Why Chess Tournaments are good for Remedial Learners

On the 3rd of August 2022, Japari held a chess tournament between their pupils, and they loved it. Every year, a chess tournament is held at Japari to improve young minds’ concentration, problem-solving skills, and creativity. Chess specifically helps remedial learners improve in academics and fundamental aspects of life. These are just some of the perks’ of chess. 

Chess Tournaments are relatively new in the space of schools and are a great way to get young minds working together and thinking logically. We are proud to have implemented this successfully in our school and hope to continue implementing it for years.

At Japari, we provide chess as an extra-mural activity. We understand the power of how chess can develop the young minds of our pupils and encourage our pupils to participate. This year’s tournament was a great success, and our pupils thoroughly enjoyed their participation. 

What is chess?

Chess game set up before chess tournament

A chess tournament is a series of games where a battle of minds occurs between individuals. It is a strategy game where a plan is developed. This game requires patience, concentration, intuition, and perseverance. 

Chess is a mind game that involves a lot of thinking and time. It requires prediction and problem-solving skills. Nonetheless, it helps develop our pupil’s thought processes and enables them to think logically.

Our teachers help our students understand the basics of chess. They are taught what every piece means and understand the basic moves. Our teachers allow our pupils to learn through play. We find this method the best, and our pupils quickly learn from their mistakes when they keep on losing. 

Once the basic rules are learnt, the game becomes much easier to understand and follow. Of course, if our pupils are stuck, our teachers will come and assist them. Our pupils are not alone; however, we encourage them to make mistakes and learn with their partners. 

Chess has been linked with improving pupils’ concentration, problem-solving, critical and creative thinking and math skills. It is also said to help with memory storage.

Instead of two bodies slamming into each other like in football, you’ve got the meeting of two minds which is just as powerful. 

Five reasons why chess is good for the brain

Chess pieces on chess board

Chess is a great activity to strengthen the muscles of your brain. Studies have stated that chess increases your IQ and helps with English and Math subjects. 

Improved concentration & memory

Chess gives pupils an incentive to stay in the game. If you lose focus, you lose a chess piece or, worse, the game. Once you get the hang of the game, you start to memorise patterns and understand how chess works. Pupils learn from their mistakes so that they can become better at chess and learn to beat their opponents. 

Playing chess improves your memory, and pupils can take these memory skills into other subjects, eventually enhancing their grades. 

Studies state that chess can improve symptoms of ADHD. Chess activates critical brain areas in visual processing, memory, planning and judgement and activates both the brain’s left and right hemispheres.

The left side of the brain is responsible for analytical thinking. The right side of the brain is responsible for creativity. Chess helps develop mathematical and creative skills. 

A study stated that chess effectively teaches patience and concentration to pupils with short attention spans and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Chess helps pupils with ADHD to sit still and focus on the game. If they do not focus, they lose, which is a great incentive to stay focused. 

Develops problem-solving skills

Pupils playing chess

Chess allows you to think of strategies to beat opponents and different scenarios for different moves. It is a critical thinking game; the better you get at it, the easier it is to think of strategies. 

Chess teaches strategy, and this creates thinking about two or three moves in advance instead of focusing only on what the next move of your chess piece will be. 

Teaches planning and long-term thinking 

Pupils thinking of their next move in chess

To win the game of chess, you must be able to predict multiple possibilities and outcomes to create a good plan. 

Forming a plan is similar to drawing a map. Learning to think ahead and plan where you need to position your pieces to trap, capture, or block your opponent’s pieces is vital to the game of chess.

Ultimately, the goal is to capture your opponent’s king, but patience and planning are key to getting there. A lot has to be done to set yourself up for success.

This is an excellent way for pupils to start thinking about life decisions. If I play with Lucus after school, I won’t be able to get my homework done in time. But if I ask Lucus to do homework together, we can play after we are done. We want our pupils to have this thought process where they see all the options for their future.

Increases social interaction

Pupils socialising and interacting in chess game

Although chess is usually an individual game, pupils interact with their opponents during the game. Chess is a healthy competitive game where pupils can learn from each other. After the game, our pupils shake hands regardless of who has won. 

Social and relationship-building skills are developed when pupils do what they love together. A common interest builds valuable relationships between players. Chess brings together children of different ages, races and genders in an activity they can all enjoy. 

At Japari, we commend our players for their excellent sportsmanship, and we make chess a suitable environment for pupils to make friends and enjoy the atmosphere. 

Encourages & rewards hard work

Teacher reading out names for next chess game

The harder you work, the luckier you get. Our teachers reward our pupils for hard work and perseverance in learning chess, creating an excellent skill for pupils to want to succeed later in their lives. 

Perseverance and patience are excellent skills that our pupils can take into their future studies at Japari and beyond. We do not only commend students that have done well in chess but also those that we see are taking the initiative and trying very hard to learn new strategies and get better at the game. Not only does this build up our pupils’ confidence, but it also allows pupils to see that there are different types of winning in life, and it does not always necessarily mean that you have to be the best at everything to win. 

Chess allows pupils to learn sportsmanship, how to win graciously and not give up when they have failed. Studies have linked chess to improved behaviour, improved studies and better self-image. At Japari, we notice these good qualities and encourage our pupils to participate. 

Improves academic performance 

Pupil about to move chess piece

A study in America for the special education department stated that by adding chess to their curriculum, chess enhanced pupils’ grades by up to 60%. Below are the statistics.

When the study began, they had 15 children enrolled in chess classes; two years later, they had 398. “The effects have been remarkable,” Brown says. “These children’s reading and math skills soared, and their socialising ability has increased substantially.”  55% of students showed significant improvement in academic performance after this brief introduction to chess. 

Academically, pupils are doing much better in class, and it’s in no small part because

of chess. How they feel about themselves and their self-esteem makes them all winners.

Chess tournaments

Pupil concentrating on chess game

Tournament chess games, which involve clocks to limit the total time each player can use, are also a fun way to practice making fast and accurate decisions under pressure. This skill can help students cope with the similar pressures of school exams. 

This is also a fun way to practise how to put the mind into focus, where intense

concentration increases alertness, the efficiency of thought processes, and ultimately mental


One of the essential goals of education is to teach children to think critically. Chess is an excellent tool to demonstrate the theme of critical thinking. 

At Japari, we aim to develop these fundamental skills at a young age to help our pupils excel in their future careers. 

To sum up

Pupil  thinking of strategy for chess

Chess is a strategic game that helps our pupil’s young minds grow and develop. We believe it is an excellent way for our pupils to improve their concentration, problem-solving, comprehension and mathematical skills. 

At Japari, we have seen all of the positive benefits chess has brought to our pupils’ lives, enabling them to improve their social skills, enhance their confidence and enjoy a different sport that only a number of schools have introduced as an extra mural.

At Japari, we care about providing a wholesome education which will stand our pupils in good stead in their future careers.  

Contact us for more information about this extra mural.

4 thoughts on “Why Chess Tournaments are good for Remedial Learners”

  1. Hi, I really would love for my son to play chess. What opportunities are there and where do tournaments take place i would really love for him to grow and have social networking, and to enable him to think strategically.

    • Hi Unice, thank you for getting in touch with us. We have chess as an extra mural at our school and normally play on a Thursday at 3pm. I hope this helps. If you’d like more information please feel free to contact admin@japari.co.za


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