Chess: from school to hospital to personal development

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Chess has definitely freed itself from this image of pure entertainment to become a vector of personal development, education, acquisition of new cognitive skills and sometimes even fine motor rehabilitation.

Failure and personal development


Regarded as “The King of Games“, the game of chess is also a vector of personal development and self-confidence. It teaches us to take responsibility for our mistakes, to bounce back after a failure, to visualize the decision-making process and its consequences, to concentrate, etc.
The chessboard and its 64 squares are a simulation of life with its ups and downs. We make mistakes about our attack, defense, strategy, move, sacrifice… to build an algorithm of success… while keeping in mind that failure is possible. We play it down in a context of free will. It’s simply fascinating!

Moreover, the impact of chess games in the prevention of neurological diseases related to old age is the subject of intense research by the scientific community. Also, chess is widely used in rehabilitation to help patients regain fine motor skills. So you know what you have to do: buy a chess set!

Chess at school: initiatives are multiplying


The game of chess has long moved beyond the playful and entertaining aspect of establishing itself as an intuitive and fun educational tool. Studies all attest to the impact of chess in the intellectual development of young people. It also maintains cognitive performance in elderly people. It should also be noted that failures are very often used in cognitive psychology studies and work related to artificial intelligence (AI).

Moreover, many governments, mainly in the Scandinavian countries, in Hungary where the practice is deeply rooted and in India, have introduced failure into the school curriculum not as an extracurricular practice, but as a pedagogical tool in mathematics, logic and even language learning. In New York for example, the association “Chess in the schools” has launched a program to help schools with chess training for teachers. There is no lack of experiences in this direction in France :

  • 25,000 students have benefited from a primary school chess program in Corsica ;
  • The foundation “L’échiquier de la réussite” has launched dozens of chess learning projects with children in difficulty in Lille, Trappe, Mantes-la-Jolie, Reunion Island, etc.
  • The Ministry of National Education launched the circular “Introduction of chess at school” in January 2012 as a tool for cognitive and pedagogical development and a vector for school valorization.


In the sources cited by the Ministry of National Education in its circular, there are several field studies that have demonstrated the interest of failures for the cognitive development of children:

  • 50% improvement in children’s ability to concentrate;
  • Improved memory capacity by 22%, including for seniors ;
  • Improved problem-solving ability by 32% compared to children who do not play regularly.
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