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Benefits of Chess
and Chess Etiquette
by Joseph L. Bell
© 2011
What Is Chess ?
• A Game – play it with your friends
• A Sport – a hard fought competition,
and an Olympic competition
• An Art – with beauty in its complexity
• A Science – a disciplined field of study
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Benefits of Chess
• Developing critical thinking skills
• Practicing concentration skills
• Improved decision-making skills
• How would these skills help with
other areas of your life ?
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Your Brain On Chess
• Abstract Reasoning – Thought using
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symbolic representations, and past info
Analysis – Break problem into smaller parts
Concentration – Directing your thoughts
Critical Thinking – Apply logic & reasoning
Evaluation – Determining worth & value
Pattern Recognition – Apply experience
Problem Solving – ID problems & solve
Strategic Planning – Effective use of
Synthesis – Combine knowledge for unique
solutions and applications
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Benefits of Chess
• Chess instills in players a sense of
self-confidence and self-worth
• Chess builds a sense of team spirit
while emphasizing the ability of the
individual player
• Chess teaches the value of hard work,
concentration and commitment
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Benefits of Chess (cont’d)
• Chess demonstrates that each person is
responsible their own actions and must
accept the consequences
• Chess teaches players to try their best
to win, while accepting defeat with
“I don't believe in psychology.
I believe in good moves.”
- Bobby Fischer
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Benefits of Chess (cont’d)
• Chess provides an intellectual,
competitive forum through which you
can express hostility, i.e. "let off
steam", in a socially acceptable way
“Chess is war over the board.
The object is to crush the opponent's mind.”
- Bobby Fischer
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Benefits of Chess (cont’d)
• Chess provides many bright youth with
their first opportunity to use their
intelligence in an exciting, rewarding
and continuing way
• Chess instills a sense of intellectual
success which encourages trying other
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Benefits of Chess (cont’d)
• Chess allows girls to compete with boys
on a non-threatening, social plane
• Chess can provides an easy, safe forum
for gathering and discussion
“Chess is as much a mystery as women”
- Cecil Purdy, International Master
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An Excuse to Play More Chess
• Chess results in higher grades,
especially in Math and English studies
– Developing plans, considering all
implications of choices, improves logic,
reasoning and writing composition.
– Research found that Chess was more
efficient than any other extracurricular
activity in improving academic
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Chess Etiquette
• Not another lecture on manners
• You live manners when playing Chess,
and it makes the game more enjoyable
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Chess Etiquette
• Shake hands at the start and end of a
• Do not distract your opponent, make
noises, tap on the table…
• Be a good loser, and a good winner
• Cell Phones: You will be banned from
most Chess tournaments if your cell
phone rings or makes noise. No texting.
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Rules Enforce Etiquette
• Ask for a draw on your own clock time
• Annoying actions or noises can result in
a forfeit
(declared by the tournament director)
– Complaining that your opponent annoys
you by making good moves will not work.
• Touch Move Rule: If you touch a piece,
and it can legally move, you have to
move that piece.
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Rules Enforce Etiquette
• “20A. Conduct of Players. Players
shall participate in the spirit of fair play
and good sportsmanship, and must
observe the USCF Code of Ethics.”
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Know the Rules to Be Polite
• Good manners help you get
ahead in life
• Avoid unnecessary problems
• A Scout is … Helpful, Friendly,
Courteous, Kind …, Clean
• “A true gentleman is one who
is never unintentionally rude.”
- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
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A World Champion’s Perspective
• “How Life Imitates Chess:
Making the Right Moves from
the Board to the Boardroom”
– by Garry Kasparov
• Kasparov had the highest
chess rating in the world
for 255 consecutive
months (over 21 years).
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How Life Imitates Chess
– Losing can persuade you to change what
doesn’t need to be changed
– Winning can convince you everything is
fine even if you are on the brink of disaster
– Only when the environment shifts radically
should you consider a change in
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How Life Imitates Chess (2)
– Rote memorization is far less important
than the ability to recognize meaningful
– Opposite pairs work in harmony to improve
decision-making: Calculation & Evaluation,
Patience & Opportunism, Intuition &
Analysis, Style & Objectivity
• Success comes from balancing these forces and
harnessing their inherent power
• The only consistent method for achieving such
balance is to avoid your comfort zone
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How Life Imitates Chess (3)
– Things we usually think of as advantages
(Having more time to think & analyze,
Having more information at your disposal)
can short-circuit what matters even more:
• Our Intuition
– Attacking requires perfect timing as well
as nerve. Pushing the action gives us
more options and greater ability to control
our fate.
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How Life Imitates Chess (4)
– Psychological muscles atrophy from disuse
just as physical ones do
– Every enterprise has an opening, a middle
games, and an endgame. Knowing where
you are lets you hone your strategy and
enables you to identify and eliminate
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Questions ?
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