Both education and chess communities have speculated about the potential for scholastic chess to impact student motivation, engagement, and achievement. Several studies link chess to a variety of student learning indicators, but they all share one or more fundamental limitations: small sample size, selection bias, or poor implementation of chess instruction. For several years, we have partnered with the Saint Louis Chess Club (STLCC), the premier chess club in world, to support their mission to raise awareness around the educational value of scholastic chess.
Our researchers conducted a systematic review of chess studies (available in the Chess Club’s research portal) to assess the impact of chess on a variety of cognitive measures and highlight gaps in the research. We then collaborated with STLCC and St. Louis area schools to determine best practices in chess program design to engage students in the game, develop academic perseverance and learning strategies, and ultimately improve student outcomes. We are currently working with STLCC and researchers from the University of Missouri and Saint Louis University to implement a rigorous five-year study of the effect of scholastic chess on historically underserved students. This work will contribute to the research base as the first large-scale rigorous longitudinal study of the impact of scholastic chess on a variety of cognitive and non-cognitive measures.