The modern version of chess spread in Europe, Asia and Russia during the 10th century. It is a table game of extraordinary beauty and power and it will follow the human race forever. It is a democratic game and all, men and women, poor and rich can play at the same level. There is only one prerequisite: having a brain.
The game demands concentration, spatial and sustained attention, planning, reasoning, strategy, decision making, imagination (creativity), defense, patience, self-control, depth of calculation, resistance, courage and manipulation and mental flexibility. All types of memory are involved: immediate memory, episodic, prospective, spatial (pattern recognition), work, semantic memory (theoretical knowledge). The game develops the « mentalizing » because it is necessary to continually start thinking with the brain of the opponent to prevent his plans of attack or defense. Chess is a war game, and war is like love (you need to struggle and defense to arrive to the king or the queen).
The brain is the organ of the human body that consumes more glucose. Two-hours playing consumes calories as one-hour walking. Finally, chess play, is fitness!
As far as neurology is concerned, the chess game activates the left (logical and verbal thought) and the right hemispheres (spatial attention), the frontal lobes, the fusiform gyrus, the secondary and tertiary areas of the temporo-parietal junction at work. occipital and the caudate nucleus.
Several functional MRI studies have shown that the brains of chess masters differ from controls in the more intense activation of brain regions involved in working memory, spatial memory, and spatial navigation.
Scientific data has already shown that staying mentally active prevents Alzheimer’s disease.
Activities that stimulate the brain increase the number of neuronal synaptic connections and dendrites. The chess could therefore increase one’s own « cognitive reserve », increase neural connections and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
There are very few scientific studies on this subject. It’s time to start studying and playing!