Somerset Times

Chess and Cognitive Thinking Skills – A Study Conducted at Somerset College




Somerset Times Edition

Week 4, Term Three, 2019

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The researcher, Graeme Gardiner, wishes to thank the headmaster, staff, 203 students and their parents who opted into the study. The study would not have been possible without the assistance and cooperation of all those involved.

Graeme conducted the study in fulfilment of his Masters degree. In summary, 301 out of 316 school principals, teachers and parents of children who learn chess responded to a voluntary online survey of 34 questions. 301 out of 316 responders strongly agreed or slightly agreed that learning to play chess helps children with a range of thinking skills.

2019 - T3 - W4 - chess stock

Despite this strong response, the Somerset study found no statistically significant benefits for the chess or music groups in students’ cognitive thinking skills as measured by school tests. For his doctoral study, Graeme’s attention will focus on other types of students’ thinking, such as critical, creative and planning. Why do so many chess players believe that learning to play chess has helped them with a range of thinking skills? The answer could be in plain sight, but not yet identified.

An article on the subject published in the Conversation last week can be found [here].(

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