Writing Contest: MY CHESS STORY!

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I have noticed over the years that many people have incredible chess stories. Some talk about carving their own chess sets as children, while others simply relish the first moment they learned how to play. Some tell tall tales of winning a game against all odds. Others simply have a quiet win that meant the world to them.

What is your chess story?

Please share it with us! Click here to find out more.

More Reviews for Chess Is Child’s Play

Reviews have been steadily coming in for Chess Is Child’s Play: Teaching Chess That Work!  Here are a few from parents of young children:

Elena Brower (mother from NY): Your book transformed me. For 41 years I was afraid to learn chess, and in reading and learning from your book, I was able to teach myself AND my 5-year old son. We play all the time, our brains are working and I am proud to finally understand this refined and incredible game. THANK YOU for your incredibly accessible, fun, and super-practical instruction.

Sergio Couto (father from Spain): I’ve started reading the book, and I love it. I’d read two or three books for children before, but nothing to do with this. It’s wonderful. My son, Danel, is 40 months old. He already knew the name of the pieces, but I didn’t know how to continue teaching him. He is very nervous and it’s difficult for him to concentrate. I find very very important, specially for him, learning chess. Today I’ve started teaching him with the help of your book. We’ve started with Chapter 4. I was very happy, because he could do all the games and exercises. I tried to continue with the rook, and, incredibly, he was very concentrated, and happy, and he wanted more and more. We only did 2-3 exercises of the Rook, but he could move them perfectly and we played some of the games. I couldn’t believe. He said that he wanted to play another day. I’ll tell you how it’s going. It’s really worth buying it.

Susan Heim (mother of twins): Many people have the misconception that chess is a game for “older kids” or for “super-smart kids.” But Laura Sherman and Bill Kilpatrick, authors of “Chess Is Child’s Play: Teaching Techniques That Work,” will tell you that just isn’t true! Children can begin learning how to play chess as early as preschool, and they don’t have to be little prodigies to master it. In fact, chess just might make them smarter! The key, say the authors, is to make teaching the game age-appropriate and fun. Most children are fascinated by the look of the chess pieces, and love to discover the unique characteristics of each one.

Chess Is Child’s Play” is a book for parents. You don’t even have to know how to play chess to use it. It will teach you and your child together! Or if you already know how to play, it will show you how to explain and teach the game to your child in a way that he or she will understand, with minimum frustration and plenty of bonding time. I love how this book anticipates any problems you might have through its “Troubleshooting Tips.” Sidebars labeled “Coffee Talk” and “Coach’s Corner” focus on extra stories and techniques learned from the authors’ years of experience in teaching chess to children. I encourage you to pick up a chess board and a copy of this book and get started in learning a game that you and your children will enjoy for a lifetime!

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!”

Additional articles you might enjoy:

Interview on Studio 10: Chess Improves Problem Solving Skills

Chess and Confidence: An Interview on TV Show Daytime

Chess Event In St Pete Florida Makes The News!

Reviews Are Streaming in for Chess Is Child’s Play!

I am thrilled to share a few of the latest reviews for Chess Is Child’s Play – Teaching Techniques That Work:

Emile Pandolfi writes: Just got my copy in the mail and have only perused the book thus far.

However, as soon as I opened it, the book felt friendly, easy to get used to right away. For me, a book must invite me in at once. If it doesn’t, no matter how valuable the content, I will keep putting it aside unless it makes me feel welcome, awakens a new curiosity, you know what I mean?

I thumbed through the book, reading bits here and there to get a feel for the journey inside. I found the layout and general look of the book comfortable, attractive, and approachable. I found myself wanting to read it, not looking at it from a feeling of obligation, the way I would a textbook. I actually wanted to learn to play chess! (which I have never wanted to do before). It just looks so easy…

The highlighted areas had tips, special little pieces of wisdom, ideas on how to keep your child interested, how to make sure he keeps moving forward, that sort of thing. These authors are obviously very knowledgeable on the subject of education in general, not just specifically on how to teach chess. In other words, they seem to have taken a global approach – not just about chess, but about the subject of learning itself – with chess as the vehicle.

I am giving this to my daughter who has two boys; when she has worked with them on it, I will write another review of how it turned out. I have the highest expectations.

