girl playing chess

11 Strategic Chess Books for Children

Chess for Kids

The author, Michael Basman, is a chess master and tutor for advanced players. He shares all of his knowledge in this thorough chess book for kids who want to up their game. All of the basics are covered, like the names and powers of the pieces. Kids will also learn about the Queen's Gambit, the castling move, and other strategies to win the game. Large, colorful illustrations and easy-to-follow diagrams will appeal to young children just starting to learn. For inquisitive readers, there is an interesting section that covers the history of chess, the evolution of the game, and the most recent changes to the rule book.



kids playing chess

Best Books That Teach Kids Chess

Chess is a game that can feel overwhelming the first time a child attempts to play. All of the pieces have specific powers that determine how and where they can move across the game board. This alone seems like a tremendous amount of information to remember. But the real challenge is learning how to anticipate the opponent's moves while also planning your own strategy for winning the the game.  The best way to learn how to play is by accumulating knowledge over time through a variety of sources. And a good place to start is by reading kids books about chess. The guides cover all the basics, like the names of the pieces and chess terminology, and then move on to explain the fundamental guidelines. Once your learner has a solid grasp, introduce  instructional books about chess that cover higher level strategies and more complex ways to navigate the game.  


Kid's Guide to Chess 

 This colorful, illustrated book is filled with 100 tips for mastering the game. There is something for players of every skill level in comprehensive guide. Readers will learn all the rules, vulnerable routes, tactical moves, and a lot of other valuable information. The author covers the history of chess and presents chess scenarios pulled from world championship competitions for readers to try and solve.


 Simple and easy chess rules for kids

Kids will want to keep this handy book by their side during all games until they have a good understanding of chess. Easy-to-understand diagrams present a variety of chess moves for kids to follow. Readers will learn the difference between small and large castling and other tactical moves.




 alex and the wednesday chess club

Alex has learned a lot of valuable lessons playing chess. After a long winning streak, he feels the sting of humility when his uncle beats him. So the boy puts away the game and vows to never play again. A few years later, Alex decides to give it another try and joins the chess club at school. Weeks of studying and practice are reflected in his improved skills. With an upcoming tournament, Alex wonders if he will walk away in defeat or win at the game he loves.




 How to Play Chess for Kids

Kids will not only learn how to play chess, they will also be introduced to simple strategies for winning the game. Children as young as eight will find this chess guide easy to understand and full of helpful tactics for capturing the opponent's pieces. Filled with diagrams, rules, and game tactics, this children's chess book is a great way to teach and expand a young player's knowledge. Bonus material in the back of the book includes chess quizzes and an in-depth glossary so that kids can acquire the language of the game. 



How a King Plays: 64 Chess Tips from a Kid Champion

Oliver Boydell was a chess champion at the ripe old age of 11. This chess phenom, who holds titles at both the state and national level, shares 64 chess tips he has acquired since he began playing at 5 years old. The small size of this book makes it perfect to grab when on the go to a chess game. It is filled with inspirational words of wisdom as well as creative strategies that the author personally utilized to achieve incredible outcomes against formidable opponents.

 How to Beat Your Dad at Chess

This fun title focuses on the end goal of forcing opponents into checkmate. Recognizing patterns and putting them to use is the central theme in this book that helps readers fine-tune their tactical skills. Illustrations of positions in real games are used to showcase the "50 Deadly Checkmates" that the best players from around the world utilize to win their matches.


 How to Play Chess for Children 

This great guide for beginners is a solid addition to the current chess books available for children. Basic concepts are introduced and then the author delves into all kinds of plays, including the well-known castling move. Kids learn a variety of helpful chess techniques, like how to avoid a draw when they are winning and how to force their opponents into a draw when they are losing. There is a ton of advice on strategies to open the game, how to effectively play mid-game, and ways to finish with a solid win.



 Chess Puzzles for Kids

Once your child has a solid understanding of the rules of chess, it's time to talk strategy. Keep in mind that this book is not for beginners.  It is, however, a handy tool for kids to work on their chess skills outside of a live game. There are 100 positions to solve, ranging from somewhat easy to extremely difficult. Preceding each puzzle is a set of instructions with tips about patterns kids will learn to recognize. This book comes highly recommended for more advanced players ready to expand their tactical thinking.


