The Benefits of Brain Games

The following article was distributed by the North American Precis Syndicate Inc.
“Use your head” could be smarter advice than you might think. Experts now say that keeping your brain sharp could be a simple matter of exercising it with the occasional mental gymnastic.

For instance, something as simple-and fun-as playing a game of chess could help your brain stay on top of its game. America’s Foundation for Chess says chess enhances self-discipline, memory, analytical skills and a host of additional qualities in players. And many schools now offer chess to students.

Creating a Mental Workout

So how can you get involved with chess? You could try joining a community chess club, but if you’d rather exercise your brain at home, you may want to check out video games that can teach you to play chess or let you compete against other remote players.

For example, “Chessmaster(r): The Art of Learning” for the Nintendo DS(tm) system and “Chessmaster(r): Grandmaster Edition” for PC feature chess lessons and tutorials from Josh Waitzkin, International Master and eight-time National Chess Champion.

Players can practice their newly learned skills in single-player mode or flex their mental muscles by challenging friends in multiplayer mode on PC via LAN or Internet and on the Nintendo DS through wireless play. Plus, because the Nintendo DS is a handheld system, people can play chess on the go-at the airport, in the park or wherever else they happen to be.

New Twists

To help keep your workout interesting, the video games also include new features such as chess-related minigames packed with music, sound effects, a high-score record and 20 levels of gameplay.

One of the games, called Minefield, uses chess pieces to locate mines hidden in the board, while Fork My Fruit uses chess pieces to fork fruit of the same kind. Ubisoft, the maker of the Chessmaster series, has even collaborated with the Hip-Hop Chess Federation to present an all-star chess tournament pitting some of America’s top rappers, DJs and martial artists in a head-to-head battle of the brains. The idea is to keep the game new and exciting for players-and their minds.

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