There is an old joke which goes that there are three levels
of chess masters. There are the Jewish chess masters, the
Russian chess masters and the Jewish- Russian chess masters.
Chess has always been the classic game of the Jews. It was
the favorite relaxation for yeshivaliet and there are
several famous stories in which chess plays a key role.
Nowadays, computers are pushing chess out of its position as
Favorite Game No. 1 but there are many aspects of old
fashioned chess which computer games cannot replace, even
When two players are facing each other over a chess board,
they are establishing a human relationship in which they are
challenging each other through a highly structured
relationship. The options available are limited and each
knows what his opponent's options are - - and he also knows
that his opponent knows what his options are. The game of
chess offers a unique opportunity for a person to put himself
into someone else's mindset completely. At the same time, he
knows that his opponent is trying to get himself into his
Chess, therefore, offers valuable training in seeing
situations from someone else's viewpoint. What is he
thinking? What is he thinking I am thinking?
Chess also trains a person to develop strategies. The more a
person can think ahead, the more sophisticated will be his
strategies. It also trains him to be flexible and to change
his plans as a result of his opponent's moves.
Like any game, chess trains the player to accept victory and
defeat and to learn from past mistakes.
In these days of ADD and ADHD and other attention deficits, a
good, long game of chess will certainly help train a person
to think deeply and for an extended time and not to make
decisions in haste.