Chess is everything; Art, Science, and Sport. – Anatoly Karpov
Board games are boring. At least that is what most kids think because these games require them to sit in one place for a while. But when you introduce them to board games that are challenging and competitive, they will surely change their opinion.
Chess is one such game that is highly engaging and requires the player to be strategic and meticulous. It helps in developing the analytical skills and cognitive abilities of the players. So if you haven’t already thought about teaching kids to play chess, you should do so now.
In this post, MomJunction shares the history of chess and also presents a guide on how to play chess for kids to learn and improve their winning strategies.
History Of Chess
Chess originated sometime during the 6th century, during the Gupta Empire’s reign in India. The game was called Chaturanga in Sanskrit, which translates to four divisions namely infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots.
Later, chess has traveled eastward and westward along the silk route and soon became popular around the world.
During the middle ages and the Renaissance, chess was used to teach winning war strategies to the soldiers and the King’s army. After the 18th century, which is also called the Age of Enlightenment, chess was played for improving focus and intelligence.
Next, we will discuss the game of chess, its board and the goal of the game, one move at a time.
Introduction To The Chess Board And Its Pieces
A chess board consists of eight rows and eight columns, or 64 squares in total. Half the squares are white, and the rest are black. There are two armies on the board, one white and the other black.
Now that you know what goes on the board, the next step is to learn how to set them up.
How Is The Chess Board Setup?
The chess board is placed in such a way that the square on the far right end of the bottom row is white. The horizontal rows on the board are called rows, and vertical ones are called files. Both players control 16 chess pieces each. The chess pieces are placed in the following manner:
- First, we place the Rook or the castle on the extreme right and left corners.
- The Knights occupy the positions inside, right next to the Rooks.
- The Bishops occupy the positions immediately next to the Knights.
- The Queen must occupy the square that is the same as the color chosen by the player. For example, the White Queen will be on the white square and the Black Queen on the black square.
- The King shall occupy the vacant square next to the Queen.
- The Pawns are in the squares right in front of all the other chess pieces on the bottom row.
What Is The Goal Of Playing Chess?
Chess is played between two opposing armies, black and white. The ultimate goal of the game is to checkmate the other King. It happens when the King gets locked in a position to be captured by the opponent army and cannot escape.
How To Play Chess – A Step By Step Guide
Learning chess can become a little easier if you understand the rules and norms which govern this interesting game. All the rules of chess are discussed below:
1. The King can move one square in any direction: forward, backward, diagonal, or across. But it cannot move to a square which is under threat.
2. The Queen is the most powerful chess piece and can move any number of squares in any direction.
3. The Bishop can move any number of squares diagonally.
4. The Knight moves in an L-shaped direction, two squares forward or backward and one square across. Knights can also move two squares across and one square forward or backward. The Knight can jump over other pieces while moving.
5. The Castle or Rook can move any number of squares forward or backward across. But cannot move diagonally.
6. The Pawns move one square in the forward direction. They can move two squares in the forward direction if it’s the first move. However, when capturing an opposing piece, the Pawn can only move one square diagonally. They can never move backward.
Benefits Of Playing Chess For Kids
A healthy body and an active mind play a key role in the development and progress of a child. Like our bodies need exercise to remain fit, so does the mind. Sports like chess are predominantly helpful in exercising the brain. Some of the benefits of playing chess include:
- Improves the IQ of children (1).
- It helps to concentrate and sharpen the focus, thus improving the memory (2).
- Playing chess can improve their attention span.
- This sport teaches planning and tactfulness, which are helpful in academics.
- While playing chess, both left and right side of the brain get active as it involves creative thinking and strategic planning as well. Therefore, it exercises both sides of the brain.
- Improves the decision making abilities of children.
- Chess also helps to enhance mathematical and reading skills (3).
- Aids in the growth of dendrites in the human brain. Dendrites are branches or extensions of nerve cells in the brain that send and receive signals from other neural cells in the cell body. Playing a challenging and strategic sport like chess promotes the growth of dendrites (4).
While there are several benefits of playing chess, not all children enjoy it. If your children love the game, then encourage them. You may start with beginner level tutorials for young kids.
Understand that it takes time, patience and determination to master the skills for this game. Also, there is always scope for betterment as chess has various tricky moves to checkmate.
With the right training and guidance, your kid might be a Grandmaster in the making.
Do your children play chess? Tell us about their winning strategies in the comments section below.
2. David Howard; Chess: Improving Academic Performance
3. Michael Rosholm et al; Your move: The effect of chess on mathematics test scores; Public Library of Science (2017)
4. Patrick S. McDonald; The Benefits of Chess in Education- A collection of studies and papers on Chess and Education