Retaining Focus is Child’s Play

Being able to completely immerse yourself in chess, either during games or when studying, is clearly going to benefit your chess development.

It is well known that some children can suffer from attention deficit disorder or something similar, but actually children can be much better than adults at focusing on one thing. This might be partly why they are so good at learning and absorbing information quickly when they find something that interests them.

Anyone with children, or who teaches children, will know that they can become so engrossed in something that they are able to completely zone out whatever is not the focus of their attention – such as parents and teachers on occasion! If something interests them it is effortless for them to completely focus on it. They don’t need lessons in how to concentrate, find something that interests them and they will be the ones giving the lessons to parents and teachers in how to concentrate.

This ability to focus, and zone out everything else, is known as ‘inattentional blindness‘ and everyone needs this to some degree. It is linked to brain development and hence children, especially younger children, are going to be much less aware of surroundings. I’m speculating, but I wonder if dedicated junior chess players are benefiting from this ability to focus so well. The main thing is that children are naturally interested in chess, not pushed into doing it by well-meaning parents. Not all children are interested in the same things. It would be great if every child could have the opportunity to learn chess and decide for themselves if they wish to pursue it further. Anyone with a child who loves chess is not going to have a problem getting them to focus on it, quite the reverse, it is their school homework that might be the problem!

Angus James