Chess: Cross-Training The Brain

Chess: Cross-Training The Brain
Published at the Lizanne Falsetto, Aspirations for Wellness & Longevity Blog, FEBRUARY 6, 2019

Several months back I began taking chess lessons from Seth Makowsky, founder of Poison Pawn. At Poison Pawn, chess isn’t just a game, it’s about strategy – considering what your moves will be 4-5 steps ahead. It’s a vehicle to cross-train the brain, and tap into greater potential in your life and work. I didn’t realize what a ‘game-changer’ the board really is until I started learning chess through the Poison Pawn training method. Now, I’m hooked and wanted to share some of my discoveries about what this experience has brought to my life.

The brain is the most complex organ in the human body and responsible for all our body’s functions – we could not breathe, move, love, or remember without it. While it stops developing in our mid-20’s, it is possible to improve (train) our adult brain thanks to its plasticity (the ability to change throughout our lives) and strengthen old connections and create new ones. The key is to keep learning and engaging your brain to stave off memory issues.

“As I honed my skill and strategy on the chessboard, I began to notice remarkable and direct transformation of my life off the board. I started making smarter decisions, avoided traps, and compartmentalized setbacks. The more I trained, the better moves I made in every aspect of my life. I wanted to codify this method to share with others.” – Seth Makowsky

Seth’s method employs Concentrated Decision-Making (CDM) lessons to train his clients (which include top athletes, celebrities, and CEOs) which allows people to ‘quickly and strategically assess situations to make the sharpest, most powerful decisions available.’ The results are improvements in these six areas:

  • Memory
  • Deliberation speed
  • Mindset flexibility
  • Focus & awareness
  • Emotional resilience
  • Team/group cohesion

What I’ve noticed thus far for myself: Chess requires concentration and focus. Now, I have the game on my mind all the time. I replay moves in my head considering the various outcomes. Already, my problem solving skills have improved, I’m planning better – more strategically. Thinking more about my actions to ensure they will elicit the responses I am looking for. Lately, I’ve been more creative, it’s helping me to work both the left and right sides of the brain evenly. Something else that has become abundantly clear is that we, as a society, are primarily driven to maintain the physical body, but an equal focus needs to be given to wellness (brain health in particular). So much so that I’ve organized a Wellness & Longevity Workshop for my women’s YPO (Young Presidents Organization) group and will be featuring herbs & food that are good for the brain such as: Ginkgo Biloba and walnuts.

“These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.” – Kobe Bryant

Start playing chess and you’ll start developing the competitive edge for the win.

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