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How to Teach your Child Chess When You Don’t Know How to Play Yourself

June 18, 2018

Like most parents, you probably want the absolute best learning experiences for your child, and by now you’ve probably heard that playing chess can increase intelligence and stimulate the brain in profound ways. In addition, playing chess can build character by developing sportsmanship skills, as well as patience and the benefits of delaying gratification by following a strategy through to completion.

Chess game

If you have little to no experience playing the game, you may be wondering how to teach kids to play chess when you don’t even know how to play yourself! Thankfully, Kids Academy is here to help! While you could simply sign your child up for local chess classes, you might find that your child won’t have anyone to play against once he or she masters the game.

Even more importantly, learning alongside your child will be much more meaningful, offering a compelling partner to play against, as well as quality time and experiences that and your child will remember for a lifetime. If you’re sold on learning to play chess with your child, you’ll first need to get your family a chess set. Once your gameboard is ready and your child eager to play, head over to the Kids Academy YouTube channel and watch each video and lesson in our new chess series. 

Get 60% off the Talented & Gifted membership and enroll in Kids Academy Chess Class! We have enlisted the help of certified chess instructor, Robert Lazorchak, to help teach you and your child how to play chess like the pros. Watch through our entire series of lessons to learn about the basics of the game, as well as sophisticated moves and strategies.

Follow the below steps to get started: 


Step 1: Learn the board and the basics

While watching, you and your child will learn about the fascinating history behind the game, and basic information about the chessboard, pieces, and their initial location on the board, as well as their moves. Familiarize yourself with basic starting moves, and set up your own chess set at home with your child to begin placing the pieces in their correct beginning spots. Look over the board carefully, and review the information again with your child, and along the way you’ll internalize it yourself! Learn more about how to introduce your child to chess.  

Step 2: Memorize each piece and their moves

It’s time to get to know the pieces better. Our lessons will take you through each and every piece, explaining each one, and its unique moves on the gameboard. While learning the moves that each piece makes on the board, you’ll also learn about special moves, such as castling and En passant.

Before learning the objective of gameplay, it’s important that you and your child understand basic rules for how each piece can be played. Practice this by taking turns with your child by moving the pieces on your chess set according to what you’ve learned. 

Step 3: Understand the purpose of the game

Now that you and your child know the basics of the gameboard, pieces, and moves, continue to learn more about the objective of the game: to checkmate the opponent’s king! Learn about checkmate, and the various types of mates and how they’re achieved. You’ll also need to know about avoiding mates by escaping, attacking, and defending.

Acquaint yourself with the types of draws, and as you learn, reinforce each new piece of information with your child. Begin playing by practicing different types of games, like pawn-only games. Practice adding pieces to your games, one piece at a time to practice moving certain types of pieces before moving on to play a full game of chess!  

Step 4: Learn strategies to trick your opponent! 

Once you and your child have played a few rounds of piece-specific games and have progressed to playing with all the pieces, make the game even more fun by learning about different strategies to use to capture pieces and win the game! Our chess curriculum will cover strategies like the fork, pin, skewer, discovery, and undermining. Each strategy will give you and your child a new way to trap your opponent and gain an advantage during gameplay. 

Step 5: Keep up with the latest news, events, and happenings in chess

Did you know that chess is considered a sport? The International Olympic Committee officially recognized chess as a sport back in 1999, and the following year it was included as an exhibition event at the 2000 Sydney summer games. Many people might not realize this, but chess is certainly a big deal with a vast number of fans across the globe! As such, make the game even more exciting by following the latest news and tournaments. Try the following sites to keep up to date:

  • FIDE: The International Chess Federation should be your go-to resource for everything related to chess! FIDE is responsible for the regulation of all international matches and ranks and rewards players, bestowing them with titles that prove their worth, such as International Master or Grandmaster. Head to this site to find and follow your favorite players.
  • The US Chess Federation: This site is the official home for American chess players. Head to this site to find chess magazines that can keep you updated on national chess news, and to find lessons, local clubs, and membership opportunities.

Teaching kids chess doesn’t have to be a difficult process, even if you haven’t yet played yourself! By learning chess alongside your child, you’ll spend countless hours making memories that your child will remember fondly for years to come. 

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