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7 Reasons All Black Kids Should Be Taught To Play Chess

By Yolanda Spivey

One of my son’s Christmas gift request this past holiday was for me to get him a chess board.  I thought it was quite odd that a child of only seven years of age would be interested in playing chess.  I was under the impression he would be more interested in a new Nintendo Wii game, but he wanted a chess board.

On Christmas morning when he opened up his gift and saw the beautiful glass chess set I had brought for him, he almost passed out.  He exclaimed, “This is the best gift ever mommy,” and gave me a big hug.

A little later during the day, him and I sat down and embarked on a couple of games.  I learned how to play chess when I was 10 years old, and here it was, my son knew how to play chess without me even teaching him.  He was actually taught in school and he was quite good at it—knowing  the position and names of each chess piece and the order of how they were to move on the board.  I was impressed!

On the website, they give 7 good reasons why every Black child should learn how to play and master the game of chess—and I have to agree with them.  They are:

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  1. Differentiation– There aren’t that many Black children who know how to play the game of chess.  So if your child learns how to play they would definitely stand out from the crowd and be set apart from their peers.
  2. Beneficial Hobby– While children often get their daily dose of garbage activities, playing chess has been proven to strengthen a child’s reading and math skills. So, have kids put down those video game controllers and pull out the chess board.
  3. Increased Focus– Studies have shown that children who play chess have an increased attention span.  They can sit still for long periods of time without losing focus or being disruptive.
  4. Builds Patience– You’ll be shocked that your child’s patience tolerance will increase due to playing chess. Many parents pray that their children acquire this skill and chess is a good way for children to learn the art of patience.
  5. Multiplies Learning Capacity– Studies show that chess is responsible for growing dendrites in the brain which increases brain power, potential and capacity.
  6. Strategy, Planning and Foresight– Your child will become an expert at strategy, forming a plan, and having great foresight.  It will benefit him/her in the long run when they have to plan things out.
  7. Critical Thinking– Today’s educational system is not set up to allow a child to think critically. Chess is a game that forces a child to think and to analyze on a critical level. They are getting the best exercise for their brain!

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18 thoughts on “7 Reasons All Black Kids Should Be Taught To Play Chess

  1. Carolyn M.

    Why didn’t you know that your child was being taught chess in school? I am happy to know that chess is being taught in the primary grades. My son learned in high school.

    • Suzy

      [[ I doubt it was the teachers who taught her son to play chess. Perhaps he learned it on the playground? ]]

  2. David B.

    Black children and black people in general are probably the least intellectually-inclined group of people in America. We watch more television than any other group of people. I think it’s a good idea for black children to learn chess to simply counteract the extreme anti-intellectual bent of current black youth culture.

  3. James

    Put Chess on the back burner.
    Every Black child should be taught 1st Responder Training, CPR and Triage support. Volunteer Firefighter Training and participate in a organized and regulated neighborhood militia.

    Learn to play a musical instrument and self-defense training.

    • James N.

      Why can’t a child learn both? All those things you mention are good, but one thing blacks lack is the ability to think long term, or to strategize. Many groups out maneuver us in so many aspects of life because, to use an analogy, they are several moves ahead of us and have already envisioned their endgame.

      Chess as a tool to teach strategy could probably be one of the most beneficial tools you could give to a black child.

  4. Stan Jackson sr.

    I agree that chess should be taught but also many board games have benefits that electronic games can’t impart. Social interaction, learning to win and lose gracefully, learning how to “step-up one’s game” (how to be competitive) and how not to be thwarted by a challenge. Anything can be better than the current top selling video games such as grand theft auto or any war game.

  5. Karlo Magno Guadalupe

    lol, not quite sure why we have to come up with a reason to teach black kids how to play chess specifically. Also, I am not so sure about black kids or people being less intellectual as I see a lot of black people excel academically. Just thought this post is funny that’s all.

  6. Jim Locke

    Why limit this to black kids? This white man is offended by the portrayal of this article as for black kids only. ALL kids should learn to play chess; all kids should learn to play cribbage, backgammon, and checkers. Those games don’t have batteries, or a screen, or buttons to push but they teach basic math skills, strategy, planning and more; kids learn how to LOSE gracefully, and that with practice they can get better. Losing is a part of life, so is pain…. it’s the suffering and wallowing in it that’s optional. They learn they’re not ‘victims’ but lose based on decisions they make that later end up biting them in the behind! Just like real life………. not like shoot ’em up, kill cops, steal cars, smoke weed, etc….

  7. Pingback: 7 Reasons All Black Kids Should Be Taught To Play Chess | The Black Home School - Mariam's Arc.

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  9. William Torres

    A major part of chess is understanding relationships. Whether it’s husband/wife, employee/employer, Steelers/Cowboys understanding life’s relationships is a very vital part of life itself.
    I’d love to teach the game of chess if only I could find students.

  10. Xclam

    The reigning 2017 world chess champion under 10 was taught to play chess in Alabama by a black man – the legendary and incomparable Charles A. Smith. 40 years of chess and he’s still in the business of coaching champions and he offers private online lessons for players of all ages: His students are champions on the chessboard and in the classroom.

  11. William Torres

    It’s really a great game for kids to learn because it teaches such things as right and wrong (right and wrong moves) it teaches patience and how to stay focused under pressure.
    There’s so many little different tricks and traps to be aware of and learning each and every nuance requires strategy and creativity.

  12. Camille Devaux

    My sister has been thinking about getting her son a chess coach. She thinks that this would be a wonderful way to get him actively involved in something. Growing critical thinking skills will be really good for him overall.


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