Q: How can I attract my children to the game, maintain their enthusiasm and make chess fun, too?
A: That is an excellent question, one which has been asked by many parents. First of all, it depends on the ages of the children. From the age of 2 or 3 years old, you can start teaching the children the names of the pieces. Use fun terminologies such as Horsie’ and Castle’ rather than Knight and Rook.
At the ages of 4, 5 or 6, children can learn the rules of chess and basic puzzles such as checkmate in one, pins, forks, etc.
The most important things are to frequently motivate your children and always make it fun and exciting. Reward instead of punish. If they do not find a solution, you can help them with some small hints rather than getting upset or frustrated. If the children enjoy the game from an early age, chances are they will stay with it for a while.
Good luck and have fun with your children!
Q: What book or DVD do you recommend to teach children the basics of chess?
A: For a DVD, I recommend “Learn Chess in 30 Minutes – Chess for Absolute Beginners.” On this DVD, I teach beginners basic chess knowledge including pieces, points, rules and moves. I, along with my animated teaching helpers, Champion and King Harold, set a fun stage for kids to learn chess. Also included is a brief history of chess and “Fun Facts” about Chess.
For a book, I recommend “A World Champion’s Guide to Chess: Step-by-step instructions for winning chess the Polgar way.” You can also download a free training guide by visiting the SPICE website at www.WebsterChess.com.
Q: My children know the basic rules of chess and how the pieces move. What is next?
A: This is one of the most frequently asked questions. Teach your children fun, exciting and challenging things such as tactics (pins, forks, discovery, etc.), combinations, checkmates and basic endgame puzzles. These are extremely important areas, and you can give your children some from each category daily. This will keep them from getting bored.
My son Tommy at the age of 4 or 5 was doing up to 50-75 of these puzzles daily. He absolutely loved it, and constantly asked for more puzzles. He enjoyed them so much that I used them as a reward. The better he behaved each day, the more chess puzzles he got. I also gave him fun stickers when he did a great job solving the puzzles. Therefore, he was constantly motivated.