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  • Writer's pictureHenry Lien

Unlocking Academic Potential in Elementary School Students through Chess

Updated: May 25, 2023

Greetings, parents and educators! As a kid playing chess since I was six years old, I've devoted a lot of my extra-curricular time to the game and witnessed firsthand its incredible potential to positively impact academic performance. Chess is much more than a game; it's a powerful tool that can foster cognitive and intellectual development in young minds. Today, I'd like to share some research studies that demonstrate the link between chess and better academic performance in various subjects.

A study, entitled "An Evaluation of the Chess Challenge Program of ASAP/After School Activities Partnerships" carried out by Dr. Joseph DuCette in 2009, examined the impact of chess instruction on the mathematical problem-solving abilities and reading comprehension performance of primary school students. 151 students in grades 3-8 who participated in an after-school chess program were compared with a control group. The group who played chess after school performed higher on standardized math and reading tests. In addition, they recorded fewer school absences and achieved higher behavioral scores. The results indicated that students who received chess instruction demonstrated significant improvements in these areas compared to those who didn't receive any chess instruction.

A 2016 meta-analysis conducted by Giovanni Sala and Fernand Gobet analyzed data from 24 studies and found that chess instruction significantly improved children's mathematical skills, reading comprehension, and overall cognitive abilities.

These research studies provide strong evidence for the benefits of incorporating chess into educational curricula or extracurricular programs. I believe that introducing chess to elementary school students can unlock their academic potential and positively impact their cognitive development. If you want to start a program at your school, please reach out through chesspals.org. May each move on the board inspire a lifetime of learning and discovery!

A kid playing chess

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