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Does Chess Improve Your IQ?

Updated: Mar 19, 2021



Chess is a clever strategy game that has its roots going as far back as ancient Afghanistan in 600 AD. As most people already know, to be a successful chess player you need to have a good level of mental acuity and perception that allows you to think ahead and anticipate outcomes from different moves, even before they have been made.


But can playing chess help to improve your IQ? Let's take a look at the benefits of chess and if playing it can improve your visual memory or increase your academic achievement.


Learning chess and improving memory and IQ


There have been several in-depth studies held in various institutional settings to measure how learning chess and playing chess can increase your intelligence and can have a positive effect on children and the elderly. For example:


Chess improves your IQ: A study held in Venezuela, where children took chess instruction for 4 ½ months, in measures of intelligence saw an increase in their IQ points. So playing chess can boost brain power in kids!


Playing chess improves verbal skills


A Zaire school director, Albert Frank, did a year-long study of the effects of playing chess on children. His study group took two hours of chess instruction each week and he then went on to publish his results in his book: Chess and Aptitudes.


Frank's study showed that those who practised playing chess developed improved verbal skills along with enhanced mathematical skills. The children were also able to better understand and follow administrative-directional tasks.


Playing chess can also help to increase focus and sharpen critical thinking skills in people of all ages. It has also been seen to boost emotional intelligence, a level of intelligence that cannot be measured by IQ points, but is still critically important to a persons ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions.


Preserving mental acuity and improving memory in the elderly


Playing chess regularly can help improve the mental acuity of the elderly as it hones their ability to work through complex cause and effect patterns. In elderly care home facilities, encouraging residents to play chess has proven to be highly effective in preserving players memory and reducing the risk of them developing neuro-degenerative conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.


Chess makes people smarter


Learning to play chess can help you to develop your thinking skills, which can directly improve your academic performance. But playing chess can also help to make you smarter in several different ways, including:


  • To appreciate the value of hard work, concentration, and patience

  • To boost self-confidence

  • To improve English and math grades

  • To learn and develop patience and thoughtfulness

  • To learn and improve communication skills

  • To stimulate visual memory



When considering the benefits of chess, the list is truly endless. In children, it can build the foundation for many valuable life skills. For the elderly, it can help preserve their mental acuity and retain memory.


For everyone in between? Chess can be an enjoyable pastime because it isn't just a simple game. It is a slow dance of strategy and outthinking your opponent which can lead to years of victories and defeats that you can learn and grow from.

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