What are possible real world benefits to be gained by playing chess? Has this been studied?

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    You could read (if you can somehow read German) about the German school initiative "Chess instead of Math"; benefits are outlined by their proponents (and doubted by their critics). Aug 28, 2022 at 7:09
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    On the one hand , chess trains many things important also in real life : concentration , patience etc. On the other hand , chess is not important enough to spend much time with it unless one is good enough to become a master.
    – Peter
    Oct 11, 2022 at 18:08
  • 2
    I benefit by making friends...and crushing them! Nov 10, 2022 at 21:59

5 Answers 5


I think people rapidly bring up the intellectual aspect of the game -- the obvious benefits of studying and improving which should be applicable in other areas, also.

But what is very clear to me, having played as youngster in the days where unbelievably I was able to check into a hotel without even a driver's license and even fly to another city -- my understanding is that an unaccompanied minor would have trouble today doing this -- is how valuable not just learning how to travel at a young age but much more useful was being 15 and interacting with much older people in an adult manner.

Chess provides one of the few situations where people of extremely diverse backgrounds learn to deal with each other in a civilized way.

Without chess, the shocks I experienced upon leaving college to enter the workforce would have been much harder to deal with. Many grads have only dealt with people their own age, professors, and of course their older adult relatives -- a kid who had been to chess tournaments had interacted with multiple adults probably and not always in simply a friendly manner -- there are occasionally problems that anyone who has played live chess would know what I mean -- there are misunderstandings, arguments, even rare fights and knowing how to deal like an adult with such issues means that when they are later encountered at, for example, work, you are at least not completely intimidated.


If you can read French, the former French minister, deputy and mayor of Lyon Michel Noir has written a thesis on exactly that subject in 2002. It is available here.

Its title is :

Le développement des habiletés cognitives de l’enfant par la pratique du jeu d’échecs : essai de modélisation d’une didactique du transfert.

Tentative translation :

Development of children's cognitive capabilities by chess practice : an attempt at modeling a didactic of transfer.

Even if you don't read French, its extensive and mostly english-based (but 20 years old) bibliography might be helpful.

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    Thesis reference is a great work. Thanks for the information. I will also go through it
    – ShadYantra
    Nov 14, 2022 at 7:54

The common answers to benefits of [insert mental exercise here] include patience, concentration, critical thinking, reduced Alzheimer's risk, etc.

But anecdotally, good chess players are usually viewed as having a higher mental intelligence by the general public, at least in the US (versus, say Rubik's speedcubers). This can be used to your benefit in various social encounters. I've heard cases where National Masters are preferred for non-chess related job openings over other applicants because of this positive stereotype.

Note that I am not arguing that good chess players have higher mental intelligence, only that American society tends to view chess players that way.

  • The question might not lend itself to many in-depth quantitative studies, and so to cite such could be a challenge; given that, there might be such instances as you've named (particularly any doctors re. Alzheimer's) that you could cite with links in your answer. This would improve the answer. Nov 8, 2022 at 19:26
  • Correlation is not causation. These "good chess players" are the ones whom we observe playing chess, and therefore are good enough to take opportunities to play it in public with each other. Even if they really do have a higher mental intelligence than the rest of the general public, this might be because a greater proportion of such people (than the rest of us) get good enough at chess to take such opportunities.
    – Rosie F
    Nov 11, 2022 at 6:26

From my own perspective, and nothing more:

Chess teaches studying, patience, strategy, adaptation, spatial relations, perseverance, and more.


Chess or its variants play a major role in rational thinking and brain excercise.

Do a proper physical aerobic excercises and Dhyan Yog (meditation), and take seasonal fruits. It will help you a lot in improving the health and personality.

Play chess and even its variants as a passion and understand the importance of all these pieces in real life. War is the last resort but equat these pieces with problematic entities in life. This can help to understand the meaning and purpose of planning and team management.

Every entity around us holds importance and we should respect this principle.

Chess evolved from Dashpada and new rules are added. It is becoming popular is Asia and even in Africa. Kids are getting benefitted.

Becoming GMs are very very rare and they are very special talented people. We all canot become GMs but can learn from implicit values from this game.


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