Chess is one of those games that has always eluded me – or perhaps I’ve always eluded it. Presented as the reserve of incredibly bright and mathematically minded children, or husky old gentlemen with moustaches that smell of cigar and pipe smoke, I suppose the game carries a slight air of intimidation with it.
But I’ve always been incredibly jealous of people who are able to play chess, sensing that I’m missing out on a critical experience – even though I wouldn’t be able to tell you what that experience is…
Well this will be the week that all of the above is rectified: I’m going to learn how to play chess.
You don’t have to search far before you come across about a million articles telling you how great chess is for the brain. To list all the magical benefits, apparently the game:
- Promotes brain growth
- It exercises both sides of the brain
- Raises your IQ
- Helps prevent Alzheimer’s
- Sparks your creativity
- Increases problem-solving skills
- Teaches planning and foresight
- Improves reading skills
- Optimizes memory improvement
- Improves recovery from stroke or disability
…and you can fit a game into a lunch break.
If you don’t know how to play chess, there are lots of online guides, although the best way to learn seems to be from actually playing the game, so ask around the office and see if there’s anyone who’s willing to teach you. You’ll also need to ask someone to bring in a chess board, or perhaps you could convince your HR department that they need to invest in some games for the staff room?
If chess isn’t your thing, or there’s absolutely no-one around to teach it to you, pick another board game – Scrabble, Backgammon, Risk – anything as long as the game keeps changing with each move and you have to keep strategising and thinking ahead. The idea is to exercise your brain and keep your opponent on their toes. Just remember not to be a sore loser, especially if it’s your manager that you’re playing against.