Does Playing Online Chess Make You Smarter?

Researchers in Tübingen, Germany conducted a survey of expert and amateur chess players. The study had various stages during which the participants were examined using an MRI scanner. The first round was recognition and identification of geometrical objects. The results showed no dissimilarity amongst the two categories. Further rounds consisted of pattern identification and position remembrance. The experts were seen to perform remarkably better than any other people. The study concluded with the outcome that playing chess may not have an impact on what you see, but does have an influence on how the visual information is processed and used.

The biological aspect of the findings of the study suggested that chess can lead to the brain shrinking in size. It is understandably alarming thought, but the fact is that the brain actually gets more condensed. And that is actually a good thing. Localized shrinkage is an indication of improved brain activity in the area, and significantly boosts cognitive skills. So, chess not only bolsters mental acuity, but also improves problem-solving skills, understanding cause-and-effect, and anticipating events. Chess is not meant just for smart people, it is the path to becoming smart.

Playing chess with a friend in the park is always a good way to socialize and catch up. But it can be distracting, and you will find it difficult to concentrate on the game in public. In more private settings, there are still limitations of people you can play against particularly if you cannot find someone of a similar skill level. Playing online is a smart alternative in this case. You can play at any time you want, and there is no shortage of people to play against. You can also play against an AI opponent should you need to practice moves before trying them out against a real person.

Chess helps you streamline your thoughts and correctly anticipate those of other people. Every move in a game of chess is planned and executed keeping in mind how the opponent may counter it. Thinking before you act leaves little scope of committing a mistake, a skill that translates well into other aspects of life. Yet another characteristic that evolves over time is the ability to approach any problem or challenge with a creative approach.

Chess also teaches people other skills like emotional control, patience, humility, and self-discipline. These skills may not seem integral to playing a game successfully but along with intelligence, they form the foundation of a successful life.