As you may know, I’ve written a book (which has sold very few copies) called The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids.

Most parents and teachers, I guess, don’t see the need, but I’d suggest that this is because they don’t really understand chess.

Here, then, are the five WRONG ways to teach your kids chess.

  1. Get that old chess set down from the attic, show your kids what you half remember your dad showing you 30 years ago, and play a couple of random games.
  2. Buy a copy of Chess for Kids (or any other chess book for children), give it to your kids and ask them to teach themselves.
  3. Download a chess app for your kids’ mobile phone and expect them to learn from that.
  4. Sign your kids up for a chess club full of kids who can already play, expecting them to learn by osmosis.
  5. Encourage your kids to learn chess from a friend who has probably been taught incorrectly using one of the above four methods.

Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, your children deserve better than this. Playing chess without learning the basics correctly is very much the same thing as a small child hitting random piano keys and saying “Look, Mum! I’m playing the piano!”.

Chess is an adult game at which some children can excel, not a children’s game. Good practice in teaching young beginners (aged, say, 6-8) involves setting aside 20-30 hours for minichess activities before playing a complete game. How can schools promote good practice? My next post will provide some suggestions.

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