Five Ways to Add Excitement to Chess

Bughouse chessAfter 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.]

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 10:40 pm and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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