How to get started in chess – for parents

If you are a parent getting involved with chess, it can be overwhelming to know where to start or what to do. I’m going to make life a little easier for you if you’ll bear with me for a little while. To get involved at chess you will need to consider 3 key ideas:

  • How should your child go about learning chess?
  • What chess equipment will you need?
  • What can you do as a parent?
Learning Chess

My recommendation for every new student of chess is to begin by learning the language of chess which is called “Chess Notation.” I always tell people that once you can read, speak, and write down chess moves, you suddenly gain the ability to read millions of chess books, watch millions of chess videos, and you can save every game you ever play.

To learn notation, you’ll need a vinyl chess board with numbers and letters on the sides of the board, a full set of chess pieces, and a notation book. If you wish to buy a board, set, and bag all at once I would recommend this combo to save a little money. If you want to make chess a little more fun, you can buy color chess pieces and get a neat Wild Style board. Color pieces and wild style boards do not meet tournament standards; however, they can be very fun at home or in a chess club.

Once you have your chess equipment, you can begin practicing notation. I recommend playing some games against mom, dad, or a friend and writing down all the moves. The real task is to try your best not to miss a move. In this blog near the end I am offering you a few free worksheets to get your student started even before their equipment arrives. The handouts are from the book Points of Struggle by Ryan Velez which is a book aimed at helping new players learn all the basic rules of chess. The book has basic lessons you can read to your child and worksheets they can complete.

There are many books that can be recommended when a student is learning the basics of chess. Here is a list of titles that are also useful. You do not need to buy every book on this list, but this will give you a list of books to investigate or discuss with your coach if you have one:

If your child prefers learning using videos, you can search youtube for videos on how to play chess. However, the recommended books above are very easy to go through and are written with kids and parents in mind.