The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is committed to gathering and sharing knowledge about the impact of playing chess on student outcomes. The Chess Club’s interest and participation in research on chess supports its mission to increase awareness of the educational value of chess. The Chess Club is engaged in the following research activities:
- The Chess Club commissioned a rigorous and comprehensive review of research on the overall impact of scholastic chess programs. The review can be used to inform education decision-makers about implementing effective educational programs in schools.
- The Chess Club provides access to chess studies through its research portal.
- The Chess Club invites researchers to share their insights and highlight trends in chess through its Blog.
- The Chess Club partners with researchers to evaluate the Chess Club’s after-school scholastic chess program in school districts in Missouri.
- The Chess Club engages a strong group of academic researchers and practitioners in a chess research advisory panel that provides guidance on methodology and strategies to facilitate new research on chess.
Click here to access the studies included in the literature review of chess.
Click here to check out the Chess Club’s blog, including guest posts by prominent chess researchers.
Literature Review of Chess
In a systematic review of the literature, this report commissioned by the Chess Club examined the degree to which existing empirical evidence supports the theory that participation in chess programs, whether designed as in-school or after-school programs, resulted in improved academic, cognitive, and/or behavioral outcomes for school-aged children. Twenty-four studies met a set of pre-determined criteria for eligibility and were included in analyses. The literature review found that after-school chess programs had a positive and statistically significant impact on mathematics outcomes and in-school chess interventions had a positive and statistically significant impact on mathematics and cognitive outcomes. While the two primary outcomes are based on studies that used rigorous research design methodologies, the results should be interpreted cautiously given the small number of eligible studies that the pooled results encompass (two high-quality after-school studies and six high-quality in-school studies). The after-school chess studies examined competitive chess clubs and provided very little detail about how the programs were implemented. On the other hand, the in-school chess studies examined scholastic chess programs that use chess as a springboard to work on cognitive and academic skills that are critical to student performance. The positive mathematics and cognitive outcome results from in-school chess studies may be explained by the chess programs being incorporated into students’ weekly academic schedules, instruction during the school day leading to higher attendance rates and lower attrition, administering the program for an extended period of time, and connecting the intervention with math instruction and curriculum.
With assistance from our research partners, the Chess Club has designed assessments that are being piloted with students in after-school chess programs in Saint Louis. The assessments look at three broad types of outcomes. First, the assessments determine if the after-school chess program experience is increasing students' confidence in their ability to play chess. Second, the assessments measure if students are catching the chess "bug," and will continue to make chess a part of their lives after the class concludes. Finally, the assessments measure the impact of chess on certain noncognitive and character skills, such as increased school engagement and enjoyment, higher feelings of self-efficacy, and increased self-control and determination. After learning from this pilot phase, the goal is to launch a more rigorous evaluation of our after-school chess programs, including an experimental study with a randomized treatment and control group.
Research Advisory Panel
The research advisory panel is currently undergoing changes and will be updated once individuals are confirmed.