CHESS FOR KIDS is part of an ambitious multi-media project designed to enable parents and teachers to give young children the best possible start in chess.

The chessKIDS academy website first opened its doors to the public in 1990.

The first stage was a set of 63+1 interactive online lessons designed to take children from learning the moves through to adult club standard, in theory within 3 years.

But it became clear to me, as I was using it with my pupils, that more was needed. They could learn the moves and pass through the first few levels easily enough, but when it came to harder material that involved considering alternatives and thinking ahead, the only way those who were not getting significant help at home could progress was by memorising the answers.

More was needed to enable children to reinforce what they had learnt, and it seemed that many would benefit from starting more slowly so that they had the appropriate cognitive skills in place before they reached the harder material. There were also a lot of free books and other coaching materials available for download, much of which had been used at Richmond Junior Chess Club.

chessKIDS mark 2 included a lot of new features in terms of games, puzzles and quizzes, along with some computer chess programs which pupils could practise against.

Work is now in progress on chessKIDS mark 3, with completely rewritten interactive lessons and quizzes, improved navigation (coming, be patient!) and quiz scoring. There are also more quizzes, more mini-games which can be played against one of the computer programs, and, a new feature, video versions of all the lessons. The overall feel of the site is being improved to make it easier for parents and teachers to find the appropriate activities for their children.

At chessKIDS academy we appreciate that different children learn in different ways, so parents and teachers can choose the right mix of books, interactive lessons, puzzles, quizzes, games and videos for their children.