My husband has loved playing chess and he tried and tried to teach me how to play – and I eventually gave up until Chess House came up for review and my son started asking to learn how to play. I was sent the starter chess learning set for this review and it’s been a big hit in our house, and my son seems to be quickly mastering the game, or so it seems. This level, the pawn level or beginner, is good for ages 4 and up and all of the included pieces are able to put up with rigorous and rough play that accompanies young children. The set came with a carrying case, a 20 by 20 inch chess board that is easily rolled up for storage, solid plastic pieces with regulation 3 3 /4” king, and DVD – the carrying case stores it all and makes everything portable for fun at the park, in a hotel, or anywhere that you can roll out the board.
Chess House was established in 1972 and then in 2006 Elliott Neff opened Chess4Life in Washington state after seeing a need for others to study and learn the game of chess. Honestly, until watching the DVD I had no idea how much goes into the game of chess and at first one can feel a little overwhelmed but the DVD makes it fun and entertaining to learn this timeless game. The DVD aims to give everyone who wants to learn a good foundation so that that bad habits and game form don’t have time to take root – such as when my husband was teaching me I had no idea that there are a reason for letters and numbers and even diagonals. Files and ranks and diagonals make so much sense now and I have an understanding how some actually play chess with a friend in another state by simply stating what file and rank they want to move their piece.
As you master each level you and your child(ren) can move up through the other levels such as Knight, Bishop, Rook, Queen, and King – but what is great about this beginning level is that you and your child can move at your own pace without feeling pressure to master the game quicker than needed. In the pawn level you’ll learn what each piece is worth, how to start each game with a winning strategy, as well as learning more techniques in the enclosed activity booklet. Elliott Ness is the man in the video and his engaging style makes it fun to watch and learn as you get to know the game and how to play with others who also enjoy the game of chess.
The beginning set sells for $39.95 and it’s well worth the price to learn this fun and engaging game of strategy and the site says for all ages, although the DVD is geared at ages 4 and up. All 3 of my children ages 11 1/2, 9 and 7 years old and I found the DVD to be of great help – I love that I can learn along with my children in how to play this game and eventually we won’t need our beginning DVD to be able to enjoy a rousing game with one another, maybe we’ll even need to invest in some of the other levels. If you already have your own board and pieces but aren’t sure how to use them, you can also buy the DVD on it’s own for $20.00 – the running time is 49 minutes and it worked on both my DVD as well as my laptop PC for easy viewing while playing.
If you’d like to see what other parents thought about Chess House please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.