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I am just an OK player and I wish for my eight-year old kid to learn chess and be interested in it too. Can you please give tips/ideas as to how can I make my child interested in it?

8 Answers 8

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In my experience it is likely that kids get interested in whatever you are interested in. So, play a couple of chess games with a friend or set up some chess problems and work on them yourself at a time where your kid can see what you are doing. It is quite likely that your kid will start asking questions what you are doing and wants to play as well.

Whenever my sons sees me setting up the chess board he wants to play... unfortunately he is not even three years old, so besides learning the names of the pieces there is not much he can do yet. ;)

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  • 2
    This is the way I learned chess! :-D
    – Maxwell86
    Sep 21, 2015 at 12:41
  • In my experience it is likely that kids get interested in whatever you are interested in. wooow. Sep 20, 2023 at 12:36
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I have grown up loving chess from 4 years old playing a video-game(for Windows DOS), which a lot of old school animations. The game is called "Battle Chess". You can play here: https://classicreload.com/battle-chess.html

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  • That brings back memories! +1, it's probably one of the reasons I got interested as well.
    – Glorfindel
    Jan 7, 2018 at 10:18
  • I just tried to play a game against it, I'm moving a bishop (Bf1-c4) and I see some kind of 'lag' which makes the animation last forever. Exactly the same bug as I remember from 20+ years ago ...
    – Glorfindel
    Jan 7, 2018 at 10:20
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Well when I was younger I had this program called Chessmaster 9000. The program itself was extremely oriented in making the concepts obvious. I realize that this isn't really a decent answer, but that is what REALLY got me originally interested. It was much too long for a comment.

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I don't like the idea of forcing your child to be interested in it. Neither of my parents knew how to play, and I developed interest when mom bought me Chessmaster on PS2. I played quite regularly for a year until my parents decided to find a junior chess club for me to play in. My dad did teach himself how to play with me, but I had more free time and progressed far more quickly.

I like the idea of letting children explore the game themselves, which helps to develop a lifelong interest. I feel that forcing your child to play chess is like forcing them to learn a musical instrument. If they don't have fun with it, they will most likely quit when they become teenagers and have little to show for it as an adult.

I should mention that I never had a structured study plan when I was younger, just simply playing game after game. Because of the amount of free time I had then, I wish I devoted more of that time to proper chess study, although I never had the resources to know how to do this properly.

I recommend once your child develops an interest themselves, then you can start to guide and help them progress as much as possible. Explaining why they are doing something (and ensuring they understand) is better than forcing it upon them.

If one of the parents plays chess, then the child might naturally become interested in what the parent is doing. However, a key thing for kids is to make it fun. It is crucial to remember that they are kids, and you cannot teach them something the same way in which you would teach a beginner adult. In most mammals, the children learn by playing and having fun, while the adults supervise from the side. The same concept applies for most things taught to children.

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Chess has become a very young and fashionable sport. To become a good player you need to - First dilute chess complexity for your kid...go step by step.let him get interest. Like 8 Queen puzzle, pawn game only..or let him learn freely.

  1. Start early , Take it as Fun , focus on developing interest with easy tools
  2. Never force to practice , keep stress totally out .
  3. Talk theory don’t teach theory.
  4. Ensure getting good result since start..good means genious approach in play, toughness to win.
  5. Working more Hrs gives more result
  6. Every child is unique , don’t compare speed of learning. Ultimately depth of learning matters
  7. Play with stronger opponents
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We can learn a few things from the childhoods of Magnus Carlsen, Judit Polgár, and Hikaru Nakamura.

1. Don’t pressure your child.

I felt, OK, they’e definitely not geniuses, but it doesn’t matter. Chess was something we could do together, just a hobby. — Henrik Carlsen [Source]

Let the kid own the process and the result. — Henrik Carlsen [Source]

I just want him to be happy. And as long as he’s happy, he can do whatever he wants. — Sigrun Øen [Source]

I just set things into motion and they did the rest on their own. — Laszlo Polgár [Source]

I didn’t want him at first to play chess, because I thought it was unfair to have him measure up to his brother, who was very good… But the more I pushed him away, the more interested he became. — Sunil Weeramantry [Source]

In interviews, Magnus Carlsen’s father has explained that he initially viewed chess as an enjoyable family pastime and never had any ambitions for his child. Similarly, his mother has said that her focus was on her son’s happiness and not on any kind of success or achievement at the game.

Even though Judit Polgár’s father had aspirations for her and her sisters, he understood that he would succeed only if the children show interest. Laszlo managed to get his daughter interested in chess by creating an environment where chess was present as part of the family home.

As for Hikaru Nakamura, he was already exposed to chess in his childhood since his older brother was a chess player. His stepfather and coach Sunil did not push him into it, and in fact initially tried to do the opposite of that.

2. Make it social.

My sisters also still live at home, so it is quite a family-centred existence. One of the things that first motivated me to take up chess as a child was the desire to beat my elder sister. — Magnus Carlsen [Source]

We lived in a small apartment where my sister Susan had already serious chess trainings in the living room behind closed doors. I very much wanted to go in to that room. — Judit Polgár [Source]

Both Magnus Carlsen and Judit Polgár had the opportunity to play chess with their respective father and older sisters when they were young.

Sometimes a peer with whom a child can play can help cultivate a child’s interest in a certain game or activity. If your child does not have siblings, you can try looking for chess clubs for kids or other opportunities for him/her to play chess with other children.

3. Make it fun and don’t overwhelm your child.

It is a difficult game… I have read some books about supposed prodigies who picked up chess (snaps fingers) like that, but I don’t believe those stories anymore. — Henrik Carlsen [Source]

I don’t believe that there is one method for everybody. I was being criticized all the way during Hikaru’s upbringing as a chess player that I’m letting him play too much blitz. — Sunil Weeramantry [Source]

Magnus Carlsen’s father believes that chess is a difficult game, especially when it comes to coordinating one’s pieces together. He has described how he helped Magnus get into it by playing with him using less pieces on the board.

Hikaru’s stepfather has also spoken on the importance of focusing on the aspect of the game that gives the child enjoyment. Hikaru enjoyed playing very fast chess and did not show interest in reading highbrow chess books.

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I've seen a few tricks work like:

  1. Make silly/simple bets.... like the looser has to do 20 jumping jacks, or something stupid and funny. Makes it more fun and slightly competitive.

  2. Have the better player give up a few pieces. Queen, rooks, bishops, knights, whatever. Have the weaker player pick the pieces that have a total maximum value of say 15 points. This teaches the value of the pieces.

  3. Have the better player play blindfolded for maybe the first 2,5, or 10 moves, depending on their ability.

  4. More time to the weaker player.

  5. Start teaching with just a few pieces... Not all of them. Like king/pawn... King rook, king queen. Then they will know what endings to strive to achieve.

  6. Some fundamentals like king opposition is important.

  7. Capture a piece of candy or pennies on all 64 squares with knight moves. They get to keep what they catch. Or the fewest knight moves.

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I have the title of tennis teacher and have been giving lessons to childs for a couple of years and my experienze tells me you cannot.

I remember many childs that came to the tennis lesson while they didn't like or be specially in good in the sport.

Worst is when their parents (who have obligated him do something he or she doesn't like) come to ask you "why does my child doesn't play well forehand?", while first his child has not many tennis habilities, second he or she hasn't show any effort on performing his technic.

This applies to chess, and maybe more. Because you obligate a child to be hours in a closed room thinking on something he really does not want to be thinking on.

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