Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Chess House

I don't know how to play chess.  I can never remember what all the pieces do.  Craig taught Luke & Ezekiel when they were younger, but Jacob, Micah, & Nicholas have never learned, and I lack the ability to teach them myself.  I was excited when Chess House came up for review with the Schoolhouse Review Crew. They sent the Starter Chess Learning Kit ($39.95), which is recommended for ages 4 and up.
This Starter Chess Learning Kit contains:
  • Elliot's Chess School Pawn Level (Level 1) DVD
  • Vinyl Chess Board (20" x 20")
  • Solid Plastic Chess Pieces
  • Chess Bag
I'm really impressed with the quality of the chess set and bag.  The odor free vinyl chess board is nice and large, and unrolls cleanly for a nice, smooth surface (no wrinkles or curling).  The chess pieces are sturdy, and include a regulation size king.  The bag is well constructed with pockets for the pieces, board, and DVD, and it's available in black or green.  It would be easy to throw in the car to take on the go.

National Master Elliot Neff is the teacher on Chess School DVD.  He's coached chess for over 17 years, and by watching the Chess School DVDs and practicing, you are able to learn chess from a fabulous teacher.

The Pawn Level DVD (49 minutes long) teaches:
  • Intro to Chess
  • Pawns
  • Rooks
  • Bishops
  • Queen
  • King
  • Knights
  • Castling
  • Pawn Shields
  • Development
Learning how to play chess is as easy as watching a DVD segment.  These segments are short, and the instruction by Elliot Neff is engaging and easy to understand.  After watching the DVD segment, there are practice activities for each skill taught in the booklet included in the DVD case.  These activities are fun, and really reinforce what was learned through watching Elliot on the DVD.  Skills are taught logically and sequentially, and this helps retention as well.

Jacob, Micah, & Nicholas really enjoyed Elliot's Chess School.  After mastering one skill through watching the DVD and playing the practice games, they would beg me to be able to watch the next segment on the DVD to learn the next skill.  Through watching the DVDs and practicing with each other, I saw the boys' skill levels increase.  They loved competing against each other, and I loved that they weren't just competing in a game of chance, but having to use logic and exercise their brains.  Best of all, they were having lots of fun doing it!

I firmly believe that chess is a game worthy of learning.  Strategy, logic, and memory are all taught and reinforced when playing this age-old game.  As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, I've struggled with learning chess, but this Starter Chess Learning Kit has even helped me.  If you'd like to introduce your family to the game of chess, I high recommend you check out this kit from Chess House.

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For more reviews of Chesshouse.com, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


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