I noticed that a lot of chess experts state or imply that teaching kids to play chess is good for them. I wonder if there have been any reliable studies of this (As in, randomized controlled trials)? I wouldn't be at all surprised if chess-playing kids had higher IQs, but would there be any causation behind this correlation?
I believe so. From my personal experience, I found learning chess helped me to concentrate on something for a longer time. It also helped me with my memory specially when it comes to recognizing a pattern. Surprisingly I found chess to be helpful for my math skills, like I can calculate 3-4 lines earlier before I have reached that line while solving a math which I guess the benefit you get from practicing chess calculation. And most of all chess enables me to think clearly for solving any problem,. I believe all these qualities are components of a smart person. But that's also true that it can't be taken for granted.
This is somewhat of a tricky one because this answer is No , Yes and Maybe.
Chess doesn't necessarily make you smarter and there is significant research on the topic. The most clinical being "Your Move: Thee effect of chess on mathematics test scored"
They found that there was an improvement in mathematic scores when one in four weekly mathematic lessons were based on chess learning material.
The theorized reason behind this is due to training of of abilities in reasoning allowing for transference of concepts towards mathematical principals.
Other studies on the topic all generally concluded similar results.
That chess DOESN'T necessarily make you smarter.
I don't believe that chess in of itself makes you inherently smarter. It does however help develop and reinforce skills in Fluid Reasoning, Memory, Problem Solving and Processing Speed. These skills are often used as a determination of cognitive ability / intelligence.
In summary playing chess doesn't make you smarter. It does however re-enforce the required skills for cognitive processing which is often utilized as a measure of intelligence. Training your Brain.
I believe that there are studies coming to both positive and negative conclusions. I suspect that it depends strongly on the manner of teaching. A child who has merely been taught the moves and is able to play a legally correct game may not have have gained very much in other areas, but if the teacher is skilled (at chess and at teaching) then almost any game of chess is full of "teachable moments" in great variety. Although not every child may be equally responsive the possibilities are endless.