Kindred’s Special: Treatment is Responsive to Chess Play

The theme of a 1962 address by Dr. Bernard Locke, Chief of Psychology Service at the New York City Veterans Administration Hospital, in which the therapeutic value of chess was illustrated by a remarkable case history.  This was reported in the magazine, CHESS REVIEW, 1962.

One of Dr. Locke’s patients had experienced severe brain damage depriving him of his vocabulary and plunged him into a hopeless despondency.  He was saved from this prospect when Dr. Locke learned that his patient had been fond of chess play as a college student.  So effective was this and subsequent treatment using chess  as tool in the therapy that Dr. Locke was able to bring about a dramatic and complete recovery.

Aware of the good work being done at the Veterans Administration, Mrs. Carolyn Marshall, the wife of the former US Champion and Grandmaster, Frank Marshall, serving chess as the Secretary of the Marshall Chess Club of New York, donated copies of CHESS REVIEW which Dr. Locke had acknowledged with the comment that many VA patients “find chess an excellent release from the boredom, tension and anxiety of prolonged hospitalization.”

In the future Mrs. Marshall contributed chess sets and boards to the VA while volunteering chess players helped raise spirits and provided good work in such a worthy cause.


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