We keep reminding schools, principals and parents about the many benefits of chess. But what are they and how do they work? Good point – so let’s take one of these benefits and investigate: Time Management.
If you have ever attended a tournament at your state chess club or maybe you have even had the opportunity to see or play interstate or international events, you would have noticed the use of chess clocks.Depending on the tournament, each player is allocated a certain amount of time – for example 1 hour each – and every time they do a move, they press the clock for their time to stop ticking and the time of the opponent to start. If one player uses all his allocated time, they lose their game – yes even if they are in a winning position. When your time is up, the game is over.
It is therefore very important to learn how to play with a clock, but most importantly to learn how to manage your time. When you start playing chess, your games may only take 10 or 15 minutes to complete, but as you get better, the games will take longer as you need more time to think over the moves and review all the possibilities. You will learn how to divide your thinking time – do you take your time at the beginning, making sure everything is set up correctly increasing your chances to win in the end – or do you play quicker in the beginning, trust your instinct and take more time at the end to make sure you make all the right moves.
Playing long games will improve your forward thinking and teach you how to calm down and utilise your time wisely. Blitz games (each player will only have 5 minutes on the clock) will teach you how to trust your gut and prioritise quickly.
These skills are of course not only useful for playing chess, but will help you for the rest of your life. At work or at school you will need to plan ahead for meetings and assignments, but also be able to quickly assess an urgent situation and make a quick decision.
So next time you play a game of chess, why not place a chess timer next to the board and see how you go with managing time, a skill that will help you for the rest of your life.