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A hospital setting by definition concentrates on the body, its health status, its measurement, its need, etc. from day to day, from hour to hour. It is “unhealthy” for an adolescent child to forget his/her mental development during this physical healing time, so a game like chess gives the opportunity for mental growth, and a chance to “forget” the physical problems for a time, and concentrate on the abstract struggle in the game. It reminds the child that he/she is more than a body, that the mind is healthy and valuable. When an opponent engages the patient in this one-on-one activity, he/she is “visiting” the most valuable part of the patient. Any abstract reasoning during this time “takes the mind off” the perplexing ailment that is otherwise consuming the attention. Psychologically, the game returns the patient to a good balance of mind and body.
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