skills for kids

Raising Kings and Queens Through Chess

Every Friday night when I was in high school, I would arrive home around midnight. Many of those nights I would be greeted by my dad sitting at the kitchen table. In the flicker of candlelight, he had the chess board set up and ready. My dad taught me chess when I was seven years old. Over the years, we had epic battles on that chess board and important life conversations over it.

Teaching me chess gave me and my dad an opportunity to bond. Even more than that was how the game formed me. I didn’t even know it was happening. There were essential life skills that became a part of my DNA. Living them out now is as natural as breathing. Teach your kids chess or your favorite strategy game. These skills will become a part of them and you will be raising kings and queens. Here are 5 skills for kids to learn through chess.

1. Analyzing and Strategizing

A chess player is constantly faced with challenging situations. It forces the player to see the board from multiple angles, order information, and visualize the end game. Then it requires him or her to put together a plan of action that will bring about a successful outcome.

2. Leadership

Good leadership identifies people’s strengths and positions them to use those strengths.Each piece in chess has a strength and function. The greatest players are able to take those pieces and maximize their effectiveness. In the same way, good leadership involves identifying the strengths of people and putting them in a position to use those strengths. Individuals will succeed as well as the overall group or organization.

3. Measuring Consequences

There are lots of choices to make and wrong moves come with a cost. This lesson is taught over and over. Decisions become sharper because the brain is trained how to think multiple steps forward. What once seemed cloudy becomes clear.

4. Overcoming Adversity

It took me three years to beat my dad for the first time. Each time I lost he told me that it was a learning experience. I studied, practiced, played him again and again, and eventually, overcame.

5. Self-Discipline and Patience

There is always the temptation to move too quickly or take the easy way out. That’s when you get burned. Victory takes investment, time, and focused thought. This movie, inspired by a true story, illustrates the point.

Huddle up with your kids tonight and play a game. Make it a habit.