Chess has been called the game of kings, and I have four kids that think it's pretty grand. Hence, when the opportunity to review the Starter Chess Learning Kit from Chess House came up, I jumped on it. This set is very impressive. It comes with the following:
- 20" by 20" roll up chess board
- plastic chess pieces with a 3 3/4" regulation size king (these are *not* flimsy plastic pieces!)
- 49 minute DVD divided into segments explaining each chess piece and how it moves
- a duffle bag to carry it all
The narrator of this DVD is a chess master who is incredibly easy to watch and makes chess seem both fun and approachable. As he explains chess, he demystifies the game and makes one feel that anyone can play the game. The entire set is so well made, and the fact that it is portable is what makes it such a huge hit in my family. My kids can take this chess set anywhere! We have never had a soft chess board before; it's a great innovation!
How My Kids Used Chess House's Set
I need to begin by saying that all four of my children (12, 10, 8, and 8) already knew how to play chess prior to receiving this product for review. They knew how to move each piece and were familiar with the idea of basic strategy, thinking ahead, castling, pawn promotion, etc. Essentially, everything that is covered in this DVD, they already knew. When this DVD is billed as beginner level, it really means it is beginner level. That is a great thing for a family that wants to learn chess, but doesn't really know where to start! For my kids, it was a little bit of a disappointment. They kept waiting to learn advanced strategy. They thought that at any time they would be finding out some secret that they didn't know. I myself wasn't sure they depth that the DVD went into, so I couldn't tell them for sure that they wouldn't learn anything new until the end! After looking at the website, I was able to tell them that there is a "Knight" level DVD (we reviewed "Pawn" level). They were glad to hear that.
What I can say is that they love this chess set! We have several chess sets at our house, ranging from extremely "fancy" ones that my husband and I owned and played on prior to having kids, to several that the kids have been gifted over the years (it turns out that we have more than I even realized prior to getting this review!). However, this chess set is all of our new hands-down favorite! Its flexibility and portability are unmatched. When I have to take my girls to dance for several hours, my boys can easily take along chess. When my eldest daughter has to go to debate, my younger kids can play chess. It has been such a lifesaver!
Chess House's Starter Chess Learning Kit is recommended for all ages and costs $39.95. Other Crew families with kids of all chess abilities got to try out this great set, so click on the banner to read all of the reviews.