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Make playing chess fun for the kids. Tell them about the basic rules and let them play.
I agree chessmates, kids wants always fun, the more they happy the more they interested, don't use a word that hard for them to understand when you teach her, as simple as possible and try to connect every situation in her favorite field like how fairy tale hero fight those bad guy. good luck!!!!
I also interested to learn more about this topic cause i have 2 year old son.
If you are interested, this site looks kinda cool...I have read good things about it:
My father taught me chess at 5. He taught me the names of the chessmen and how they move. Then we set the board up and played. He never said another word about it. I fell in love with the game and we played every weekend. Again, he never gave me a word of instruction, just let me learn from my mistakes.
One day, he took me to the library. I discover this strange phenomon called a chess book. I checked out as many as the librarian would let me. I remember, as an 8-9 year old, trying to read this crazy language. It didn't make much sense. But I kept playing against my dad and any friend who cared to venture.
Really, I think that is the best way to learn. Teach the names, movements, and positions of each piece and get to work. Let the child then learn at his own pace.
Unfortunately, I am not as smart as my father. I try to teach my kids all kinds of strategies and tactics all in the first lesson. Then I wonder why they don't want to play. So, I quit teaching them. My 8-year old son is now beginning to be very interested after a year or two with no instruction. He made me put Chessmaster on his computer. Maybe this will be his motivation to finally get his homework done.
I coach k-6th graders. The number one thing is just to play. Chesskids is great and I've used it for both of my children, using their very easy but progressive chess computers as opponents.
Pawn game is great, and mates in one then two I agree are the best problems to start with.
But probably the best thing is just playing alot of "think aloud" games where everyone says what their intentions are, and anyone can point out other ideas. Likewise, I let my kids take back alot of moves, repeat "look again" alot. Make them verbalize their thinking process. Keep it simple at first and stick to the three basic principles: use your whole army, control the center, protect the king.
Just my two cents...
First and foremost, make it fun. If they're not having fun, this little forray into chess won't last very long. Just play for fun. Let them hang pieces. Capture some of them to prove a point (but let others go). Hang some of your own pieces and let them be captured. Heck, point them out. Who cares?
Then move forward a little. Teach the concept of counting attackers and defenders. Then move forward a little more and teach them about controlling the center. Then move forward a little more... this process could take days, months, or years depending on your child's interest level and attention span.
You have to remember that a kids' concept of time is entirely different from our own. They may play chess a bunch this week and not touch it again for a month. My son does that. It can't all be loaded on at one time. They have to be small steps and they have to be fun steps.
And it helps a lot if they have other kids their age to play with (my son does not since his sister hasn't shown as much interest in the game yet).
I'm only 12 and started playing chess when I was about 6 or 7 years old, non of my parents new how to play, but my brother did and he is just 2 years older then i am. and he explained it fine. Now i'm school's top 3. ( high school) All you have to do is tell her what the pieces are and how they move, then the rule(like dos and don'ts.) Hope this helps
Nobody has mentioned this yet (except maybe Polgar et. al. - I haven't looked at their stuff yet) but do exercises outside the realm of chess. The biggest problem for kids is that they have a weak board vision. They don't see that the bishop can move here, or the pawn can capture the rook, etc. So when I teach kids (and I've taught a few) how the pieces move, I set up an 'obstacle course' with just that one piece and a few enemy pawns. I tell them that they have to move the piece around, capturing a pawn on every move, and the other side doesn't get to move at all. They're not allowed to touch the piece until they tell me the path it will take. They therefore learn to see ahead for that particular piece and they get used to envisioning, mentally, how it moves. This helps A LOT! Move from Rook to bishop, to queen, to knight. Kings and pawns by that point will be intuitive.
Try How To Play Chess Like An Animal, a great book for getting kids interested in chess. www.chesslikeananimal.com
Start the steroids early.
I'm teaching my 4 yr. old chess. She understands how to set up the board and how the pieces move, though I ocassionally have to remind her how the knight moves and how the pawn attacks differently than it moves. She also understands check and pawn promotion but I'm going to wait to teach her ep and castling till she is more comfortable with it.
I searched for this article to try and find the most efficient way to teach a 4 yr. old the basic rules, and I think I found my answer. The NoStressChess that KnightNotHorse mentioned looks like a great idea, but I'm not crazy about the cheap quality board and pieces. This did give me the idea to make flash cards though which I will do along with some drawings on one om my tournament sets.
I also teach college students how to play. The flashcards will be good for them too.