Anecdotally, it appears that chess teaches a number of important life skills, including perseverance, thinking ahead, good sportsmanship, and complex decision making skills. Chess can also help students form positive social relationships with people of all ages, color, nationalities, and genders. The rules of chess are the same internationally. Two people can play a game of chess even if they do not speak the same language. A very young player can beat a very old player. Mr. Ashley has personally observed the development of respectful relationships between belligerent juvenile inmates over a series of chess games. An organization, Chess for Peace, has brought together students from America and Russia to play chess in order to foster positive relationships between people from countries with uneasy relationships.
Although chess is obviously not a panacea, it has the potential to impact students in a number of crucial areas. It is relatively inexpensive to implement a chess program, but the results are often marked. In his book, Chess for Success, Mr. Ashley describes the chess and life successes of the students he coached in inner-city New York. He points out that the students he coached were not only quite successful in chess, but a greater percentage went to college and attained markedly greater career success than is typical for students with similar backgrounds.
For more detailed information about chess research, click here to go to the summary on United States Chess Federation's web page. Click here...