Chess is not the only game you can play with a chess set any more than bridge is the only game you can play with a pack of cards.
‘Big chess’ is, in many ways, unsuitable for younger children: the games last too long, there are too many alternatives on each move and the aims are too abstract. Most young children will get far more benefit from simpler games which they can learn to play well rather than games which are too hard for them.
Minichess is a generic term for games and puzzles based on subsets of the chess pieces and rules. Each activity is simple enough to be learnt in 5 minutes by both teachers and children and short enough to be completed in 10 minutes. Because the activities are simple, minichess is best delivered by schoolteachers or parents. Although professional tutors are available if required, they are not necessary.
Some activities require no previous knowledge, while other activities build on knowledge acquired from earlier activities.
Minichess includes a combination of collaborative activities suitable for classroom use and competitive activities suitable for use within clubs.
In much of continental Europe, chess is introduced to youn children using these methods. Our minichess course combines tried and tested activities from many countries with some of our own.
Minichess introduces all children, not just those who excel academically, to chess culture. More children will then be interested in playing ‘big chess’ when they’re ready to do so.
Minichess is designed for use in schools, but is also suitable for use in other environments: in youth clubs (Cubs, Brownies etc), in tutorial centres, in clubs for children with ADHD/ASD, as well as by parents teaching their children at home. Because, unlike ‘big chess’, minichess is not specifically competitive it will be equally attractive to both boys and girls.
Minichess is cheap, specifically designed to be accessible to all schools. No special equipment is needed: most activities can be delivered using laminated boards and counters, or played online via our website. We can also provide pieces you can laminate for more complex activities.