How to teach chess to children

Image result for family chessMany people wonder how to teach chess to children . We speak of course of parents or adults who are not dedicated to the teaching of chess , but who want to teach the rules of chess and perhaps the first important concepts of our game to their children, nephews, grandchildren …

Chess monitors do not necessarily follow the same method when giving chess classes to their students, whether they are children or adults . In this article we will focus mainly on how to teach chess to children , and we will even differentiate by certain age groups, since it will not be the same to teach chess to very young children , say for example in preschool age , than to children with more than 6 or 7 years . Of course this article this article shows my personal vision and is especially dedicated to parents who want to teach their children to play chess . In case you need a book or chess manual I would recommend Practical Chess Course .

Teach chess to small children.

To begin with, let’s say that chess is being used successfully in pre-school children . We recently offered an article in which we talked about Innovation in preschool chess (pre-chess) . We must bear in mind that chess with small children should be used as an educational tool . The objective. therefore, it should not be to create a great chess champion, but to use our game as an element that serves the child to learn and acquire different types of skills. Chess can help the intellectual and social development of young children.

In the case of pre-school children, chess should be presented in a very visual way. We are preparing an article on the subject for our magazine Capakhine , but the truth is that it is no secret that the experiences that have been made so far with chess with children in the preschool stage , required a great creative work and involvement by part of the teachers. Songs, stories, drawings , the possibility of participating actively and interacting with chess elements from the first moment , etc.Image result for juegos de mesa familia

Teach chess to children from 6 or 7 years old.

When teaching chess to children of other ages it is true that we can suggest some suggestions that help parents who want to start their children in our game.

Before starting, it is important that children become familiar with the material that is used in a game, that is, the board and the pieces . I have seen how many people tried to start chess on some child by explaining the movement of the pieces in the first place . Let’s not forget that the first thing must be to present to the child-student the elements of the game . It is important to explain how the board is placed correctly at the beginning (white space on the right) and to teach the first concepts related to the board (squares, rows, columns, diagonals, center) . Then it will be good to teach the child the name of each of the pieces of the game of chess and where they are located at the start of a game. All this can be enough for a first class. It is better not to try to teach too many things in each class, so that our son or young student can go internalizing each idea well. Besides, it’s always good to be left wanting more.

The rules of chess should be taught progressively , giving children time to assimilate each of the movements of the pieces. For this it is important to propose to the child games in which he practices the movement of each piece as he learns it . In a future article we will try to offer different games of this type.

Once the child knows the board and the pieces, how they are placed and how they move and capture, they must learn the other rules of the game of chess , such as check, mate, drowned , and the special moves that we have left for the end: the castling and the capture in step .

The system of algebraic annotation can be taught at the same time that the rules of chess are learned . From the moment when, in the first class, we show the board and talk about the squares, columns, rows or diagonals, we will refer to the coordinates of the chessboard. It can come well, once the rules of the game of chess have been taught , to dedicate a class to teach how to read or write down a chess game .

When you have taught the rules of chess , you have to move on to the first concepts. The value of the pieces is a tricky subject . It must be emphasized that the value of the pieces is relative , and everything will depend on each specific situation. Then we will show the numerical value of each piece. 1 point for the pawn, 3 for the bishop and the horse, 5 for the rook and 9 for the queen. Beware because I have seen many chess monitors that teach children that the lady is worth 10 points.

It will not be bad to teach the basic mates (two towers against king, queen against king, tower against king and finally two bishops against king) . This will help you understand the value of the pieces much better.

And above all it will be fundamental to dedicate many classes to solve positions of mate in 1 . Of course, later you will have to combine it and put mate exercises in 2, but in principle the child should become familiar with the mate , and for this it is good to perform many exercises.

In deeper classes, deeper classes will be discussed. The fundamental laws of openness (subscribers of the journal have access to the pdf dedicated to this topic), first strategic concepts (development, space, etc …) . Surely any father who is reading this article to teach chess to his son and is already losing a bit with these concepts, can take him to a club or school to perfect his chess in case the child is interested. We are not going to move forward because the goal of teaching a child to play chess has already developed throughout the article, but I am going to make a very important final recommendation:

Teaching a child chess, as surely teach anything else, must mean above all motivate and try to infect our enthusiasm.

