I am in pretty much the situation of this question: I'm trying to teach my four-year-old son the rules of chess, but the concept of "checkmate" is too abstract for a small child, so I want to tell him that the goal is to capture the king instead.

The problem is that I'm using an iPad app rather than a physical board (for a number of reasons, including the fact that the app will show you each piece's legal moves, so we don't have to explain all of the moving rules before we start playing).

Does anyone know of a chess app that both (1) shows legal moves (which most of them do) and (2) allows king captures (the feature I can't find)?

  • 3
    I wouldn't say checkmate is too abstract. You could call it "trapping" the king. Or "put it in check where it can't get out of check". And then show him some simple examples on the board/app. When showing a checkmate position, demonstrate how the king is attacked, and go through how it can't get out of the check by trying to move to each square. – Inertial Ignorance Aug 18 at 19:12
  • Adding to the other comment, I knew how to play chess by the age of four, so the concept of checkmate being "too abstract" for a child seems rather far removed from reality. – Scounged Aug 18 at 21:38


Maybe Antichess is what you are looking for. The aim is to be the one to lose all the pieces first. And it's mandatory to eat. And of course kings are eaten. You can play under lichess.org such chess variant selecting a custom variant. You can see details here. But with children it's always better to play in person of course.

Legendary chess

Legendary chess

I also recommend you Legendary chess, an application developed in Uruguay aimed for all ages and designed in a didactic way to learn chess basics step by step in a fun way with a storytelling scenario.

I don't remember exactly if there is a specific type of game where kings are eaten, but I bet you it's worth it to check the game and see.

In the site you can download the Spanish or English version. It's a Windows based application but you can always run it using wine if under Linux or Mac.

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