A junior chess club can be a fun place to learn chess and it is well documented that children who play can become really good at it. While the game is not new, it’s becoming quite popular again. Once considered a nerdy, geeky game, chess research shows that learning and playing regularly, certainly helps to increase confidence and self-worth; both of which are natural results of thinking differently and enjoying what you do.
All children are born with the ability to problem-solve, so teaching children chess and encouraging them to play the game is one of the best things that parents, teachers and coaches can suggest. Because chess has many social and educational benefits, it’s shedding its nerdy image and becoming quite cool for children and young people to learn how to play.
I’m really happy being a chess teacher and a junior chess club operator. Running five junior chess clubs in SE London, I also teach chess in primary and secondary schools and to homeschooled children. Chess is a complex game to learn, and a variety of learning styles are taught to enable children with different abilities to grasp the basic rules. One of my main aims is to prepare the children to learn from making mistakes. I then make sure they understand what to do so they will engage better and enjoy learning the rules, so they get to like chess and will want to continue learning more about the game for a long time.
Chess is not only fun for children of all ages, but there are many benefits from learning to play it. Joining a junior chess club plays an important role in the educational, social and personal development of children and helps them to develop their thinking and problem-solving skills. It can also enhance their reading, memory, language, and mathematical abilities. The children will get many opportunities to learn about the basic rules of chess; setting up the board; how the chessmen move and capture; castling, how games are drawn, how to start games and a few checkmate examples. Regular attendance to a club of your choice is encouraged and expected. This will increase your child’s chess knowledge, their understanding of playing techniques and the benefits of practicing regularly.On the face of it, chess is only a game. Teaching it to children, however, opens up a world of inspiration, self-awareness, discovery & adventure for them. Click To Tweet
Promoting Junior Chess
There is certainly a need to improve the image of junior chess here in London so that many more girls and boys are encouraged to have a go. There’s no doubt that many children are already interested in chess and this could be because it appeals to their competitive nature, or because it’s only a game and children like playing games. All my students are advised that when they lose a game they should learn from how this happened and practice more, to get better. The expectation is that the children will understand the importance of never giving up, become determined to achieve, improve their behaviour and good sportsmanship.
I make sure that every child I teach is ready to learn and I adjust my teaching style so that the children enjoy learning and playing chess. I usually prepare a few children for participation in local junior chess tournaments. Tournaments provide natural settings for interacting with children from other areas and gives each child a chance to become involved in a competitive activity that’s worthwhile and gives them a sense of pride. Girls and boys will of course make new friends along the way, and develop better social skills that enhance their educational and social development as they mature into young adults.Giving children a chance to learn chess is positively brilliant. Chess instils the right attitude & their behaviour improves considerably. Click To Tweet
I teach the children the value of winning and losing gracefully so they understand the three outcomes to a game. They can win, lose or draw a game. And as winning and losing are part of the learning process, they soon learn how to think about the mistakes they made, remember how the mistake happened and to move quickly onto the next game and try again. This develops a positive attitude to think of ways to do better than they did before.
I should also mention here that in addition to enhancing the children’s enjoyment of having fun with chess, I want to enjoy the lessons too and I make sure that I do. This creates an atmosphere of fun for all of us and the children feel safe while learning something they enjoy doing.