Ever imagine making hit music like Pharrell, painting like Georgia O’Keefe, or inventing like Blaise Pascal? For some people, artistic and creative worlds were opened to them after their brain injury. Extraordinary phenomena like these challenge our understanding of how the brain works―and has unexpected implications for the science and practice of rehabilitation.

Can a game of chess be used as a way to rehabilitate brain function for adults with traumatic brain injury? This article explores neuroscience research on chess and brain function. It shares insights into how this ancient two-person game has been used in neurorehabilitation to enhance memory, attention, and problem-solving in populations with and without cognitive disorders.