By Laura Sherman and Bill Kilpatrick
Most people instinctively know that learning to play chess can increase creativity and imagination in all areas of life. But many don’t know how or why it does.
Imagination starts with a creative idea. Imagination grows when creative ideas are acted upon. Few people realize how creative they really are.
We find this with every child we teach. They didn’t realize how smart they are!
Chess breeds confidence. It brings clarity of thought.
A young chess player has lots of ideas and they learn to see creative patterns and sequences of the many possibilities that exist on the board in front of them.
Every move allows a player to bring more and more of their plans, decisions and strategies to life on a chess board.
Children learn regardless of whether they win or lose a game. The combination of creative ideas and organized thought is unique to chess. When a child understands the game they quite naturally are drawn to it. They gather around. They each have ideas of their own.
They all come up with different types of plans.
It is very important to encourage imagination very early in life.
What does chess have to do with creative thinking? Everything!
Chess helps a child develop his or her imagination. After all we’re just looking at a board with 64 squares and a bunch of pieces that can move around in different ways until the players breathe life into their games.
As a person improves, each position on the board communicates more and more to the player. One starts recognizing familiar patterns and combinations, seeing how to build from them into new ideas. As these skills increase it becomes easier and easier to plan future attacks and predict outcomes.
The way to win a game of chess is to plan out a strategy and then follow it through until you have achieved your goal, anticipating and countering your opponent’s moves along the way. It all starts with your vision, your ability to imagine a goal.
Get good at this over the chessboard and you’ll be able to apply this to your life. Imagine what you want to achieve, regardless of how “impossible” it might be. Set your objective and take the necessary steps needed to make it happen. Barriers will pop up, but they won’t be a problem if you anticipate them and plan countermoves.
The possibilities are endless and are under your control. The worst thing you can do is push those dreams aside and do nothing to move them forward.
Chess drills players to routinely accomplish their goals, the ones they create that come from their imagination. Let’s teach our children early that it is good to dream and that those dreams can come true. If we do that we might just be looking at an unstoppable next generation!