Playing chess improves learning

Scientific Evidence Platform Scientific contreversy Playing chess improves learning
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In the study of Smith and Cage “The treatment group scored significantly higher than the control group on post-test measures of mathematics achievement, F (1, 38) = 4.14, p < .043; field dependence/ independence, F (1,38) = 6.02, p < -019; spatial visualization, F (1, 38) = 14.13, p < .001; and nonverbal reasoning, F (1, 38) = 6.09, p < .037. The control group scored significantly higher on the spatial orientation test, F (1, 38) = 4.22, p < .048”

Smith, J. P. (2000). The Effects of Chess Instruction on the Mathematics Achievement of Southern, Rural, Black Secondary Students. Research in the Schools7(1), 19-26.


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Gontzal Uriarte

Conozco una persona que curiosamente es buen ajedrecista (federado) habiendo tenido una trayectoria de fracaso escolar y escolarización en educación especial. En este caso no observé una transferencia de las habilidades del ajedrez hacia lectura o resolución de problemas de matemáticas. Pero bueno, también es verdad que la escuela quizá tampoco supo promocionar su aprendizaje exitosamente.

Gontzal Uriarte

Do the Benefits of Chess Instruction Transfer to Academic and Cognitive Skills? A Meta-Analysis:

Far transfer is a matter that has been undergoing years of scientific debate. Although there is indeed some evidence that chess can improve learning in other subjects such as math and reading, but this intervention has not been shown to be better than others due to its moderate effects. The overall effect size was larger with mathematics than with reading. But, the researchers of this meta-analysis conclude that…
“These considerations -along with the overall results of the meta-analysis – lead us to think that learning activities should be as close as possible to the skills to train; for example, mathematics instruction should be used to teach mathematical skills.”

In my opinion chess can be a good option as an extension of learning after school.

Marta Font

Poston and Vandenkieboom (2019) studied the effects of chess in Maths and Reading test score gains and they found a significant increase in math tests and a small increase in reading. However, they stated that “attending” a chess club is not enough to improve in maths and reading, as those children who only joined the chess club reported smaller gains than their peers.


It is necessary to bring attention to scientific evidence that accounts for the factors that favor academic success in students with disabilities.
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