Why children who play chess improve their school performance

Why children who play chess improve their school performance

Image result for school performanceWe are not going to detail in this article the different studies that show or point towards the benefits of chess in children . For this you can simply write “chess benefits” on Google or perform a similar search and you can check the amount of information collected on this topic. We want to explain, in a simple way, why chess is so positive in children, making them improve among other things in their ability to learn and, consequently, improve their studies.

Let’s think about the different phases important for children when it comes to learning . Particularly we are going to focus on their school studies. The learning of children in different school subjects is based on what they learn by attending class and what they learn by studying at home . Obviously the education and learning of children is based on other sources, such as what they learn at home directly from the family, or what they learn with their own experiences. But as I said, we are going to analyze how chess can favor children who practice academic learning.

Chess improves the capacity for attention and concentration , which obviously will favor learning at school. It is very normal for some children to get distracted while the teacher explains, but it will be more difficult for this to happen to children who practice chess and are accustomed to exercising their concentration in a regular way.

What is learned in class is remembered more easily by children who play chess . It is no secret that chess exercises and improves memory.

Chess favors social relationships , so that children who play chess will have a greater facility to function comfortably in school environments.

Image result for kids playing chessWhen you study chess and begin to assimilate many strategic concepts, which are applicable in everyday life, it is much easier for you to organize and mentally structure the new things you are learning.

But as we said, the learning of children in terms of subjects and subjects taught in schools, is not based solely on what they learn in class. As we have said, children who play chess will be more easily able to take advantage of it, but we need to assess how the study carried out by children at home is favored by the practice of chess.

The issues addressed above in terms of improving attention and concentration will also favor the performance of children when studying at home. But there is a very important factor and one that is not talked about so much that makes small chess players learn better from books or notes when they work at home: everything points to the fact that chess improves reading comprehension . Precisely in the first issue of the Capakhine Magazine , we included a study by the psychologist Miguel Ángel Malo Quirós , director of the Chess School “Francesh Vicent” of Segorbe, where he collects most of the information on research in this topic.

If chess also improves reading comprehension, it will not be difficult to understand how that helps enormously in the task of studying the books, notes and documentation that children handle.

I think there are many other reasons that can favor learning in general in children involved in the world of chess. For example , chess stimulates the ability to excel, logic or common sense, the ability to organize and plan, and more than almost any other activity the correct learning of our own mistakes. The latter favors a greater sense of responsibility.

In the first issue of Capakhine we also include an article by the psychologist Juan Antonio Montero , director and coordinator of social and therapeutic programs of the Magic Extremadura Chess Club, where he explains other benefits of chess, such as personal growth, the promotion of values ​​or acquisition in a more strategic way of thinking.

Therefore there are many benefits of chess facets such as memory, concentration, attention, capacity for organization and planning, reading comprehension, logic, social relationships, ability to overcome, learning from mistakes , and much more. It is not strange that for once the politicians have agreed on something, approving in Congress the implementation of chess in schools during school hours .

I think you can not conclude this article without mentioning a last quality of chess for children, probably the first that they appreciate: chess is a very fun game.

5 opening tricks to win chess leaving your rivals speechless

In this article we are going to summarize some of the most important tactical resources that come into play in those traps that we can raise in the openings of our chess games . Knowing these resources gives us tools that well used will be very useful.


It is an elementary tactical resource in chess. As its name suggests, it consists of creating two threats at the same time. In the openings we will pay close attention to the possible defenseless pieces of the rival . Karpov himself made a historical mistake against GM Christiansen, which led him to lose a piece immediately, as he allowed his opponent to create a double threat. Lets go see it.


