top of page

How chess can benefit your child's approach to learning

child with glasses playing chess

Over my years diving into the world of educational strategies and personal development, I've sifted through countless resources on enhancing learning and productivity. Among the myriad of tools and games I've encountered, chess stands out as a uniquely powerful catalyst for academic and cognitive growth. Herein, I share with you ten insights I've gleaned on how this ancient game can be a game-changer in your child's educational path.

Benefits of chess for learning

  1. Owning Every Move: The realisation hit me like a ton of bricks – we are the masters of our time and decisions. This concept is vividly mirrored in chess. Every move is a choice, with direct consequences and the opportunity for strategic advantage. It's a powerful metaphor for life and learning, teaching kids that they're in control of their actions and, by extension, their education and time.

  2. The "Hell Yeah, or No" Decision Making: Borrowing from Derek Sivers, this principle can transform your child's approach to commitments. In chess, every move should have a purpose; if it doesn't contribute to your strategy, it's probably a mistake. Applying this to daily life, if an activity isn't a "Hell Yeah," it's a "No." This teaches prioritisation and ensures energy is spent on what truly matters.

  3. Identifying the Daily 'King': Inspired by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, setting a daily highlight can be as crucial in chess as it is in life. In chess, protecting your king is the ultimate goal, much like setting and accomplishing a daily priority task can safeguard your child's sense of achievement and progress.

  4. Strategising with a To-Do List: Just as chess players plan their moves, having a to-do list can organise your child's tasks, freeing their mind for higher-order thinking and creativity. It's about knowing your next move so you can play the game of life more fluidly and with confidence.

  5. Time Blocking Your Chessboard: Allocating specific times for tasks is like planning your strategy in chess. By blocking out time for their most important activities (like homework or reading), children learn to manage their day effectively, ensuring that priorities are addressed and reducing the risk of time wasted on less important activities.

  6. Setting Up Your Opening Moves with Deadlines: Just as the opening moves in chess can set the tone for the game, establishing deadlines can propel your child to action and prevent procrastination. By creating a sense of urgency, tasks are completed more efficiently, mirroring how a well-planned strategy in chess moves you closer to checkmate.

  7. Protecting Your Time Like Your King: In chess, the king's safety is paramount, similar to guarding your child's focused time. Encouraging them to have 'protected time' for deep work or study without interruptions can significantly enhance productivity and concentration, much like a well-defended king can lead to a stronger position in the game.

  8. Delegating Like a Chess Master: Just as a chess player utilises each piece on the board to its fullest potential, teaching your child to delegate tasks or ask for help when needed can be invaluable. It's about playing to your strengths and recognising that you don't have to do everything alone – teamwork can often lead to a better outcome.

  9. Automating the Game Plan: In chess, recognising patterns and automating responses to common scenarios can save time and mental energy. Similarly, automating routine decisions in daily life (like a morning routine or study schedule) can streamline your child's day, leaving more room for creativity and deep thinking.

  10. Choosing Your Victory Stance: Finally, satisfaction is a choice. In chess, a well-played game, even if not won, can be immensely satisfying. Teaching your child to recognise and celebrate their efforts and achievements, rather than focusing solely on the outcome, fosters a positive mindset and resilience. It's not always about winning the game but playing it well and learning from it.

Chess is not just a game; it's a reflection of life's strategies, challenges, and victories. By integrating these chess-inspired principles into your child's life, you're not just teaching them how to move pieces on a board – you're equipping them with the skills to navigate the complex, ever-changing game of life with confidence, strategy, and grace. There are many benefits of chess for learning - let the game begin!

More blog posts like this:

Sleep - Why it's important to boost your child's grades - read here 

How to teach a growth mindset to children - read here 

How to talk to your child about their career goals - read here 

The 11+ exam: a guide for parents - read here 



bottom of page