- All children should have the opportunity to play strategy games. Young children enjoy learning new games, and games of this nature provide both social and cognitive benefits.
- Chess is, in the opinion of many, including myself, the world’s greatest strategy game, with an extraordinary history and heritage as well as an incomparable aesthetic beauty.
- Most children will be able to master the moves of the pieces by age 7-8, some children younger, and, in a few cases, much younger. So this is a good age to start minichess.
- Playing a complete game of chess at a reasonably proficient level requires the ability to deal with multidimensional abstract concepts as well as exceptional self-regulatory skills (concentration, impulse control). This is why children should start with minichess: starting with ‘big chess’ is just confusing for most children.
- Competition is, as long as it’s not overdone or overpressurised, good for young children: it’s a fun way for them to develop a wide range of personal and social skills. Schools should encourage both physical and mental competition, and minichess is a great way to do the latter.
- Some very bright children with proactively supportive parents can gain enormous pleasure and benefit from playing competitive chess and, in some cases, play at a very high level. These children should be identified and encouraged, but through external centres of excellence, not through schools. Start with minichess in schools, perhaps then leading on to low level ‘big chess’ competition for those who are interested.
- Most children of primary school age will get much more benefit from playing simpler games which are easier to learn and quicker to play than from playing ‘big chess’. We believe that EVERY primary school child will benefit from playing some of these games.
The purpose of MINICHESS UK is to get ALL children playing chess-based strategy games.
We start with pre-chess games: games which do not use kings and which have aims other than checkmate.
Once children have understood the vital concepts of CHECK, CHECKMATE and STALEMATE they can, if they wish, move onto proper minichess: games where the aim is CHECKMATE but the players start with fewer pieces than in ‘big chess’.
If children are happy playing pre-chess games because they find the concept of checkmate too difficult, that’s absolutely fine.