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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Download a chess app for your kids’ mobile phone and expect them to learn from that.
- Sign your kids up for a chess club full of kids who can already play, expecting them to learn by osmosis.
- 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.