Chess and academics

Chess and Academics

The impacts of chess on academic performance in both reading and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects are too significant to be ignored.

Young chess players develop greater skills in problem solving, pattern recognition, critical thinking, spatial reasoning, and visual memory. Reading and verbal skills also grow stronger. As children practice weighing risk and visualizing consequences, they become better decision makers, a skill that will benefit them both on and off the chessboard.

That’s not just our opinion. More and more school systems across the U.S. are catching on to what educators in other countries have known for decades: when kids learn chess, their grades and test scores rise.

“The mental agility and self-discipline involved in chess are things from which all students can profit,” said Jim Florio, governor of New Jersey when that state passed a bill encouraging school systems to teach chess. “In countries where chess is offered widely in schools, students exhibit excellence in the ability to recognize complex patterns and excel in math and science.”

A 2000 study found that students who received chess instruction scored significantly higher on all measures of academic achievement, including math, spatial analysis, and non-verbal reasoning ability (Smith & Cage, 2000). In 2011, the University of Texas at Dallas published a survey of current research on chess’s impact on grades and test scores. Read about it here.

Here’s another comprehensive survey on what researchers have learned about how chess impacts kids’ academic performance: National Institutes of Health: Chess and Academic Performance.

chess-304175_960_720 2 (2)More articles and research about the academic and social benefits of chess:

Role of chess in modern education. (Marcel Milat)

The Brainy Benefits of Chess: How this classic game of strategy makes kids smarter. (Winehouse,

Effects of chess on mathematics test scores. (Gumede & Rosholm, Aarhus University, Bonn)

Benefits of chess for academic performance and creative thinking. (Kitsis)

The effect of chess on reading scores. (Marguiles, New York University)

The benefits of chess for intellectual and social-emotional enrichment in children. (Garcia & Betencourt)

Chess improves academic performance. (Palm, New York City Schools)

The relationship between chess and reading. (Fergason, New York University)

The benefits of chess in education. (Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe)

On the effect of chess training on scholastic achievement. (Bart, University of Minnesota)

Chess and standard test scores. (Liptrap, Klien Independent)

Chess and aptitudes. (Frank, University of Zaire)


chess-304175_960_720 2

STEM education and chess: What’s the connection?

Young chess players develop greater skills in problem solving, pattern recognition, spatial reasoning, and critical thinking—processes crucial to academic mastery in science, technology, engineering, and math.

To learn more about the connections between chess and STEM skills, click here. Or visit the links below for research and scholarly articles about the academic and cognitive benefits of chess.

Spatial Thinking and STEM Education. (Udal and Cohen, Northwestern University)

The Neuroscientific Basis of Chess Playing: Applications to the Development of Talent and Education. (Bart & Atherton, University of Minnesota)

On the effect of chess training on scholastic achievement. (Bart, University of Minnesota)

The Effects of Chess Instruction on Students’ Level of Field Dependence/Independence. (Smith, Grambling State University, and Sullivan, Lousiana State University)

Educational Value of Chess. (Johns Hopkins University)

Does Playing Chess Improve Math Learning? (Boruch, University of Pennsylvania)

Visuo-spatial abilities of chess players. (Waters, Georgetown University, and Gobet & Leyden, University of Nottingham)

(405) 642-6136   |  |  P.O. Box 1995, Oklahoma City, OK 73101