Friday, February 15, 2013

Chess as Therapy

 Chess is known to be a form of psychotherapy. Here's a case of a man named David who has Asperger's Syndrome. He recounted his interesting chess therapy experience below:

"As someone who "suffers" from Asperger's Syndrome, I can say that for me at least, chess is extremely therapeutic. Since one of my symptoms is a high IQ, I find that it helps to have something difficult to think about. I can even understand things like  say, basic mating patterns, fundamental tactical themes, color complexes, weak/strong squares, minor piece battles, how material, time and quality relate to one another, static vs. dynamic imbalances, nuances of pawn structures or positional exchange sacrifices etc etc, and even chew gum at the same time. It even helps with my pathologically short attention span and hyper-focus. I was taught the game at age 5 by my first shrink for exactly these reasons. Obsession is a danger, but can be kept in check by those responsible for my well-being (and if I didn't obsess on chess I would just obsess on something else). Chess keeps me from factoring n-degree polynomials (n>3) over and over in my head, something that's nowhere near as pleasant as it might sound. I think that everyone is different, but for some of us "psychiatric patients", it truly helps."

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