Chess is the Best Child Tutor

Chess is the Best Child Tutor

Sep 9, 2007, 12:00 AM |
2 | Scholastics

Just recently, a friend of mine came to me with a question. This friend had been hired to babysit for a relative, though she didn't really know what she was doing. She said, "What would you say would be some good activities for the child?" My response was quick and simple: Chess.

A young child's mind should be exercised often. However, with the age of computers and other consumer electronics upon us, most children would much rather play a violent first person shooter than a nice, calm, mind-stretching game of chess. I'm often reminded of the famous line "How about a nice game of chess?" from the movie Wargames. This is what the future basically holds for the next generation.

So what to do about it? Well, the obvious solution to me is to get children involved with chess as soon as they are intelligent enough to comprehend it. Even if they may not be able to remember that a rook is not called a "castle" or a knight is not called a "horsey," the simple mind workout of chess would be enough to benefit them later in life.

Notice, also, that I did not say "when they are old enough." Just as one is never too old to learn, one is never too young, either. Now, I'm not saying that the child needs to know the definition of the Sicilian Defense by the age of 5, but rather should have a basic grasp of the concept of chess. Even if his/her moves seem random and unplanned, at least they would have the opportunity to learn.

Most would agree that a good chess player has two basic characteristics most of the time: they are intelligent people, and they started playing at a young age. Both seem to hold true 99.9% of the time. This is more than just a pattern. Involving children with chess at a young age almost promises the child an intelligent future.

I suppose the point of this article has been made clear. Get children involved with chess! Don't force it on them, per se, but try to present it to them as just a fun game. They don't have to know that it's for the sake of learning. Just give it a try. They may thank you in the future.

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