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    7 Reasons Why...You Should Learn How To Play Chess NOW

    You know you can use chess to find a job, strategize about your future, and just become smarter, right?

    1. To put it simply, chess makes you smarter.

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    You have probably heard this a lot. Well, it is true. When you play chess, it targets the parts of your brain that promote critical thinking and decision making. It quite literally grows the dendrites in your brain. The bigger your dendrites are, the quicker they process information. Chess also forces both sides of the brain to work together, sparking logic and creativity simultaneously. Pretty cool, right?

    2. Chess is a portable classroom.

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    I could spend hours connecting chess to various subjects, including anthropology, linguistics, or sociology. But, today, let's talk about math and literacy. Students can learn basic addition and subtraction, money management, and pattern recognition. Each piece has a point value, and in order to maintain position and fair trades, students need to recognize what pieces they are sacrificing. In addition, literacy is a core part of chess. In order to understand specific openings and defenses and do notation (recording a chess match), students read and recognize words and numbers. I like to call chess a mini college campus. It has ties to the branches of knowledge (but we can talk more about that later!).

    3. Chess is the foundation of cognitive skills.

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    At my organization The Queen's Gambit Chess Institute, we talk about chess through the lense of strategy consulting. When you play chess, you must think 5 to 10 moves ahead to antipcate what your opponent might do. Because there are various moves, it can be hard to keep everything straight. The more you play, the easier this becomes. When we think strategically about decisions, we promote situation analysis, forward-thinking, creative problem solving, and concentration.

    4. Got a problem? Chess will help you solve it.

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    I call this "chess theory." Pick a problem. Imagine some pieces as an obstacle within that problem and other pieces as possible options you have to move forward (quite literally!). How do those pieces interact with, challenge, and support each other? Chess provides a roadmap for solving problems.

    5. But it can also provide a roadmap to get where you want to be.

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    What is your dream job? Instead of dreaming, make an action plan. Visualize a situation on the chess board that reminds you of your ideal job. How did you get there? What exact steps did you take? How did each piece support another to get to the common goal? This is chess mapping.

    6. Chess is also a sport.

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    Chess is a sport. Like the NBA or NFL, we have the United States Chess Federation and highly anticipated competitions like the US Open and World Chess Championship. We also have grandmasters like Susan Polgar, Magnus Carlsen, and Bobby Fisher (you know him?). And yes, chess players get paid just like any other top performing athlete.

    7. Chess is fun.

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    At the end of the day, chess is a very fun and simulating game. It brings communities together and exercises your mind. Who wouldn't want that?

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