 Chess For Kids

 This popular book includes 10 lessons broken into short chapters for beginners. Each one is organized around a chess-related topic that builds upon the previous lesson. Readers will learn about the pieces, fundamental concepts like check, checkmate, and stalemate, and ultimately work on their ability to think and strategize. Interestingly, the book is presented from the viewpoint of seven year old twins, reinforcing the fact that even young children can learn the game.


 Chess for Kids: An Interactive Guide to the World’s Greatest Game 

This comprehensive guide teaches kids everything they need to know about playing chess. Young players are introduced to all the pieces, like the king, queen, knights, bishops, rooks, and pawns, and all the rules of movement. They also learn how each piece attacks and defends. The author provides a detailed look at how to find weaknesses in the opponent's strategies and how to close out a game when pieces are scarce. Most importantly, kids are taught through interactive workbook pages, mock chess games, and colorful visual images of chess moves. Almost 200 pages of chess-playing knowledge is passed along in this highly informative book.


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boy playing chess


Quality Chess Sets for Kids 

Chess sets can be beautiful works of art prominently displayed in a home's living room or study.  The pieces may be carved out of wood and placed on gameboards with rich tones are reminiscent of wealth, intelligence, and status. At the same time, chess sets can be made out of inexpensive plastic pieces splayed across a piece of cardboard with a pattern of blocks. No matter what the set looks like or what material it is made from, the game itself is exactly the same. Here are some of our favorite chess sets to give children that fit every budget. 


wooden chess set

Gorgeous handcrafted pieces are polished to perfection in this high-quality chess game. The wooden board is designed to fold conveniently for travel and storage. The table surface made of inlaid walnut makes a nice statement when displayed. And the felt on the bottom of the pieces prevents scratching on the surface.



no stress chess game 

Perfect for beginners, this chess set teaches players the rules of the game while playing on the practice side of the board. Each player takes turns drawing a card and moving pieces according to the instructions. The cards provide information about the power of each piece and whether or not they can be moved based on the opponent's pieces. Once novice players are ready to advance to a real game, they simply flip the board over and play without the cards.


Best Chess Set Ever 

For players seeking for a modern experience, look no further than this silicon chess game board. Sturdy, durable, and lightweight, this game is marked with algebraic notations to help guide beginners. The heavy staunton chess pieces weigh in at a solid 2.2 pounds, and the set includes four bonus Queens. As an added bonus, this best chess set ever comes with a book to guide novice players and to help those more experienced learn game-winning strategies.



Wooden Chess & Checkers Set with Built-in Storage Drawers 

This solid, wooden chess set with heavy Staunton pieces makes a thoughtful gift to kids ready to take their game to the next level. The sophisticated, traditional carved chess pieces have felt bottoms to prevent scratching. As an added bonus, there is drawer filled with checker pieces so this set is really two games in one.


kids playing chess

Children's Chess Guides for Beginners

A game of strategy between two players, chess challenges kids to outwit and outthink their opponents by following a complex set of game rules. The ultimate goal is to checkmate the other person's king, which means that this king cannot escape immediate attack. At the very beginning of the game, each player starts with 16 pieces, one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights and eight pawns.

Unlike checkers, where every piece has the same authority, chess has a much more nuanced set of guidelines that players must follow. Each person must have a plan of attack as well as a defensive strategy that is based on anticipated moves of the opposing pieces. Not only must players have a thorough plan for their entire game, they must have a backup plan in the event that their opponent surprises them with unforseen tactics. Kids' books about chess will provide them with an arsenal of moves their pieces can make no matter what the opposing player does.

In an age where kids are consumed with video games, binge-worthy television, and other entertainment with immediate gratification, chess can be a valuable tool to teach them a thing or two about patience. The game requires a high level of concentration, a quiet environment free of electronics and other stimuli, and the ability to think strategically instead of reacting impulsively. It's a game that can be introduced to kids at an early age, but one that they will never outgrow. 

Teaching children to play chess is a long process where more sophisticated rules can be introduced over time. One of the best places to get started is by gathering guides that teach kids how to play chess. Keep a book or two next to the chess set for your children to reference as they are learning the game. Allow them to "cheat" by following the moves of mock games. Over time, children will learn to assimilate all of their knowledge and grow into competent players. Best of all, the skills and virtues they learn along the way, including patience, strategizing, and planning, will carry over into other aspects of their lives.

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