Flexing Mental Muscles

"The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable
qualities of mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired
or strenghtened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions."

-- Benjamin Franklin, 1786

  • GOAL-FORMATION: The path to checkmate is not straightforward. The player constantly must formulate intermediate goals.
  • PROBLEM-SOLVING: Like a puzzle or a story problem, chess harnesses reason and logic.
  • PLANNING: After determining a goal, the player must create a step-by-step plan.
  • EFFECTICE PERFORMANCE: After determining a goal, the player must execute a plan with attention to detail.
  • ATTENTION, CONCENTRATION: The player must ignore distractions, focus attention and maintain concentration until solving the problem.
  • SELF-MONITORING: The player must re-evaluate and alter plans in response to the opponent's ideas. Caution and contempation lead to understanding, rash action is punished.
  • PERSEVERANCE: The complexity of chess allows for many surprises. Maintaining composure in the face of adversity can result in victory.
  • PATTERN-RECOGNITION: The player must remember typical positions to execute successful combinations and avoid dangerous traps.


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