Chess and ADHD kids

Chess has been studied as a potential therapeutic tool for children with ADHD, offering cognitive and behavioral benefits. The research explores its effects on attention, impulse control, and executive functioning.

DI Ashirwad Tupe

6/2/20242 min read

ADHD kid
ADHD kid

Chess has been further investigated as a valuable therapeutic tool for offering children with ADHD cognitive and behavioral benefits. This review will delineate the effect on attention, impulse control, and executive functioning.

1. Cognitive Improvements:

- Altogether, one study found that attention and hyperactivity outcomes significantly improved for ADHD-diagnosed children participating in an 11-week chess training. SNAP-IV and the Conner's Rating Scales (CPRS-HI) yielded large effect sizes, indicating a reduction in ADHD symptom severity [(Blasco-Fontecilla et al., 2016)](

2. Increased Inhibition and Emotional Regulation:

- In a study of a virtual reality chess game, "The Secret Trail of Moon," researchers found heightened emotional regulation and attention of teenagers with ADHD due to chessplay with real-time individualized feedback. They displayed better emotional control and reduced inattention [(Rodrigo-Yanguas et al., 2023)](

3. Improved Focus:

- This is supported by another study that found significant improvement in periods of concentration and listening skills among students with ADHD. This change was recorded using pre- and post-tests with the Conner's Teachers Rating Scale and school language listening tests, showing improved cognitive focus [(ElDaou & El-Shamieh, 2015)](

4. Behavioral Benefits:

- Both chess with ADHD diagnosis and without ADHD players scored higher on inhibitory control and less impulsive compared with chess non-players. This was up to the level of visual-spatial and go/no-go task performances [(Shahar & Avital, 2020)](è).

5. Emotional and Executive Functioning:

- Such a finding was also found in a study that compared severe video games and online chess; the participants of the chess group improved in their emotional regulation and inattention. Multimodal improvement was done in such a way as to effectively treat the symptoms of ADHD through chess training [(Rodrigo-Yanguas et al., 2021)](


The central point is that chess can be a valuable adjunct to the treatment of ADHD because its rules can structure attention, increase inhibition, emotionally self-regulate, and continue to hold attention. The rule-based structure helps the child develop cognitive and behavioral control, hence offering other non-pharmacological supports to standard ADHD therapies.

How chess helps ADHD kids