Thursday

Teaching Chess Pt 2

Toddler's seem to be drawn to a set up chess board. It's a very cheerful looking thing to a child. Just as a child might like to set out all their dinosaurs or dolls in a row, a chess game has an orderly appeal. It's quite nice to purchase numerous chess sets and have them in different areas for different purposes. For instance, you may leave a nice set on the coffee table that is set up. When your toddler finds the order too much to bear (and they inevitably will) and knocks all the pieces about, it can become the perfect opportunity to show your little one how to set the board up. You can set up the whites and let your little one copy you with the blacks. Remember it's really not neccessary to be overly critical about where the exact pieces go each time. Eventually after playing this game over a period of days of weeks, your little one will be able to set the pieces up themselves.

The easiest way to teach a toddler anything is by taking it apart and teaching it chunks. So, now they must learn to recognize and name the pieces. There are many ways in which this can be easily done, but one example is to buy a cheap plastic chess set and take one of each piece and put them in a baggy. When you go to a restuarant or the doctor's office (or really anywhere that your little one needs something to occupy them while they wait) pull out the baggy and let them play with the pieces however they see fit. I found it helpful to first introduce the pieces by name. For example, I would say, "this is Mr. Pawn," or this is "The King." Over time it works well to develop a story line of some sort, but only if this develops naturally.

By playing with your child on occasion you have the ability to insert information about the different pieces. For instance you can explain that the king is the most important piece and must be protected by his army.

The Chess figures represent a medieval army. The King and Queen are the monarchy. The two knights are the professional soldier and their job is to protect the higher ranks (just like all military's throughout history). The two rooks or castles are the home or refuge. The Bishops represent the church. The eight pawns represent the foot soldiers, laborers, or serfs.

There is a rich a wonderful back story in chess that will enhance their play later in life. To have an understanding of chess and a very touchable and accessible education in chess will help your child reach a higher level of play much earlier in life. The pursuit of the game will develop rather naturally. It's so important for parents to not hold back young children from things that will prove difficult. They will learn perseverance and an appreciation for such a wonderful game!

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