Saturday, October 12, 2013

Starter Chess Learning Kit from Chess House {A Review}

Chess House sent us their Starter Chess Learning Kit ($39.95) recommended for all ages, ideally suited for children 6-12.  The girls were excited to get started with this review. They love games and an added bonus of a DVD was too much for them.



What's Included
Each starter kit includes: Elliott's Chess School DVD 1 - "Pawn Level" (approximately 49 minutes) with booklet, 24 x 8 x 3 Chess Bag (ours was camo), 20" X 20" Premium Quality Vinyl Roll-up Chess Board, and 34 Solid Plastic Chess Pieces with 2 extra queens included. There are no additional materials required, just two willing players.


The DVD is broken down into short sections: Introduction, Topic 2: Pawns, Topic 3: Rooks, Topic 4: Bishops, Topic 5: Queen, Topic 6: King, Topic 7: Knights, Topic 8: Castling, Topic 9: Pawn Shields, and Topic 10: Development.



Topics 2-7 name the piece, explain the way in which it can move, tell how it can take an opponent's game piece, and strategies to use with that particular piece. Topics 8-10 discuss certain strategies players can use to try to win the game. 



First Thoughts
The girls started playing after watching the DVD immediately. They played several times that evening. The next morning I found them up (before me) playing. I gave them no instruction what-so-ever (not that I'd be much help, see chess war title below). It was great to hear Jo-Jo say, "I'm castling."

The Chess War
Background: Poppa loves chess, but we've never really played that often. I have the hardest time playing. I can't keep everyone straight. I mean do they really all have to do different things?!?! When I've played with him, it has only been to make him happy. 

I have only beaten him once. 

The conversation started a bit like this...
Me: "Do you want to play chess?'
Him: "Really? I always beat you."
Me: "That was before. I'm smarter now."
Him: Smiling..."Okay."

And I beat him. And that was with a cheat sheet I devised to remember what piece moved which ways.

Recently: The girls had been playing each other as much as possible after they watched the DVD (which they couldn't wait to watch). They were getting on famously.  

When I hear Ceesa say, "Poppa will you play with us?" And it began. Sometimes they would play him one on one, sometimes they would team up on him. 



Before long, I hear him say, "Okay Momma, now I'll play you."

I agreed. We played 2 games. The first was over in a matter of minutes, you can guess who won, but I won the second time! Ha! It looks like I picked up a few things too.


Little Man is a bit young for chess, 
but that didn't stop him from playing 
with "the guys" and the "horses."


Recommendation
This is an excellent way to  learn to play chess, especially when there isn't anyone around that can teach it. It amazed me how quickly the girls picked the game up and were able to play successfully. Not once did I hear them get really confused about which pieces did what or need help figuring out a move.




Wishing you homeschool blessings,


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