Ilya’s post prompted me to recall something a bit different about chess and thinking.
My father taught me to play chess when I was small. It will help you learn to think better, he said. So I played, and eventually got to be pretty good for a casual player.
At some point, quite a while after I started to win pretty regularly when playing him (so I don’t think his motivation was to stop losing…), he gave me the other piece of advice: Learning to play chess, he said, will help you learn to think better. But only up to a point. Past that point, it will only help you learn to think better about chess.
Wise advice, I concluded, and turned to other things.