Important skills you will learn when playing chess

Important skills you will learn when playing chess

May 23, 2016, 4:25 AM |

Chess grandmaster, Bobby Fischer, once said, “Chess is life”. While some of his ideas and opinions were backwards and downright ridiculous, he did get one thing right; chess encompasses so much of life. Not only is chess an incredibly powerful educational tool, it also teaches people, both young and old, things they cannot learn in a classroom. Below are some of the most important skills you will learn when playing chess. 

Attention to detail 

One of the most important tools in the game of chess is concentration. You have to concentrate on the board at all times, thinking what you have to do in the next five moves, all the while paying attention to your opponent. 

The attention to detail that you gain from playing chess filters into other aspects of life including education, which is why so many parents insist their children join chess clubs. 


When playing chess, if you want to win, you have no choice but to be patient. Each player has 40 moves to become victorious and in that time each move has to be carefully planned, constructed and executed.

Chess can’t be rushed. One rash move with a seemingly safe pawn can lead to a check-mate in no time at all. A valuable skill you learn is being comfortable with playing ‘the waiting game’ and approaching complex situations from various angles. 


The best players of the game are those that can strategize with a mere glance at the board, and while such a powerful skill is honed and perfected with time, it’s something you pick up the more you play. 

You also learn the important lesson of abstract reasoning. You can imagine what would happen in various scenarios and what you need to do to become successful, sometimes simultaneously.

Timing is important in life, and it's just as important in chess; knowing the right thing to do, and when to do it, is a lesson that few games can teach you.

Calmness under pressure 

Chess may be a game between two people played on very comfortable chairs, but it’s still one of the most intense and pressure filled games on the planet. 

The same feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when a penalty shootout occurs in a game of football, is the same feeling you get throughout the entirety of a chess match. 

If you let the pressure get to you, a game that you dominated can be lost in a couple of moves. Being able to control that burning intensity and remaining calm at the same time is a great skill that you pick up when playing the game. 


One of the most important skills in chess, and most likely the most useful, is being able to plan ahead. If your opponent moves a rook or a pawn, you need to be able to plan what your move will be at that moment as well as ten steps from that point. 

No successful chess player has ever just made moves blindly and on a whim. Each move is painstakingly planned and orchestrated to outwit an opponent. When you become a good chess player, you also become someone who knows how to plan carefully and calmly, in high-pressure situations.

Take note of the practical skills listed above! If you want to gain or expand those skills, chess is the perfect game for you. It creates and develops diverse and critical thinkers, and the skills you learn will also filter into your day-to-day life.

Zoe Anderson is an employee at StudySelect. She’s keen on learning about new eLearning trends and is also interested in project management trends.