Christiansen, Larry Mark (2620) – Karpov, Anatoly (2725)
Hoogovens Wijk aan Zee (2), 01.1993

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Aa6 5.Qc2 Ab7 6.Nc3 c5 7.e4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nc6 9.Nxc6 Bxc6 10.Bf4 Ch5 11.Be3 Ad6 Black intends to control the box f4, but … 12.Dd1

The white lady attacks the knight and the bishop at the same time. Even a player of the stature of Anatoli Karpov, allowed his opponent this opening trick. The key is in the defenselessness of the pieces. That’s why it’s always good that our pieces are defended against each other.

A somewhat coarser example of the same idea is presented in the following heading:


1.d4 Nf6 2.Ag5 c6 3.e3 Da5 +

White has allowed his opponent to attack both the king and the g5 bishop, which will be imminently captured.

4.Cc3 Dxg5



The dunk is a tactical resource that can also be decisive in the opening of our chess games . Nailing a piece means immobilizing it , and in the next two examples we will see how we can apply an opening trick thanks to the fact that we have nailed a pawn, which can not capture the piece that gives mate.


1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.De2 Ngf6 6.Nd6 #

The e7 pawn can not capture the horse, since it protects its king from the threat of the white queen of e2. So we found a checkmate very fast, caused by this important tactical issue: the dunk.

In the following example, Black takes advantage of the same idea.





1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bf4 + 6. Bbd2 De7 7.a3 Ngxe5 8.axb4 Nd3 #



The deviation consists of forcing an enemy piece to vacate the square it occupies to stop fulfilling some important function that it fulfills. This tactical resource, like all the previous ones, are very important in the middle game, especially in attacking positions, as we commented in a previous training on the beginning of the annoying piece. But besides being important in the middle game, the deviation can be a decisive tactical resource that gives rise to some trick or trap in the opening of our game of chess . Let’s see examples:




1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 nxe5 9.Nxf7 +

The black king defends his lady, but now he must capture in f7 … and we already know what will happen.

9 … Rxf7 10.Dxd8






1.d4 f5 2.Ag5 h6 3.Af4 g5 The advance of the black pawns weakens the diagonal h5-e8, something that White can take advantage of later. 4.Ag3 f4 5.e3 h5 6.Ad3 Th6 7.Dxh5 +

The lady deflects the tower of the defense of g6. The deviation is a tactical resource especially useful when our opponent has an overloaded piece, that is, that defends too many things at once (like the tower of h6, which defends both h5 and g6)

7 … Txh5 8.Ag6 #




The attack on the discovery is another tactical resource that we must know. When it is check we talk about “check the discovery”. This check is not produced with the piece that moves, but this, when moving, gives way to the action of another piece, which will be the one that gives the check. Let’s see a well-known application of this idea.


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 Nxe4 4.De2 Nf6 5.Nc6 +

White, with this check, force the winning lady, who has been attacked by the horse.



With this tactical resource we force the enemy king to go outside, so that he is no longer protected by his pawns, and is exposed to the attack of our pieces.



1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Ag7 6.Ne3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Bb3 Ca5 9.e5 Bb8 10.Bxf7 + Rxf7 If blacks capture with rook 11. Ce6 wins the lady. 11.Ce6 Rxe6

White has forced the black king to leave his refuge. Now mate is inevitable. Note that the horse could not be captured by the d7 pawn, due to the theme of the dunk, since the queen of d1 would capture the queen of d8.

12.Dd5 + Rf5 13.g4 + Rxg4 14.Tg1 + Rh4 15.Ag5 + Rh5 16.Dd1 + Tf3 17.Dxf3 #




1.e4 g6 2.d4 Ag7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 Nd7 5.Bc4 a6 6.Nxf7 + Rxf7 7.Ng5 + Rf6 [7 … Rf8 8.Ne6 +; 7 … Re8 8.Ce6]

8.Df3 mate








And to finish an example where we see an opening trick where two important tactical issues that we have dealt with are combined: the dunk and the double threat. And it is that with certain frequency the tactical themes come into play in a combined way.

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Ag7 3.Nc3 c5 4.dxc5 Da5 5.Ad2 Dxc5 6.Nd5 d6 7.Bb4 Qc6 8.Bb5 (pinned)

8 … Dxb5 9.Cc7 + (double threat)