Chess for Dogs?

Viktor Korchnoi (b 1931) is my all-time favorite chess player; he’s had the longest and most productive career of any player in history.  He may be the greatest player never to become World champion.

Achieving his grandmaster title in 1956, his current rating of 2519 places him as the 4th  ranked in his home country of Switzerland. Grandmaster Korchnoi has been playing world class chess for nearly 60 years.

Viktor Korchnoi 1955

GM Viktor Korchnoi 2011 – Wikimedia Commons

I mention chess and performance longevity because I am currently reading through papers on canine cognitive dysfunction, Alzheimer’s disease and ageing brains. I came across the video below and it provides a quick overview of the benefits of challenging your brain.

Now of course you cannot teach your dog to play chess (Husky Playing Chess) but you can challenge his mind in various ways – that’s what is important. Basic training and teaching tricks* is a wonderful way to engage your dog’s mind in various problem solving activities.

I’ve just started going through the literature so I can’t definitively say if dogs experience similar protective benefits from cognitive challenges but it can’t hurt and it’s another fun thing to do with your dog. And it also serves a dual purpose of keeping your dog physically active which is always good.

And since I love the game, I will give it one more cheer.

In addition of providing some protection for the elderly, in the young it can elevate critical thinking skills and school grades, improving language and math skills.

* Author declares he has no financial interest.

Further Reading

Viktor Korchnoi’s 80th Birthday Celebration

Viktor Korchnoi’s 80th birthday clock simul

Chess and standard test scores

Chess Research Bibliography

Chess Benefits for Kids


One thought on “Chess for Dogs?

  1. I must admit, I just purchased the Karen Pryor Bow Wow video and I am sooo excited to try some of that stuff with my two! They know a multitude of tricks already, but I’ve recently been trying to teach my youngest how to clean up her toys, and I hit quite a roadblock. I was ecstatic when I read this post which lead me to the DVD which teaches you how to teach that trick! Thank you!!!

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