5 yr old chess player


I am kind of stuck as to what to do next.

My son is 5 years old and started playing chess when he was 4. He has just competed in a chess tournament in our area. Although he has not started Kindergarten, they allowed him to participate in the K-4 division and he received the 3rd place trophy. The 1st place winner (4th grader) had 5 points out of 6 rounds (his only defeat was by my son ). My son ended up with 4 of 6 points. Anyway, he cannot read and barely writes, but just "gets" chess and has amazing math skills for his age.  He does not have attention issues at all. He can sit and play without being distracted.He doesn't particularly like playing on the computer but he will. He has never been formally coached and he beats everyone in the family so we can't teach him anything. Not sure what my question really is, but are there national events/tournaments more age specific to 5 year olds? He is competing on an adult level now. Not sure where to go now with him but there are not many opportunities where I live and I am willing to travel. I really wished someone would sit down with us and evaluate his game/potential and give feedback. The director of the tournament was very impressed with his age. Here is a link of him playing on youtube with his paw-paw. This was not one of his best games but one that was actually short enough to upload. Thank you for any imput.



Well wherever you live I would join the United States Chess Federation (USChess.com) and subscribe to their pubication "Chess Life" , it contains ads by chess coaches and you can see if there are any reasonably in your area. You also need  to look for a chess club reasonably nearby. You can start doing that on this site. Good Luck.


so here is the game:


I would estimate his rating as about 800- very good for a 5 year old. A local chess club would probably best as while he may be good enough to enter a lower section in an adult tournament i do not think it would be suitable just yet. He can get plenty of practice at chess clubs before entering adult tournaments.


Looks like a potential player but hangs his pieces too much. Maybe help him with that? He should double-check his moves before he plays them.


Thank you so much. I am trying to find a chess club in our area (the closest is about 60 miles). I am definately going to join the United States Chess Federation as well to help us find a coach. I am new to all this and am trying to learn to play myself. Thanks again.


I teach chess to K-6 in the school system here in San Francisco. It was interesting to go through the game. It reminded me of many of my best students when they first started playing. The hanging pieces are a problem that is easily fixed. What you need to do is introduce him to the most basic of opening principles:

1. Control the center by moving his e pawn to e4 (rather than e3). Kids should be taught to play agressively early.

2. Development of his minor pieces, such as 2. Nf3. Have him bring out two to three minor pieces during the opening.

3. Castle early

4. Look at his opponent's pieces before making any move, identifying the squares under his opponent's control.

All in all, I'm impressed with his playing. There are a number of chess coaches that teach online and specialize in teaching chess to kids. Make sure to find a teacher that works with children. Otherwise, they may use too adult a teaching program. Thanks for sharing the game!

Thanks Patterson. I will pass this along to him. It looks like our only option now is internet coaching for him. I have searched and there are no coaches/clubs in this area. He doesn't really like playing on computers but I am going to encourage him to. I don't want him to learn all on his own and develop bad habits. He is participating in another tournament this weekend but he will be in the K-4 category again. Being a scholastic coach, do you know of any tournaments in the US for Kindergarten/preschool ages? I would like to see how he does with children his age. He's been playing for about 6 months and some of the kids he plays have been playing for years. Thanks again for your advice and comment!

Hey ReaganHall, Internet coaching would be the easiest and most cost effective route for training. You should get him used to working with computers for his training because you can find a great deal of suitable software for this purpose. I would suggest Chessmaster because it has a kid friendly training program that will get him through the basics.

One of the things I stress with the parents of my younger students is that self learning (at any age) is crucial. What I mean is that the student should not solely depend on their coach for improvement. I have my students work on their own as well as with me. This way, they'll get to a point were we can meet monthly instead of weekly.

Exactly where are you geographically? I ask because I'll try to find some tournaments as close to you as possible. If you want, I can suggest some books etc to use in your own training program. I encourage the parents of my younger students to become involved in the training process. Just message me here at chess.com and I'll help you set up a great training program you can implement with your child (free of charge). Let me know if you have any questions and I'll look for some tournaments once I know your location.




I see that this post is kind of old, but I'm going through the same exciting adventure. Our son started when he was 4, and within a few months could beat the entire family. His first season of chess tournaments had him winning the Quad State Tournament, and tying for 2nd in State. It's a fun ride to say the least, especially when he sits across the table from an adult in a tournament. (we laugh because we know we will probably be changing his pull-up after the game) If you have not already discovered it, Chesster and Fritz is a kids computer game that teaches chess. Even if he is already doing pretty well, it teaches them the basics, with cool visualizations (for a little one). Also, this site is really helpful. The tactics trainer is a really good tool. (just ignore the timer part as it will rush him causing mistakes) Drop me a message if you want to chat more and exchange ideas. 


Amazing sir!

How talented your kid.

Wonder boy.

Really wonderful!


Wonder boy? Didn't you see 13. Ra5??

Scottrf wrote:

Wonder boy? Didn't you see 13. Ra5??

I have a feeling he'll work out that problem. I didn't know a rook from a piece of licorice when I was 4.


Yeah I was only kidding.


By the way, the rook was delicious, if somewhat hard to chew.


I won state for my age when I was 5. I stopped playing till recently. Very sad. Make sure he keeps playing. :)

JamieKowalski wrote:

By the way, the rook was delicious, if somewhat hard to chew.

So is licorice...


What you do is you pit him against Kasparov in 100 games. He will never play chess again.


Only joking :). Make sure he keeps playing and when he goes into middle/high school he will be rated 1800+


Dad needs lessons too. Wink


Op' been gone seven months.