Should chess be taught in schools?

Chess players are smarter – DNA or training?


Interesting article from the American Council of Science and Health …

A group of researchers examined people who do and do not play chess.

The question: are chess players smarter than non-chess players?


Here’s what the researchers found …


The fundamental conclusion:

For all cognitive traits assessed (problem-solving, verbal ability, memory, creativity, etc.), chess players scored on average half of a standard deviation higher than non-chess players.” Source

Yes, I’m aware that correlation does not prove causation.

It could be that smarter people tend to gravitate towards chess.

Or, it could be that that playing chess boosts IQ.

Since the research design wasn’t able to answer that question, let’s resort to Pascal’s Wager and assume that chess certainly doesn’t lower IQ, but just might increase it.

Which raises a logical question:

Should youngsters be taught chess in schools?


Well, chess is being taught in some schools.

In Armenia, that is, not in the U.S.

Before you dismiss the locale, remember that Hillary Clinton claims that sophisticated Macedonian hackers did her in.

According to Real Clear Science:

The Armenians may be on to something.

One recent psychology study found that chess was associated with greater “cognitive abilities, coping and problem-solving capacity, and even socioaffective development of children.”

What’s the magic?

Chess trains logical thinking. It teaches how to make decisions, trains memory, strengthens will power, motivates children to win and teaches them how to deal with defeat.

It’s the only school subject that can do all this.”

Not only does chess help train the brain, but it also teaches children basic life skills.

In our culture, we hand out trophies to winners and losers — or neglect to keep score at all — out of some misguided, politically-correct notion that we should never hurt anyone’s feelings.

But, in Armenia, schools are teaching children reality: Sometimes you lose.

That’s an important lesson, and it should be taught at a young age.


Americans are concerned that our children aren’t receiving a solid K-12 education.

Perhaps chess should be introduced into the curriculum as a fun way to teach logic and memory?

Knowing that there are 7-year-old Armenians that could run our kids off the chessboard without breaking a sweat is a tad humiliating.

To paraphrase Pascal:

What’s the downside?



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