Friday, October 11, 2013

Chess House - Review

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My kids LOVE Chess, so when I was given a chance to review the Starter Chess Learning Kit from Chess House I jumped at the chance. My kids jumped too - up and down like crazy when I told them.

Jam already has a chess set that he bought with his own money. My husband has a really nice chess set too, so Boo claimed this one as soon as it came in the door.

We received everything that is shown in the picture above.

Elliott's Chess School #1 PAWN Level on DVD
An odor free roll-able chess board
A full plastic chess set (with two Queens). (Boo loves these large pieces - she says it's easier to focus than with a tiny set).
A handy carrying bag that fits everything (we got the dark green color showed in the picture.)

The set retails for $39.95 plus shipping and is suitable for ages 4 and up!

Jam and Boo get really excited when they get to play chess. They were ecstatic when we were on vacation and the house we were renting had a huge chess set. Jam challenged everyone and had a great time.

I didn't have to bug, push or moan at the kids for this review. The first thing they did was watch the videos.

Each time they watched a section, they treated themselves to a game. You could watch the whole DVD in one sitting as it's only 49 minutes long. However my kids preferred to watch and then play to reinforce the new skill. They have watched each section numerous times now and are getting really good at thinking about the consequence of their moves, not just randomly moving pieces around the board and hoping for the best.

So let me tell you a little about the program and what we did.

Elliott's Chess School was developed my National Master Elliott Neff. The program focuses on understanding chess and how to think, this helps the student figure out the best moves in any position. I think this is a better strategy than just memorizing moves, which is how all of the chess books my son has checked out of the library tried to teach him. He has mentioned before that this only helps if your opponent 'allows' you to follow the memorized moves.

The topics covered on the included Pawn DVD;

Intro to Chess
Pawn Shields

Jam said he learned the most from the 'Castling' section. He found the explanations simple and easy to implement in future games. The goal from this section is to find the shortest number of moves to castle.
Boo liked the section on the Queen, it is now her goal to have 9 Queens in a single game - Dad just chuckled and told her that she would have to be very lucky.

In the Development section of the DVD the students are instructed on how they play using the new techniques taught. For example a game is played with only 12 moves. The winner is the player who have moved the most pieces from their original position etc and how many pawn shields not broken.

My oldest are very competitive (in everything they do) Boo would be in 7th grade if she could find enough hours in the day to catch up her brother. Which makes our chess games very intense. They both try to put into practice all of the techniques. These videos will definitely be on our family Christmas list.

 An extra bonus; Grandma and Grandma came to visit and Jam and Boo showed them the video and Grandpa played games with each of the kids. They have gone again now but Grandpa plans to buy a chess set so they can play long distance games. They are both really excited about this, and it may have never happened without the influence of Chess House.

As always many other crew members have used this kit find out what others thought by clicking on the link below.


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