Why Kids Who Play Chess Outperform Their Classmates – Part II


This is the second part of a three part article series investigating scientific research into the value of chess as a tool to aid cognitive development. In this part, the Fried and Ginsburg study will be discussed (The Effect of Learning to Play Chess on Cognitive, Perceptual, & Emotional Development in Children. Unpublished paper available from U.S. Chess Federation).

Fried and Ginsburg Study

A subsequent study by Steven Fried and Norman Ginsburg expanded on Christiaen’s study by attempting
“… to identify specific cognitive, perceptual-motor, and emotional gains produced by learning chess and which may account for improved performance as demonstrated in Christiaen’s study.”

The Fried and Ginsburg study used three measures for assessing cognitive skills: the block design subtest of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R), the picture completion subtest of the WISC-R, as an indicator of visual awareness to detail; and the Survey of School Attitudes, as a measure of regard for school. The study design used three treatment conditions: one group received chess instruction twice a week for eighteen weeks, another attended a biweekly ‘rap’ session for the same period, while the third group acted as a no-contact control group.

The results of the study failed to clearly identify any specific area of significant differentiation between groups. The picture completion taste, however, showed a trend in the predicted direction with the chess group scoring highest, the counseling group next, followed the no-contact control group. In the other two test categories significant gender related differences within the chess group was noted. The authors hypothesize that gender related factors such as male competitiveness and aggressiveness are involved, but admit that further research is require to explore these factors.

The “Value of Chess as a Learning Aid Part III”, will discuss another study which provides compelling evidence that chess makes your kids smarter! It will be available shortly on this website.

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