Austin Becker writes: If you want to teach your kids to play chess, this book gives a straightforward and pragmatic approach to teach you, the parent, how to teach your kids chess. It is not a book to give to your children and send them to their room with a bunch of pieces and checkered board. Rather, it offers an approach that minimizes frustration, capitalizes on the strengths of a child’s mind, and delivers far more than simply learning how to play a game. It guides parents not just through the rules and how the pieces move, but in understanding how kids learn, grow, and behave in the process. As Ben Franklin put it in 1750, “The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it.” Sherman and Kilpatrick give simple and meaningful instruction that can be used to teach children both the idle amusement of chess AND those valuable qualities of the mind that are so useful in the course of human life.

“Chess is Child’s Play” offers a new approach and a straightforward set of tools for bonding with your kids, while teaching them a skill set that will be with them for life! Three cheers for “Chess is Child’s Play” and a copy to each of my friends with young children!!

Stephen Jones writes: I’ve almost 20 years in publishing, and I was impressed with the production quality of the book. Based upon their combined coaching and playing experience, Laura’s book is visually appealing, well written and jam packed with original, practical content. Currently, ‘Chess is Child’s Play – teaching techniques that work’ is bouncing around in the Top 20 best-selling chess books on Amazon – amazing! Almost all of us share fond memories of being taught the game itself, and this is the true benefit of Laura’s book – the opportunity to create those memories with the next generation.

You can read Stephen Jones’ entire review here: http://www.chesscreator.com/chess-is-childs-play-review-of-best-selling-book


New Book Trailer Is Here!

For the last few years, Bill Kilpatrick and I have been working on a book project, which is quite near and dear to my heart. Chess Is Child’s Play – Teaching Techniques That Work is a book that will teach parents, guardians and educators to teach young children to play chess, even if they don’t know how to play the game themselves!  We are pleased to present the brand new book trailer for our book!


Ever since I was a young child, I wanted to help people learn to play chess and achieve the benefits one can gain from the game.

When my husband and I started Your Chess Coach, our chess instruction business, we quickly realized that children naturally love chess. Their eyes sparkle at the idea of learning to play.

However, we discovered that many parents are intimidated by the game. It seems there is a rumor that one must be a MENSA genius to even own a chess set! This is simply not true.

A number of parents have confided in me over the years that they did try to learn the game, but found the little single page inserts that come with many chess sets confusing (some even have errors). They were also put off by the small diagrams in various “beginner” books at their local stores. They wanted to learn, but had no resources.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I started teaching some of the moms and dads of my students to play, offering them a free lesson if we were teaching their child. We’d often meet up at Starbucks and all I’d ask was for a cup of coffee and a scone (I’d get hungry when I was pregnant).

The tradition stuck and I continued to offer parents my “coffee and a scone” deal. I’d use the same techniques with their children, teaching them in a very step-by-step way. Quite a few let me know that they felt relieved at realizing that they could indeed learn the game. They were happy they could now play a game with their child!

Bill and I created Chess Is Child’s Play with teaching techniques that any parent can apply with their young child. We hope you enjoy this trailer and share it with your friends!

Chess Is Child’s Play Went To The Printer Today!

We’ve been working very hard to get the final draft of Chess Is Child’s Play completed. Mongoose Press and their design team produced a beautiful layout for our book. I am thrilled!

This book is so important to me on so many levels. I really want to get Chess Is Child’s Play into the hands of many parents, so they can start teaching their young sons and daughters to play chess. Imagine if all children knew how to play before they start Kindergarten. Then imagine if that children routinely learned more about the game as part of their school curriculum. Weekend tournaments would be a common activity for children of all ages.

This particular book breaks down the basics into bite-sized morsels, so that any parent can teach their child to play chess. Even parents who don’t know anything about chess will be able to teach their four-year-old children to play! Of course, older children can learn, too, as well as adults (but I advise adults to take the opportunity to teach a child, while they learn the game themselves).

I think most people are aware that chess players develop important life skills, but not everyone realizes the extent of these benefits. I didn’t understand them fully until I started teaching chess myself.

When I discovered that a child’s ability to read improved, I was amazed. It makes sense though!

People usually consider that a child’s ability to solve problems and focus will be enhanced, but did you know that chess really helps a child become more confident? I see that on a regular basis with our students. It’s a joy to watch them expand their horizons. I get to see the I know how to play chess! glint in their eye!

Chess has an element of art to it. I remember a master once telling me that it was an interesting blend of sports, art, and math. I believe he’s right!

A child’s imagination will soar as they learn to play chess. They will learn to think outside the box and conceive creative solutions to problems.

I could go on and on about all the benefits of chess for a child! In the end, I sincerely hope that parents enjoy teaching their children to play chess through Chess Is Child’s Play and write to tell me all about it!