Chess is the Game of Geeks, or the Game of Kings; I always get that mixed up. Whatever the game is, Chess is one of the best ways to improve critical thinking in children. Chess teaches logic, which directly impacts a child’s performance in schools. Studies repeatedly confirm this fact. Kids who play Chess get better grades; it’s that simple. What’s not always mentioned is that Chess is also teaching the ability to plan ahead, which is important both in and out of the classroom. Hand-in-hand with lessons that strengthen critical foresight are lessons that educate little geeks on the many ups and downs of cause and effect. Often enough, right behind that lesson comes a crash course in digging yourself out of a hole (at least that’s true when I play) by thinking tactically and making strategic moves to advance. As you can see, Chess is much, much more than just a board game.
Additionally, teaching your child Chess provides them with the opportunity to learn and have access to a lifelong activity. Chess is a lifestyle game, which means that it can become a major hobby in and of itself, exclusive of other games. Bridge and Go are two other examples of what I consider to be lifestyle games, as are Magic the Gathering and Poker (but they can be much more expensive). In any case, introducing your child to Chess might just start them on the path of a lifelong hobby.
Taking all of this into consideration, isn’t it worth it to buy a quality Chess set, perhaps as a holiday gift? I think so.
The Chess House (not affiliated with Father Geek) is a great place to find a starting Chess set. I have purchased products from this web site and found the online transaction process to be quick and easy. If you do not yet have a Chess set, I personally recommend the Quality Regulation Tournament Chess Set Combo. This set has several advantages:
- This set (or one VERY similar) is the set most likely used in school
- This set can be used in Chess tournaments and other official events as it meets all the regulation guidelines
- It transports easily
- It’s nearly indestructible!
Similar sets can be found at the US Chess Federation’s online store (again, not affiliated with Father Geek). US Chess Federation usually has a larger selection and variety of Chess and Chess related products, such as different styles of game bags, combinations that include Chess clocks (for when you get really serious about your game), and some sets that include the book How to Beat Your Dad at Chess. Always popular title and a great way to get into and share the game with your little geeks.
The US Chess Federation (USCF) is the governing body for Chess in the United States. Visit the web site when you can. While you’re there, consider getting a gift membership for your little Chess player. It will be well worth it. There’s an online magazine that covers all things Chess, including a special online offering just for kids.
I must apologize to my overseas friends, as this article is primarily focused on Chess within the United States. However, I am sure there are scholastic memberships and Chess clubs available in your part of the world, too, so the advice still holds.
Go. Play. Chess.
Regardless of where you live or what your gaming preferences are, support your little Chess enthusiast and your school’s Chess program! Goodness, if you don’t know how to play Chess, you should do yourself a favor and learn! There are studies that show how playing Chess benefits young and old minds with measured results. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.