Do you know how to play chess? I honestly don’t (but I’m slowly learning). I have a mental block when it comes to learning all the different strategies.
My step-sister’s children all know how to play chess, and they are amazing at it. In fact, they beat my father often, and they are only young kids.
Where I work, we have a checkers set. Many times the kids refer to it as “chess.” I had to keep explaining to them that chess and checkers are two totally different games, even if the might have a similar game board. When it comes to checkers, I can play that pretty well.
- Develops perspective.
- Improves memory.
- Deepens focus.
- Elevates creativity.
- Boosts planning skills.
- Increases self-awareness.
- Protects against dementia.
- Helps ADHD.
Let’s not forget it keeps kids away from their television and computer screens, and it can be fun.
Learning chess might seem hard, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, anyone can learn how to understand chess, and how to play it.
Learning how to play chess starts with learning about the various pieces and what their “role” is in the game. Once you learn about the king, queen, knights, bishops and so forth, you can start to begin to learn different strategies that can help you win at the game of chess.
Having chess explained in simple, easy to understand language, is key to teaching a child how to play chess. A great source would be The Kids’ Book of Chess and Starter Kit, by Harvey Kidder, and illustrated by George Ermos.
This is more than just a book. The kit includes a chess board, 3-D chess pieces, and a full color instructional book. It’s published by Workman Publishing (ISBN: 978-1-5235-1603-2) and geared toward kids 8+.
I was sent a copy to review.
Inside the boxed set you’ll find an easy-to-read book that tells the reader all about the various “players” on the chess board.
The book is very easy to read and understand (even for me, who seems to have a “mental block” when it comes to understanding chess). The book also helps the reader learn about strategies on how to capture your opponents pieces.
Once your child feels confident to play chess, the set includes a chess board and 3-D chess pieces. There is even a small sack to keep the pieces in when not in use.
To use the pieces you first need to pop them all out of the thick cardboard that they are printed on. Thankfully they pop out very easily. The downside is that there are a lot of them to pop out.
To put the pieces together you have to slide one piece into the other (make sure they are matching pieces). The other downside is that when you are ready to clean up you need to un-do all the pieces in order to make them fit inside the provided sack. You might want to consider another container so that you don’t have to keep putting the pieces together and taking them apart every time you want to play the game.
The pieces themselves are colorful and a good size for smaller hands.
I took the set to work with me, since it’s my “work kids” that would be playing it. Surprisingly, one of my 5th graders knows how to play chess. I use him as my “reference” now (ha ha).
The younger kids initially thought it was checkers, and wanted to play the game as such. When I told them chess was played a different way, a few kids no longer wanted to play, but a few others were intrigued and wanted to learn, mostly because they have heard of chess before, but had no idea what it really was.
Getting the kids to read the book in order to learn was easier said than done. Sadly, getting my “work kids” to read at all is difficult. I have a few readers (thankfully) but others (mostly the boys) who have no interest at all.
I did get some kids to read the book together and try and learn the game together, which I thought was very nice. They tried to play the game together as well after they read through the book. I don’t think they fully grasp it just yet, but at least they show interest and they are trying (it would help if they were not distracted by the other kids in the program).
The one boy who does know how to play is looking forward to having others to play with. He said he’s tired of playing checkers and the other board games that we have.
If your child has interest in learning chess, or you want them to engage in some screen-free fun, why not pick up a copy of The Kids’ Book of Chess and Starter Kit. You can purchase it directly on the Workman Publishing website (you can find it here). I also saw the game on Amazon.
This would make a fun gift too!
*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.