There is a common perception that chess is a complicated game. This is not true. Each piece does have different moves which it can make, but once these are known, then playing chess can be enjoyed by anyone and at any level of ability and experience.

And the benefits of playing chess do not stop at just being able to win more games. Some of the advantages that chess also bring to children (and adults) are transferable to many other aspects of life:

1. Concentration

There are a lot of pieces on a chess board (16 pieces each, if you were not already aware!) and your opponent will be trying to attack your pieces with them. You’ll need to look at every piece and ensure that it is not able to gain an advantage, which requires a lot of thought after every move.

Chess is a great way to improve your concentration for a focused period of time. Any lapse in concentration may lead to Game Over.

2. Planning ahead

Forming a strategy is a fundamental part of improving your chess. You can only move one piece at a time, so you’ll need to think about which move to make in the right order. Choosing the correct move order can put you on the front foot, attacking your opponent, and forcing them to make a defending move when it is their turn.

Chess has been compared to a battle. The best strategy may not be to just charge forward at your enemy. You will usually be better off by positioning pieces to defend before you attack.

3. Memory

As you play more chess games, players will begin to become aware of repeated positions that occur during games. The most common, and most useful to know, are Openings and Tactics. Being able to remember what to do to attack or defend when in these positions will stand any player in better stead when seeing these positions in the next game.

4. Handling pressure

Walking into a chess playing hall will bring a mixture of emotions. It will be very different to playing in fairly relaxed soundings at home. We like to think that children will feel some excitement, and there may also be some nerves. We all want to do well, and most of us do not  enjoy losing. This brings a certain amount of pressure, even if it is self-imposed. This is healthy, natural and demonstrates that we care about how well we play.

The chess playing hall resembles that of exam hall. Tables and chairs are neatly set out in rows, and once games begin there is silence during the games. This can only help children when they first have to face exam conditions at school.