Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

The Benefits of Chess for the Intellectual and Social-Emotional Enrichment in Schoolchildren

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

The Benefits of Chess for the Intellectual and Social-Emotional Enrichment in Schoolchildren

Article excerpt

This paper examines the benefits of regularly playing chess for the intellectual and social-emotional enrichment of a group of 170 schoolchildren from 6-16 years old. It is based on a quasi-experimental design, where the independent variable was the extracurricular activity of chess (n = 170) versus extracurricular activities of soccer or basketball (n = 60). The dependent variable was intellectual and socio-affective competence, which was measured by an IQ test (WISC-R), a self-report test (TAMAI) and a hetero-report questionnaire (teacher-tutor's criterion) applied at the beginning and the end of the academic year. In contrast to the comparison group, it was found that chess improves cognitive abilities, coping and problem-solving capacity, and even socioaffective development of children and adolescents who practice it. The results are modulated, particularly in the area socioaffective, by the personal profile of students who choose practice this activity.

Keywords: chess, intellectual enrichment, emotional development, social development, schoolchildren.

Se analiza los beneficios de la práctica regular del ajedrez en el enriquecimiento intelectual y socioafectivo de un grupo de 170 escolares de 6 a 16 años. Se trabaja sobre un diseño cuasi-experimental, donde la variable independiente es la actividad extraescolar de ajedrez (N = 170) versus las actividades extraescolares de fútbol o baloncesto (N = 60), y la variable dependiente la competencia cognitiva y socio-afectiva evaluada mediante pruebas de rendimiento (WISC-R), auto-evaluación (TAMAI) y heteroevaluación (criterio del profesorado-tutor), aplicadas al iniciar y al finalizar el curso académico. Al contrastar con el grupo de comparación, se evidencia que el ajedrez mejora las capacidades cognitivas, moldea la capacidad de afrontamiento y resolución de problemas e, incluso, influye en el desarrollo sociopersonal de los niños y adolescentes que lo practican. Si bien los resultados se ven modulados, especialmente en el ámbito sociopersonal, por el perfil personal del alumnado que opta por la práctica de esta actividad.

Palabras clave: : ajedrez, competencia cognitiva, educación socio-afectiva, escolares.

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The goal of this study is to empirically analyze whether playing chess produces benefits in cognitive competence, coping and problem-solving capacity, personal adjustment, and in children's and adolescents' academic and social adjustment.

There are currently many studies and experiences, both sports and educational, which address the topic of chess. However, among the empirical-based studies, most of them focus on the analysis of the intellectual domain (Charness, 1998; Charness, Tuffiash, & Krampe, 2005).

Pioneer studies (Groot, 1946, 1965) related the mental processes used by chess players to the mental processes carried out by an investigator to solve a problem. They concluded that the scientific method is similar to the schema used by a chess player to analyze the position and the movement of the chessmen: analysis and investigation, calculation, assessment, selection, and decision.

Other works, such as those of Krogius (1972), indicate that intellectual processes such as attention, memory, concentration, creativity, and reasoning, among others, are stimulated and fostered by practicing this discipline. The authors conclude that this is due to the fact that playing chess requires rigorous thinking, which must be combined with great mental agility for it to be effective.

But if we reflect on the chess player's profile, we see that intellectual abilities alone do not guarantee success in this discipline (Kelly, 1985). In addition to cognitive competences, chess players require the participation of socioaffective competences. However, there are few empirical studies of the participation of these socioaffective competences.

In the same vein are the noteworthy works of Hernández and Rodríguez (2006), which show how more successful chess players use more realistic, positive, and pondered ways of appraising and facing reality (cognitive-affective molds). …

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