All academic subjects, as well as chess, provide a simple and direct way to develop the three lower-order thinking skills - Remembering, Understanding and Applying.
However, things are quite different when it comes to the three higher-order skills - Analysing, Evaluating, and Creating. Academic subjects rarely provide a way to teach these.
An issue for students from poverty is the underdevelopment of thinking skills due to an environment that lacks enrichment. The gap in development is a result of the impoverished social context. Chess as a way of "learning through play" provides the social context in which to develop or remediate thinking skills ..." [Joseph Eberhard, Ed.D]
Those three skills – analysis, evaluation, and creation – are all involved at every step of a chess game! It is a perfect description of chess playing.