After a little coaching and one game, most kids are ready to be done with chess for the day. Or maybe they refuse to even get started: “I don’t want to play another game of chess today!” Here are five ways to add excitement and continue to work on chess skills:
- Play with a clock. For some reason, kids love playing chess with a clock. A real clock is best, but in a pinch there are quite a few software clocks you can download for a laptop or PDA/smartphone.
- Play Blitz. With only 5 minutes for each player, there is very little time to think. You get to play a lot of chess in a short period of time and get to make lots of mistakes to think about.
- Play “the pawn game”. Only play with pawns, starting from their usual spots. Win by promoting a pawn or capturing all the opponent’s pawns.
- Practice endgames. Set up just a couple of units in random spots around the board and play until a draw or checkmate. King vs. king and two rooks is a good starter, or a king and a couple pawns on each side.
- Play Crazyhouse. On their turn, instead of moving, a player can add a new piece to the board to match ones taken from the other player. (Bughouse is a popular four-player two-board chess variant played at many kid chess club meetings.) There’s some debate about how much chess players learn from this, but it beats not working on chess at all.
[Photo via gadl.]