Chess House:Starter Chess Learning Kit {TOS review}

I have always been a checkers player. At some point, I was taught how to play chess, but I couldn’t tell you a thing about how to play the game now. The Chess House Starter Chess Leaning Kit from Chess House is for someone like me. It can take a novice or former player from accurately identifying the pieces and placing them on the board to one who is able to play through and even win a game.

I really did not expect much when we received the kit. I thought that, at the least, my children would be able to somewhat play through the game and have an idea of what chess is all about. Well, they learned quite a bit more.

Besides his general interest in the game, River had a bit of motivation to learn how to become a better chess player. A few weeks before we received the game to review, his best friend taught him the basics of playing chess during a visit. It was the first time he had played and his enthusiasm for the game was so evident.

The kit comes with everything one needs to begin learning how to play chess. You receive all 32 chess pieces; a chess board that is able to be rolled up for easy storage; a 49 minute DVD, Elliott’s Chess School #1 PAWN level (beginner), that was developed and is narrated by National Master Elliott Neff walking the student through the pawn level of game play; and a nice travel tote that holds everything in the kit, so that it may travel with you anywhere. The travel tote comes in several colors. We were sent, by surprise as our choice, the green camouflage color.

The pawn level DVD, level one, is one of a series of six DVDs. The other ones in the series are Knight level, which teaches you the basics; Bishop level, which develops the player in you; Rook level, intermediate; Queen level, which teaches you strategic development; and King level, which is advanced.

The Pawn level specifically covers these points: Intro to Chess, Pawns, Rooks, Bishops, Queen, King, Knights, Casting, Pawn Shields and Development

Each DVD teaches you skills to improve your level of chess playing.

When the kit arrived, River was ready to start, but mean mommy made him wait, because I wanted to watch the Pawn level DVD with him. After much prodding, I finally gave in and allowed him to watch, which he did in one sitting.

There is also a guide where Elliott Neff, who is also the founder of Elliott’s Chess School and Chess4Life, covers 10 useful topics from beginning to learn how to play chess to obtaining a better understanding of how all of the pieces work in a game.

After taking everything in, River set up his board and began walking through the steps he had learned.

Of course, when you have other children and they see something fun and cool being used, they too want to join into the fun.

We regularly play board games as a family. Each game has its period of being the first one chosen by everyone to play. Ever since the Chess House kit has entered this house, I hear one child say, “Hey, INSERT NAME OF ANY CHILD NOT ASKING, do you want to play chess?” The inquiry is usually followed by a resounding “yes.”

River, as my “seasoned player,” opened his chess school and taught his siblings how to play. He had eager students. Something that I think is wonderful is that he was able to teach Canyon, age six, enough so that Canyon has been a worthy opponent against River and Lily, strategically moving his pieces.

I know that their level of play is only at the beginning stage, but the interest has been sparked and as often as they play, they will only get better. River has already asked me to purchase the other level of DVDs, which are a little pricey (maybe Christmas or birthday presents), but the investment in their learning the game may be worth it.

I have always considered chess to be the thinking man’s game. There just seems to be so many different pieces and each has a certain level of importance and how it is supposed to be played. With checkers, you have either red or black pieces and a king is the highest rank to obtain and the only piece you need to beware of in play.

“I like it a lot. I already knew how to play, but the DVD taught me how to improve my game. I’m looking forward to seeing the other DVDs, because I believe that they will help me become a better player,” said River as he was again pulling out and setting up the pieces before he began his search for a worthy opponent.

River already has aspirations of participating in chess tournaments, so as I mentioned above , the investment may be worth it. Do I hear little Bobbie Fisher anyone?

Okay, so I still haven’t sat down to let River teach me how to play chess, but he has taught his siblings how to play and he knows so much more about the game than he did before we received the Chess House Starter Chess Leaning Kit.

The Chess House Starter Chess Leaning Kit retails for $49.95, but is currently available for $39.95.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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