When I was little (mid-late 90's) my mom taught me to play chess. She had a book, which looked pretty old at the time (perhaps from the 70s but I could be off by a decade or more). The book outlined the approach she used to teach me.
As the first step, she taught me only about the pawns. We played entire games with ONLY the pawns. Each player had eight pawns set up on their second row (the same positions as in normal chess), and the pawns moved exactly as in chess, including capturing en passant when legal. The object of this game was to either get a pawn to the other side of the board, or to capture all the opponent's pieces. This was a great game and a great introduction and was very easy to learn and remember.
My trouble is, I don't recall what the next step was. It may have been to introduce rooks and play the same game but with rooks added. That rings a bell, but I'm not sure.
I'm now teaching my 7-year-old son to play chess, and I'd love to be able to use the same approach I learned with as I know it was successful although I don't remember the rest of the details of the gradual approach. (My mother passed away a couple years ago so isn't available to ask about it.)
Does anyone recognize this approach? Does it have a name? Is there a book (either a well known book or an obscure one) that uses this method as the first step toward teaching chess to a beginner? (The book may have been giving an approach specifically for teaching children, or just a general method of teaching chess, I'm not sure.)