While they may have a while to go before they get that good, Abdi's instruction has already helped kids in the Hingham Chess Club go from no knowledge of the game to being able to play a full game against each other.
At the club's weekly meeting Thursday night, Abdi began by teaching a lesson for beginners, then the club held a half-hour of open play time before the intermediate lesson began. The club also offers a weekly lesson and open play for advanced players on Wednesday nights.
In the lessons, Abdi teaches a range of skills, from the roles of each different piece in the beginner class, to beginning strategy and the three phases of the game (opening, middlegame and endgame) for the intermediate players, to finally going deeper into advanced tactics for the students that are already experienced. He encourages the kids to speak up during lessons, praising them and giving high-fives when they get something right.
Roughly 20 kids participated in the chess club Thursday night, including Bobby Steele, 13, and Oliver McLucas, 9, of Hingham, who sat across from each other to play a game. Oliver said he has been playing since last year. Bobby said he started in second or third grade.
Praschma said the club has grown a lot since it began a year ago, and this month is the first time they have been able to offer an intermediate class. She said that they have also had some interest from adults, and even had two or three adult players attend last week.
With so many wonderful brain benefits of playing chess, many parents and teachers are asking what's the best way to teach chess to kids. After all, learning how to play chess can seem complicated and overwhelming to even adults. How can you teach a child something complex like chess?
We've spent a lot of time asking ourselves that question, researching the options, and brainstorming fun ideas. Here we offer the best tips we've uncovered for teaching children how to play the wonderful game of chess.
We all know that children are much more likely to engage in something if they enjoy it! A child's desire to play and have fun is healthy, and you can use their love of fun as a way to encourage them to play chess more often. Below are some tips on how to make learning & playing chess fun for children of all ages.
Sometimes we forget that the purpose of having rules in a game is actually to make the game fun. Rules are meant to clarify what you can and can't do in order to give the game the right level of challenge, keep it interesting, and to maintain a sense of fairness among the players. Rules should make the game enjoyable.
But when a child is first learning chess, certain chess rules might make chess seem too challenging, complicated, or restrictive. If a rule is getting in the way of having fun, then simply throw that rule out until later when it makes sense to add it back in.
For example, if a child who is learning wants to make all the pieces move like pawns, take back a move they made, or switch sides halfway through the game...why not let them try it? The point is to keep them engaged as they learn by keeping things fun. If certain rules are keeping that from happening in the moment, then put those rules aside until later.
When my youngest son sees a chess set, he often picks up the pieces and starts playing with them like action figures in an epic battle. The board becomes the battlefield and I hear him saying things like "attack!" or "defend the king!" with an excited voice. He grabs a couple pieces and has them fight in midair before one or both fall down injured in battle.
By doing this, he's playing chess. Sure, there's complete disregard for the rules and perhaps a little more violence than I prefer to see him engaging in, but it's also his natural and wonderful way of enjoying the chess board and pieces.
Chess sets are wonderful to look at and play with. The board is beautiful with its contrasting squares and clean, organized design. The variety of pieces each look fascinating and inspire imagination. Part of enjoying chess is appreciating the board and pieces. For children this might mean playing with them like action figures or setting them out on their dresser to look at.
TIP: When buying a chess set for children, choose a durable set with a look they'll enjoy. We prefer wooden chess sets because they're natural, beautiful to look at, and can withstand a lot of wear & tear from children.
This is pretty intuitive for most parents, but it's worth a reminder on why it's an important part of teaching children chess. Playing at a "child's level" is simply a way to meet them where they are developmentally so they can learn more effectively. This means sometimes going easy on them, giving them ideas on what might or might not be a good move, and allowing the child to experience success by capturing pieces and winning some games.
This doesn't necessarily mean always letting them win. That would mean playing below their level. After all, making mistakes is a wonderful way to learn. Just remember that when you're first learning something, it's helpful to experience some early "wins" to give you the confidence that this is something you can learn to do well.
The most common reason parents say they don't teach their children how to play chess is that the game is so complicated. Many adults don't know how to play themselves, and even if they do, the idea of teaching chess to a child seems daunting. But it doesn't have to be difficult or complex. Keeping things simple is one of the best ways to teach children to play and enjoy chess.
Don't try to learn all the rules at once. It's much more fun (and less daunting!) to start by playing a game with simplified chess rules. Once you become comfortable with the simplified rules, you can gradually add in other rules until you're eventually playing with all the rules of standard chess. ("Standard Chess" is what we call the game of chess when you use all of the rules as determined by the World Chess Federation, which is also known as FIDE.)
The toughest part of learning chess for many beginners is remembering how each piece moves. A great (and easy) way to solve this problem is to keep a reference sheet handy to remind you how each piece moves. You can buy a chess set that comes with visual references like that, or you can make your own. If you make your own, remember to use images when possible since a visual representation of how pieces move is easier to understand than words alone.
Some chess sets are made with learning chess in mind! Fun Family Chess is a chess set that was designed to make learning chess fun and easy for both kids and adults. It includes a full wooden chess set, as well as instructions for a simplified version of chess and some reference cards so memorization isn't required. It also includes a "Chess Cube" (dice with chess symbols on it) that helps by simplifying your movement choices while learning and by adding a fun element of chance to the game. If this sounds good to you, you can buy Fun Family Chess here or on Amazon.
When learning chess, a child will experience the most long-term benefits if they're able to learn at a pace that fits their age, learning style, and interest level. This means observing the child for cues on what pace works best for them, as well as asking them directly if they want to learn more or simply play based on the rules they already know.
It's wonderful when we learn to stop rushing things that need time to grow. That is especially true when it comes to children. The primary purpose of education is to foster a love of learning. So relax, don't rush, and give them time to absorb each chess rule or concept before moving to the next one. Remember, a child's brain will benefit from playing chess even when playing with simplified rules.
You might find that your child wants to play chess more often than you or their siblings will want to play. If so, that's great! You can encourage their interest in chess by giving them lots of opportunities to play with others. Two great ideas for this are:
Our mission at Brain Blox is to empower the parents, teachers, and countless others working hard to help children flourish. So if you're reading this article, that means you! If there's anything we can do to help you teach children how to play chess, please let us know by contacting us. We'd love to hear from you.
When the history of the rise of the robots is written, perhaps this might feature in the opening chapter: a seven-year-old boy has had his finger broken by a robotic opponent during a chess match in Moscow.
Video of the incident shows the robotic arm grabbing and pinching the boy's finger with a sudden movement. After a few seconds, people around the table rush to the child's aid and manage to prize his finger free from the clutches of the mechanical adversary.
The good news is that the young man in question doesn't appear to have been overly traumatized by the incident, as far as we can tell: he was able to carry on playing the next day with a cast on his finger, and finished the tournament.
A damaged ego is usually the worst injury a chess player can come out of a match with. But in Russia, a seven-year-old child playing with a robot was forced to interrupt the game when the machine suddenly snapped one his fingers, breaking it.
"The boy is all right. They put a plaster cast on the finger to heal faster. Yes, there are certain safety rules and the child, apparently, violated them and, when he made a move, did not notice that he had to wait. This is an extremely rare case, the first I can recall," said Smagin.
In a video shared by the news website, the boy appears to have his finger trapped by the robot's hand for a few seconds before a woman rushes to help him and pull at the robot to get the child's finger free. Three men intervene shortly after and manage to get the boy's finger free of the robot's hold.
That makes him very good, in a country where chess has become something of a national source of pride and obsession. For 80 years, the best players in the world were Russian (or Soviet), with the Soviet Union being considered a chess powerhouse in the world. 2b1af7f3a8