not just intended for children but is equally suitable for adults. “We recommend adults, especially elderly to play games like chess to improve their memory,” said Dr. Sadawarte.
Chess, but not in a virtual way.
Parents should take the time to play with their children, if not regularly or even during weekends, according to Dr. Sadawarte. “Playing with a physical chessboard creates bonding and connection. The same game played on a digital spaces can have detrimental consequences for children, from impairing their eyes, to behavioral changes that can cause the addiction to gadgets,” he said. He also advised that one could always grab a chessboard to gift to a child and then help them learn what to do.
Arun said the chess game has helped keep his children from distractions and unproductive activities. “They do not watch TV, play with mobile phones or play video games. Daakshin plays many other games, but he’s more interested in and enjoys playing chess.” he stated.
Dinakara argues that the game of chess can be a beneficial distraction and that any activity done excessively could be better. “When parents notice that their child is really addicted to a game, they need to seek professional guidance to help them walk on the right path,” Dinakara explained.
The introduction of chess as a pastime from a young age aids in the development and growth of children. Chess is an excellent game for children to play in developing their brains as well as concentration and memory, and it also builds confidence and self-esteem. It’s a great way to get away from the online world.