One of the great joys of being a parent is watching your child learn new skills and excel in areas they truly enjoy. My daughter, Ginger, loves chess. I’m not much of a chess player, myself, so I didn’t know how to help her beyond the basic rules of the game.
Ginger playing with Pooh, a worthy opponent. 🙂
I did some research and came up with some easy ways to help her learn how to play chess. The best first-time, beginner chess board I found was the one shown in the picture above. It’s called “No Stress Chess” – and it’s partly a chess board, and partly a regular board game.
Basically, it comes with cards that teach your child the rules of chess in a fun, stress-free manner. And it also is just a regular chess board that your child can play once they have learned the rules of the game.
We’ve had No Stress Chess for three years now, and it’s held up remarkably well. I would say that was the best under $20 investment I could have made to teach my kids chess.
In addition, I also downloaded a few free chess apps for the iPad/iPhone, like this one on iTunes. Although I would prefer that the kids not have more screentime than they already do, if they’re playing chess I can handle their iPad obsession a little better. Ha!
I love having instructional and non-fiction books around the house to help teach things. I will often leave books on the coffee table or elsewhere, and wait for my kids to discover them for themselves. This always is easier than me “assigning” reading. If they discover books for themselves, they think it’s their idea, and will devour the books for hours.
Here are a few of the chess books I’ve bought for my kids in the past that they’ve loved. Some are more pictures, and some teach actual strategy. I usually buy these types of books used on Amazon because if I borrow them from the library, they get damaged by our toddler – or get lost and I stress about late fees. It’s been nice to have our own little chess library for the kids to read at their leisure – and I do find them often curled up with a book, reading about chess strategy or Bobby Fischer.
Speaking of Bobby Fischer – this is a great book on chess, suitable for middle school and up:
We’ve loved this book, which includes the 50 Deadly Checkmates. 🙂
This book is great for the slightly younger set – children who want to learn the basics of chess, but aren’t ready to know detailed strategy…
And last, but not least…I love all the DK Books for their beautiful photos, enriching history lessons, and overall quality. Whenever I see a DK book on a subject, I have to buy it for my kids. What can I say, I love this one, too!
And, of course – the most important thing of all is to simply PLAY chess! The more you practice, the better you get. As we like to say in our home: Practice makes progress. 🙂
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