London, Jan 24 : Chess lessons might improve children's behaviour, say researchers.
The study, conducted by Aberdeen University staff, found that youngsters who started playing chess became mentally sharper and their behaviour also improved in comparison to those who did not.
"The big question is why this is happening," The Scotsman quoted Dod Forrest, of the university's School of Education, as saying.
"We looked at reading skills before they play chess and afterwards, and it improves significantly, but we don't fully understand it.
"The social aspect could be just as important as the development of the cognitive process chess playing demands. Playing in tournaments leads to travelling about a bit and getting involved in a wider section of society, building contacts and confidence," Forrest added.
In the yearlong study, the researchers studied children from two primary schools in Aberdeen where free school meals are the norm.
It was found that disruptive pupils would volunteer to help out in after-school chess classes and that spilled over into improved behaviour in other classes.
"We noticed that being interested and enthusiastic about chess led to a welcome modification in behaviour elsewhere," Forrest said.