Chess is a pursuit that involves learning multiple skills to completely develop. One just not be able to play effectively without acquiring tons of them, which is why it takes a lot of time to master.
What exact mastery do all chess players share? Like any other field there must be something in common that they have within the ranks.
Here’s the complete list of all the skills you can learn in chess:
- Memorization skills
- Tactical proficiency
- Ability to judge critical moments
- Problem-Solving skills
- Strategic thinking
- Abstract reasoning
- Pattern recognition
- Analytical thinking
- Physical Endurance
- Mental Endurance
This is quite a diversity for a simple board game that can be played by almost anyone. There’s not a lot of barriers to entry in starting to learn the game, you just got to well, play.
I’m going to explain each skill one by one in order to clarify some points. We need some context on how these things can actually be learned (through this medium).
Let us start immediately.
Which skills are strictly only useful in playing chess?
It cannot be denied that there exists ingenuity necessary over the board that cannot transfer to other things in life. This does not make it useless in any way, it is just a form of art that one can appreciate.
Some skills that are strictly learned within the bound of chess are opening mastery, tactical prowess, calculating efficiency, and positional recognition.
There are definitely a lot of things that are limited in usage specific to the game. One of which is the memorization at extended lengths of chess openings as well as their branches.
You’ll be memorizing a lot of theoretical openings that would give you an edge at the initial stages of the game. This ability of course is not useful outside of chess but is definitely interesting for those who like it.
Include to that another component that is necessary to win a chess game, tactics. Tactical (chess) skill is the ability to find combinations that can significantly lead to an advantage.
This knowledge is developed without much influence/factoring in the individual’s intelligence. I say that this is strictly within the game since you can’t really use this stuff outside of chess (tactical context is different).
Masters of the game have completely integrated all this wisdom into their own repertoire. In fact, professional players have the capability to play simple positions without much thought.
They are good enough to conserve calculation efforts to only give value to tasks that actually matter. This way they are able to focus their time and energy better which also is a type of skill (conservation effort).
A single glance is usually enough of a diagnosis to understand the situation. Advanced chess players are able to realize the essence of a position, basically if it can be won or should be a draw.
Which skills can you develop in chess that are applicable in most jobs?
We have already talked about skills that are only applicable in the context of chess, but there are also other things that are transitional. I mean those that can actually be useful in the real world (or our jobs).
Chess skills that are applicable in most interest in life would be problem-solving skills, creativity, strategic thinking, abstract reasoning, planning, and decision-making.
You would solve a lot of issues that could arise unexpectedly over the board. Chess develops a player’s problem-solving abilities that could be applied to the real world.
Granted it will be a different type of problem-solving but should be training in itself. You would need creativity in solving problems which could be developed by consistent play.
The ability to create innovative approaches to problems (creativity) is a major skill useful in all pursuits. This is the skill to think outside the box for efficiently handling things the new way.
Adding to this chess requires a lot of strategic thinking, which are options that will be useful in the long term. This form of mindset is of course applicable to making corporate decisions.
The tendency to plan way ahead in the future for long term gains is an important component of chess mastery. This added perspective (insight) can make individuals understand the value of small things in bigger pictures.
We would try to address issues that are not visible at the moment using only our heads. Formulating theoretical positions that are not within the board is a form of abstract reasoning, which lets us solve problems without them being present.
Decision-making is especially huge, you would be making selections on things that are occasionally both viable which is pretty difficult. Weighing options is an everyday dilemma that we need to face and chess helps with that.
Which skills can you develop in chess that are only applicable in specific fields?
There are definitely (chess) abilities that can apply to a broader range of fields. But there are those specialized ones that are specifically useful in selected industries.
Pattern recognition, memorization, pruning, and analytical thinking are all abilities in chess that can be useful in engineering, logistics, and organizational operations.
Pattern recognition in principle can be useful in some parts of architecture and logistics. Remembering specific patterns in handling different tasks can help us discover new ways/proven methods of doing things.
Especially in engineering, memorization is a must if you’re going after the intricacies of the creation process. The ability to memorize extended variations can sharpen well, memorization which is essential in some activities.
Adding to this pruning is incredibly valued in organizational settings (which can also be learned with chess). Pruning is the skill to cut down options that are less likely to produce results in order to work on things that matter which is applicable in task management.
You would be pouring to develop different processes that are more effective than before (analytical thinking). Analytical thinking is a webbed component in the pursuit of chess (since you will be analyzing/evaluating lines all the time)
This as you can imagine is a component of self/multiple correcting, that can apply in managerial environments.
Are there health-related skills that come with playing chess?
Health-related skills are actual skills that need investment in time/energy to develop. Most people don’t know this but chess hosts various health-related skills that you can acquire.
Health-related skills that you can get by playing chess are conditioning efforts, physical endurance, mental endurance, and extended concentration.
You need to have a proper conditioning routine before going to any tournament, the physical and mental stress there is no joke.
If you want full details of how exactly are tournaments stressful you can read this article (will open in a new tab). But essentially you would be playing for some ridiculous amount of hours straight with a lot of pressure needed to be shaken.
Proper conditioning before the day is the key to survive this tribulation (which is a skill). Some people don’t realize this but one of the main concerns is the breakdown of the backside/backbone while playing.
Playing chess involves sitting for extended periods of time, physical endurance is needed to last as much as possible. I mean even employees need special time just to relax their backs (from extended sitting), which reflects the difficulties.
And let’s not forget the elephant in the room, mental exhaustion is a real thing too and can vary depending on a player’s mental endurance. It’s hard to be at peak performance mentally when the brain’s naturally tired.
Chess tournaments last for ridiculous amounts of hours, the ability to concentrate is really useful. This is definitely helpful (concentration) and having such is a sign of a healthy brain.
Are there any self-developmental skills that you can learn by playing chess?
Self-developmental skills are actual mastery that requires some practice to develop. And exposure to chess will definitely let these qualities in the spotlight.
Being able to remain calm (composure), adaptiveness, and confidence are development skills you can get by playing chess.
You see, chess is played in a time setting where pressure is on, compactness is the ability to remain calm in these situations. You got to learn how to make the right decisions in such short periods of time when the brain is panicking.
This is a self-developmental skill that would allow us to tackle stressful situations head-on (composure).
Flexibility too (adaptiveness) is something you will learn from playing continuously. After all it’s very unlikely that everything would go to plan for the setup we want to play, things can go south where the skill to adapt is necessary.
The combination of these two (composure and adaptiveness) will organically build one’s self-esteem over time.
And frankly this does not exclusively apply to only chess but in a serious competitive environment in general.
You are likely to go against opponents who are way stronger than you and try to defeat them anyway, this builds confidence like you’ve never seen before. This creates a rock-hard mindset that would allow opposition of struggles head-on (which is pretty important).
Do you have all the skills that chess naturally develops?
There are definitely a diversity of capabilities you will get to master (on the side) while playing chess. This alone can help attract people to learn some basics of the game.
Though in my personal opinion you can get this much benefit from playing anything else, chess is just a good medium to do it. It is entertaining, interesting, and competitive which is enough for me even without the added qualities.
If you want, you should at least give it a try to see for yourself you won’t really lose a lot as long as there is an absence of obsession. I have certainly seen some, sleep well and play chess.