That Initial Spark Which Started Chess Is Child’s Play

I think all book projects start with an initial spark, a single idea that gets other ideas burning in your mind until they form a potential book. Chess Is Child’s Play – Teaching Techniques That Work started with: “I wonder if I can teach my four-year-old son to play chess!” I did wonder. I wasn’t sure. It seemed difficult at first, but I do love a challenge.

I remember the first lesson. I wanted to really give my idea a chance, so I left the house and went to the beach, carrying a bag with a roll-up board and chess pieces. I made sure my young son had a good lunch and then we went for a vigorous swim. After we dried off, I pulled the chess set from my bag and asked if he wanted to learn. “YES!” was his immediate response. There was no hesitation. That was a good sign.

We didn’t do more than just discuss the pieces and their names during that first lesson. But I discovered that I could create little mini-games around identifying the names of the pieces, having him place them on the board, which captivated him. It was fun and my son was hooked. I was too.

I made sure to end the lesson while he was still really into it. I think that initial lesson lasted 15 minutes. Again, I knew it was a good sign when he said, “Aw, Mom! Can’t we play more?”

That lesson paved the way for a very intriguing and fruitful road, one I am still traveling. I continued teaching my son on the beach and soon we were playing a complete game. I started teaching other children, working with my husband, figuring out the best strategies for teaching children of all ages.

We founded Your Chess Coach and approached a few local schools. They were eager to provide chess instruction for their students. I soon discovered that parents and educators all knew that chess was more than just a game. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that most people knew that chess was very beneficial for children.

Fast forward four years later. I now have Chess Is Child’s Play – Teaching Techniques That Work in my hands, the culmination of my research to date on the best way to teach children of all ages to play chess. This isn’t the end of the road, but more of a widening of the small sandy path I started back in 2008. My hope is that others will help me build a super highway, allowing many children to say, “Mommy, I can play chess, too!”

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Laura Sherman (97 Posts)

Laura Sherman, a.k.a. “Laura the Friendly Ghostwriter,” is a professional ghostwriter and author. She enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction and is happiest when juggling multiple projects. She recently authored “Chess Is Child’s Play” to introduce the next generation to the game of kings and queens. As a parent of three, and one of the top 50 women chess players in the United States, Laura wrote this book to teach any parent to teach any child, of any age, to play chess.