Similarities Between Chess and Video Games

I grew up playing competitive chess in middle school and have been following some recent development in inner-city schools where chess programs are used as tools for alternative education. Mostly, children who have trouble staying focused in regular classes or get caught up in juvenile crime have been reassigned to these types of programs where chess plays an important role in their education. While the difference between chess and most video games are pretty substantial, there are also many similarities that make both chess and video games attractive for use in education. In the article listed above, school administrators cite certain skills used in playing chess that can be applied more broadly to life. The teachers claim that chess teaches students how to focus, to build and execute a plan, and other important problem solving skills. Additionally, chess is a game that is both intrinsically challenging and rewarding as one begins to win games.

The fact that chess is gaining popularity in certain schools points to the use of games for academic purposes. Benjamin Franklin discusses the benefits of the game of chess in an essay that can also be applied to today’s video games. He states, “several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, (The Morals of Chess).” The advances in video game programming, design and subject matter will continue to strengthen their attractiveness as educational tools and their relevance to everday life. In addition, the acceptance of innovative approaches to education will further the possibility of incorporating video games into education on a larger scale. This will be an important and interesting development to keep an eye on in the years ahead and I would encourage those who are interested to check out the article posted above.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lauren M
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 19:27:54

    Connecting the skills learned in the game of chess to video games is an interesting analysis. Agree that young students should play both! Chess teachings students that life skill of reasoning as well has a healthy competition with another person. In addition to that it reinforces “practice make perfect.” Chess players have practice and have lots experience to be very good. Video games can do the same thing and much more because of the advance technology.


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