Magnus' Kingdom of Chess: Teach your kids the basics of chess
I started teaching my son how to play chess when he was three. I love the game and love sharing it with others. I coach chess at a local school and have seen its benefits firsthand. Chess is an amazing game that teaches strategy, focus, responsibility, impulse control, weighing your decisions, and much more. Best of all, chess is a game that you can enjoy for your entire life, always having room to grow and improve.
Many parents interested in exposing their kids to chess have asked me how their young children can improve at the game. Like many parents, I have pondered the correct way to introduce a deep, personal interest with my kids. Personally, I very rarely ask my son to play chess with me, and have instead waited for him to ask me to play. In that way, it's always his choice and there's no chance for negative association. At the same time, he is exposed to chess a lot as he sees me watching chess videos and having fun playing against others.
When he asks me to play we almost always play one serious game followed by one silly game - where he makes up his own rules. His silly rules can run the gamut from the ridiculously unfair (my pieces are invincible and I can make any of your pieces turn into my pieces) to something very creative and cool that I can bring to chess club and try (what if you could capture your own pieces for a positional advantage?). Sometimes he just puts other toys on the chessboard and they have whatever power he wants. It's still chess, kind of.
When learning chess, the first thing to understand is how all of the pieces move. And it's not just about knowing how they move - you have to internalize this information to the point where you see lines shooting out of the pieces across the board, pointing towards all of the pieces you can capture. Magnus' Kingdom of Chess, by PlayMagnus and Dragonbox, is an incredibly innovative way to teach this to children on a tablet or smartphone. It is a simple RPG in which your characters move about the world in the exact way they move on a chessboard. Depending on the layout in the world you may need to switch to your knight to hop across a gap, or you may need to switch to your bishop to attack diagonally. While playing the game, your kids subconsciously internalize the power and the limitations of each piece.
"PlayMagnus and Dragonbox have honestly crafted a very great intro to chess for the family."
Magnus' Kingdom of Chess, named after the world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen, focuses on the very basics of chess - leaving out more complex rules such as castling and en passant. Primarily you learn how the pieces move, but you also get to practice several basic checkmating puzzles. You begin with just your king, and progress through the kingdom, rescuing your army one by one, until you are ready to play a real chess game with your full set of pieces.
Our five-year-old loves playing the game, and that's even after he already knew how to play and how all the pieces moved. There is still challenge for him when practicing with his entire army and finding the checkmates. The graphics are very cute and collecting new costumes for his army was a highlight for him. While playing together, even I wanted to make sure we left no stone unturned and found all of the treasure chests and coins. PlayMagnus and Dragonbox have honestly crafted a very great intro to chess for the family.
Have you tried to teach a young one chess before? I'd love to hear about it. What's your favorite method? Have you tried out this game yet? Tell us below in the comments.