I have a confession to make. Until very recently, I knew next to nothing about playing chess. Seriously, I didn’t know a knight from a bishop, a rook from a pawn.
Ben knew more than I because my mom taught him basic chess rules and strategies when he was just a little guy. But since she passed away nearly 2 years ago, he’s had little chance to play because, well . . . I knew next to nothing about playing chess.
So when the opportunity was presented to review a Chess Set from Chess House, we jumped!
We were sent a Starter Chess Learning Kit, which includes the following:
- Elliott’s Chess School DVD 1– Pawn Level
- Chess Board — odor-free and made in the U.S.A.
- Solid Plastic Chess Set
- Sturdy, cloth chess bag that holds everything listed above — in green, with a shoulder strap for portability
The set retails for $49.95, but is currently priced at $39.95 on the website and is targeted for ages 6-12 (but let’s just say this momma learned as much as the 12-year-old).
We began by watching the DVD. Elliot does a great job of explaining the fundamentals of the game. It was the perfect place for me to begin. Ben felt that he already knew much of the information Elliot shared, but he soon discovered a few strategy tips that would enable him to wipe the floor up with me beat me repeatedly in the game.
Let me stop here to say that if you have basic knowledge of the game, you should probably begin with one of the other 3 instructional DVDs Elliott has produced. In the Pawn Level, you will learn how to set up the board and the value of each chess piece, understand the most important squares to control, and discover some basic strategies. If you know nothing about chess or are unsure about how to teach a child how to play, then this is a great place to begin. For us, Ben likely could have started at a higher level, but it was perfect for me.
In fact, I’ve watched the DVD probably 6 times (pretty much prior to each time Ben and I played), while Ben was good with just watching it once. I very much appreciated that Elliott demonstrated different moves and strategies. It helped me to see the game in action, rather than just hearing dry information about each possible move.
The actual set is of wonderful quality, very durable and portable. I love that we can take it with us practically anywhere. The vinyl game board quickly rolls up and fits nicely in the bag. The inside of the bag is compartmentalized so that all of the pieces are stored safely and in an organized fashion. There’s even a compartment for the DVDs so they aren’t easily misplaced.
I know quite a bit more about the game of chess than I did a few weeks ago, even though I have yet to beat Ben in a game. I think Ben learned a few new strategies he didn’t know or remember before. I will be purchasing more of Elliott’s DVDs because I would like to get better at this game. I just feel smarter being able to play chess. Chess is such a great game for brain development and a wonderful way to spend time as a family. I was always a little bit intimidated by it before, but thanks to Elliott’s expert instruction, I am feeling much more confident about my ability to become a great good chess player. At least good enough to beat my 12-year-old. At least once.
This article says that playing chess can help with math skills. I’m all about doing whatever it takes to improve Ben’s maths skills. Even if it means I have to lose at the game every, single time.
Chess House has many different chess sets from which to choose — plastic, wooden, travel, magnetic and some super cools theme sets (Ben has his eye on the Revolutionary War Set). For more information, and to place your order, visit ChessHouse.com.
To read more of the reviews of Chess House, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.