Posted by Stanton Nesbit on October 21, 1997 at 23:43:03:
Although I teach and coach high school kids, my kids at home (three sons, 3, 4, and 9) are much younger. From the time they can sit at the table, we take turns moving our pieces, never worrying about legal or illegal, just pushing across at each other. Kids love it.
When the kids get older, we play "pawns." Originally, this was just playing chess with pawns and the king. Then my oldest son, who knew how to play chess, decided to play to promote the pawns, the pawn graduating to whatever piece starts on that file (King file earns a queen, too).
Finally, in order to soften the agony of defeat, when playing my kids I always stop when checkmate is forced, turn the board around, and let them find the mate. It sharpens the child's eye for checkmate and takes some of the sting out of having his own king mated.
All in all, keep the game fun and encourage kids to grow at their own pace.
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