Aah, chess has had such a positive impact on me! In terms of mental performance, it's improved my memory, my concentration, my problem solving skills, and, strangely enough, my social dexterity! I accept that these improvements are influenced by many things, but I believe chess has had a remarkable impact.
It's had a huge effect on my studies - perhaps a minor negative effect because I spend more time on chess outside of class than I do studying! But there's definitely been a huge positive effect, because it changes the way that I analyse problems (incredibly useful for an engineering course). I've found that any problem - whether it be physical, abstract or social - can be dissected in a way similar to a chess problem; there's always an optimal solution, and it's only uncovered by considering every detail of information that is available.
Outside of academics, chess has altered the way that I view various aspects of life, in too many ways to detail. This is largely influenced by this video [1:34:50] with Garry Kasparov. He's also written a book, How Life Imitates Chess, which I'm very eager to read.
On top of all that, it's the greatest game ever created! It's such fun, and an excellent way to meet all sorts of interesting people!
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