Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chess House {Schoolhouse Review Crew}

 photo chess_zpsdef27258.jpg

I can't really remember how Addison and Brennan learned to play chess. I do know that Addison has a nice glass chess set that she pulls out to play a game every once in a while. Lauren has seen the big kids playing and has begged me to teach her how to play. Unfortunately, chess just isn't one of those areas that I'm gifted in. I might occasionally win a game, but I frequently have to ask my opponent to remind me how the pieces are allowed to move. There's really no way that I could teach Lauren how to play a game with pieces that I can't keep straight.

Lauren was thrilled to find out that we were going to review the complete Starter Chess Learning Kit from Chess House. It comes with both a chess board and a copy of Elliot's Chess School #1 Pawn Level on DVD. The chess board itself is 20 inches by 20 inches and rolls up for easy storage. The sturdy plastic chess pieces, the board, and the DVD all fit securely into a nylon bag, making it easy to take with us when we're away from home.

When our package arrived, Lauren immediately sat down to watch the DVD. The video instruction captivated her -- I'm not sure I've ever seen her pay that much attention to something on TV. She spread out the pieces on the floor as Elliot introduced them. Before long, her board was completely set up and she was practicing all of the piece movements.

By the end of the video, she was able to set up the board to play a game with her brother.

When Lauren started the video over a second time, I kept peeking in on her so that perhaps I could finally learn to play chess. I was very impressed with the lessons. To start with, the lessons are broken down into ten topics. It is not necessary, and perhaps not advisable, to watch the entire DVD from start to finish. In the middle of each topic, the student is supposed to set up a game board in a particular configuration and answer the questions. I think this interactive component helped Lauren catch on quickly to the various piece movements.

After Lauren watched the DVD, I looked through the DVD insert and found a wealth of practice options. It shows board configurations and directions for at least two different games focused on learning the movements for a specific piece. I love these targeted practice exercises. Sometimes I pull out these ideas so that we can play for just a few minutes instead of setting aside time for a whole game.

I guess the real test of a program designed to teach children how to play chess is whether or not Lauren learned to play chess. My husband was away when our package from Chess House arrived, and he was impressed when Lauren challenged him to a game of chess yesterday.

We had told Tim that Lauren was learning to play chess, but I'm not sure he realized how quickly she had picked up the basics of the game. She pulled out her set, started setting up the pieces, and then proceeded to explain why there was an extra queen included in the pieces. Although she didn't win her first match against Daddy, she did prove that she had learned to play chess.

The Starter Chess Learning Kit from Chess House costs $39.95. It's suitable for children (and adults) of all ages, but it's perhaps ideally suited for ages 6-12.The video series Lauren watched is part one of a six part series of chess instruction. My big kids are interested in some of the higher level DVDs so that they can learn some real chess strategy.


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1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...considering I consistently get creamed by Matthew, perhaps I should try this while he's at school and challenge him one weekend...see if maybe I only get slightly beaten...



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