Effectiveness of a chess-training program for improving cognition, mood, and quality of life in older adults: A pilot study

Geriatr Nurs. 2021 Jul-Aug;42(4):894-900. doi: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2021.04.026. Epub 2021 Jun 4.


Background: Regular practice of a cognitively stimulating activity, such as chess, can help maintain a healthy cognitive, social, and psychological state during the aging process.

Objective: To evaluate the effects of a chess-training program on cognitive status, mood, and quality of life (QoL) in a sample of institutionalized and semi-institutionalized older adults.

Method: A nonrandomized, controlled pilot study with repeated measures (pre- and post-intervention) was conducted.

Results: Analyses revealed a positive impact of the chess program on general cognitive status (p < 0.001) and promising evidence (p < 0.043) of an impact on attention, processing speed, and executive functions. The participants in the intervention group also showed significant improvement in QoL scores (p < 0.021).

Conclusions: A 12-week chess-training protocol with two 60-minute sessions per week improved cognition and QoL in a sample of institutionalized and semi-institutionalized older adults. Further research with larger samples is needed to explore its effects in depth.

Keywords: Chess; Cognition; Cognitive reserve; Mood; Nonpharmacological interventions; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Cognition*
  • Executive Function
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life*