Life Skills from Chess

Many times, parents try to find something that will help develop their child's life skills, teaching them to increase these skills for use in later life. Chess is a great game parents can use today to teach their children life skills and help with their interaction and interpersonal skills.

Chess is ideal for teaching that although we may come from various backgrounds, socio-economic statuses and even languages, our minds can work in similar ways when trying to reach a goal.

Kids playing tug of war

Students are not necessarily always ready to talk about their difficulties, and share feelings. But, when they are playing chess, rapport is established in a non-threatening way.

Social Skills

Daniel Goleman, in his book Emotional Intelligence (1995) noted that it is not only our pure intelligence that helps us to succeed in today’s society, it is also our social emotional competence.

Managing skills

You need to manage feelings in every position of the game.

Controlling impulses

If you do not control your impulses you might move too fast and may be not see that your chess position is in danger   

Delaying gratification

Sometimes in a chess position, it is better not to capture a piece and wait for a better opportunity.

Identifying & expressing feelings

Playing chess offers an opportunity to discuss feelings that arise in different situations. For example: “I made a mistake…”

Reducing Stress

To control and reduce stress when you play is very important in chess and in life.


Behavioural Skills

Non verbal communication

In chess, you learn to see non-verbal clues from your opponents

Verbal communication

They are many way Chess improves verbal communication too. Some examples are making requests, responding effectively to criticism, resisting negative influences, listening to others, helping others, participating in positive peer groups.  When we are conducting a chess class, coaches point out mistakes players make and help them understand how to ensure the mistake doesn't occur next time, but also how to deal with mistakes once they occur.

Sometimes students play 2 against 2 on only one board as well so they learn the need to understand, cope and learn from each other.

Kids talking

Decision Making

Controlling impulses, setting goals, identifying alternatives and consequences are all part and parcel of a game of Chess.  When you play chess you have to make decisions and resolve problems every time you move a piece. You must control your impulses and set short and long term goals to gain an advantage and win the game.


One of the skills that a child can learn through Chess is competition; they learn to compete with their peers in a friendly environment.

They are able to pick up the required skills through practice, teaching them that they can accomplish anything. They learn to be gracious winners and practice good sportsmanship through these competitive games of chess.

This teaches kids to be confident and gives them a sense of independent accomplishment, helping them take on life's challenges in their later years.

Kid winning his game



While in competition, another skill learned by children is the sense of community, by giving a helping hand to other children who are learning to play the game. They help create ways to win the game; they help represent the games at their schools. They take part in the two player teams where they help each other develop their skills through practice and cooperation.

Fair Play

Playing the game of chess also helps children learn fair play, this is very important in the child's later years making them more likely to grow up and treat other fairly, and to be respectful of others feelings.

In addition, to being fair they learn how to treat others equally. They play against children of all races, genders and many different ages. They will discover that everyone who plays chess has an equal opportunity to be winners of the game. They also learn to play the game by the rules and they know that everyone will have the exact same rules.

In this process they know that they are not any different from anyone else and the game of chess does not have any favorites, in order to win you must be like everyone else who plays the game, and learn the game through practice and game play.

Kids fair play


Working Hard

In the game of chess, children learn the value of working hard; they must study the game, from beginning tactics to more advanced strategies. They will learn that through intense study and long hours of practice that they will be able to succeed at winning in competition. These skills come in handy for your child when they are in school, and through out their lives, they learn that through hard work and persistence they will succeed.


And last but certainly not least, Chess teaches your children responsibility: they learn to be fair and to take the time to do what needs to be done when training. It means that they must live with the actions they use, and accept the consequences that are associated with those actions.

They learn self control and they are more likely to think before they make any decisions.

In short, the game of chess gives you the opportunity to introduce your child to very important skills that they will need to succeed in their lives.

Kids being responsible


Where to from here?


Chess is ideal for teaching that although we may come from various backgrounds, socio-economic statuses and even languages: our minds can work in similar ways when trying to reach a goal

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