Does Chess Benefit Children?

Consider what some experts have said about the benefits chess playing can have on children:

Susan Polgar (former Women’s World Chess Champion):

According to research, Test scores improved by 17.3% for students regularly engaged in chess classes, compared with only 4.6% for children participating in other forms of enriched activities. [Susan Polgar Foundation site]

Educational Psychologist Stuart Margulies, Ph.D

In 1996, this psychologist found that elementary school students in Los Angeles and New York who played chess—they scored approximately 10% higher on reading tests than their peers who didn’t play the game. []

Jerry Meyers (chess master):

In the United States, it has received endorsements by many educators, ranging from Benjamin Franklin to former U.S. Secretary of Education, Terrell Bell. In Western Pennsylvania, more than 70 schools and a dozen libraries offer chess programs, reaching several thousand students each year. [Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe]



Chess in Movies

Several films could be interesting to children, movies in which the game of chess is featured.

Enemy pawns block three children in a movieWizards’ chess in the first Harry Potter movie


TV film about kids learning chess in BronxSimultaneous chess exhibition by a teacher (TV film Knights of the South Bronx)

This is not to say that watching movies that have chess games will make children smarter. It just relates to how this game has gotten integrated into American society much more than it was just a few decades ago.



Films With Chess Games

A number of movies feature the game of chess, a few of them emphasizing the game.

Chess Games in Movies

It’s been said that Humphrey  Bogart was fond of the French  Defense, although he once chose  e5 in a simultaneous in which  Samuel Reshevsky played on 70  boards. That game was a draw.

Films About Chess

Some of the films mentioned here are:

  • Chess Fever
  • Dangerous Moves
  • Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine [documentary]
  • Geri’s Game [animation]
  • Knights of the South Bronx
  • Searching for Bobby Fischer
  • The Seventh Seal


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