What Is The Best Age To Start Chess?

What Is The Best Age To Start Chess

Chess is a two-player strategy game that involves advancing pieces across a checkerboard to capture the other player’s king. It is perfect for people of all ages, so long as they can understand the game’s strategies and play.

Defining the Goals of Chess

Defining the goals of a sport is essential when getting your child started in any activity, and chess is no exception. Do you want them to become a professional chess player, are you just doing this as an intellectual exercise, or is it to give your child a challenging, yet fun, activity? These goals need to be established upfront.

Make sure that you take the time to plan for your goals. For example, suppose your dream is to create a chess prodigy, yet you never enter your child into any tournaments or teach them chess strategy. In that case, you will inevitably end up disappointed. This article will explain how to navigate the world of chess for budding chess aficionados.

Ages 3-5

Children ages 3-5 will probably not be able to grasp the game of chess or play it with much skill. However, kids at this age are in no way too young to start learning. Teach them the basics. Show them which pieces do what and how each piece moves across the board. 

If anything, at this age, you can instill in your child a love for the game of chess by getting the board and pieces out and messing around with them. Then, when the time comes to actually teach them to play, they will already have fond memories of spending time with you and the chess set; that way, they may be more receptive to playing.

Ages 6-11

Kids entering their elementary and teenage years should be able to begin playing the game of chess for real. Teach them how each piece moves on the board and what roles they have. Expose them to as many strategies as possible by playing with them many times. Also, have them play with friends or relatives so that they see different styles of play.

Your children probably won’t be tournament-ready at this age, so pack in as much time with chess as you can. If you are serious about your child’s success, plenty of chess strategy books could help your child get a headstart.

Chess is a great way to exercise the mind. Starting your child early could help them develop real critical thinking and strategy skills!

Ages 12 and Up

At this age, children who have practiced chess a lot should have the intellectual capacity to go toe-to-toe with a chess player of just about any age. Teaching them the game of chess should occur easily. With practice, they will get the hang of the strategy of the game and should be able to put up a real fight against adults.

If you wish for your child to play chess in college or professionally, you should get them connected with a school team or a club as soon as possible. Joining a team will expose them to many different play styles, allowing them to socialize with others and exercise their mind.

For Future College Athletes

Chess is a serious game that involves a great deal of strategy. You should not expect your child to walk into a tournament for the first time and knock it out of the park. However, many college chess clubs accept anyone and are willing to teach the game to rookies. If you only want your child to socialize and get involved in college, joining with no experience should not be a problem.

Check out the United States Chess Federation (USCF) for information on playing chess in college. Their website lists college chess programs across the country. You could read up on some of them and see if you want to get your future college athlete prepared to join a university chess club.

For Future Professional Athletes

Professional chess is no joke. Start your child as early as possible if you wish to put them on this path. Reach out to their school and see if it has a chess club or team. If not, set your child up with a club or team you trust in their community. Go to the USCF website and search for chess clubs by state!

As your child ages, have them study chess strategy. Look for books that teach how to succeed in chess. Searching “chess strategy books” on the Internet should be enough to start. One great book to look at is The Complete Book of Chess Strategy.

Once they have had substantial practice, learned some strategies, and joined a club or team, you should consider entering them in tournaments to give them a feel for the professional Chess world. You can even have your child play online games if you are worried about them meeting anybody in person. The site even has pattern recognition games, instructions, and lessons on game strategies for newbies.


How do I get my kid started with chess?

If your child is too young to understand the game’s strategy, instill in them a love for the game by messing around with the board and the pieces with them. You can get older children started with chess by teaching them how to play, playing with them, and then getting them set up with a club or school team so that they get exposed to different play styles, socialize, and exercise their minds!

How old should my child be to play chess?

The age at which you teach your child chess is totally up to you. If you just want them to have fun, then really, any age works. But, if you want them to grasp the game's strategy, you may have to wait until they are a little older. Only you can gauge your child’s intellectual capacity. Try starting them on it, and if they get confused, wait a year or two and try again!

Can I teach my child chess?

You certainly can. Chess is a very straightforward game to teach. Each piece has a set manner in which it can move, and the goal of the game is to capture the other person’s king. For information about chess strategy and tactics, you may want to visit YouTube or consult some chess strategy books.

How do I pick a chess coach for my child?

The United States Chess Federation (USCF) has a database of clubs and coaches for every state. If you are outside the US, you can go to chessboss.com to find a club for your child. Another great way to pick a coach is to search “chess clubs near me” or “chess coaches for my child” on the Internet.