For anyone out there who might have thought 5 is a little too young to learn to play chess, like I did, I am here to tell you that you might be wrong.
Huck's Uncle Steve gave him a chess set for Christmas but it has sat, unmolested, on the shelf since then. Fortunately, Uncle Steve was just here for a visit so we got the board out (dusted it off) and Uncle Steve taught Huck to play.
I knew he was capable of learning the names of the pieces and how they move, but I really thought that's about as far as it would go. He's not dumb, but he's 5! He's wild and squirrely and full of beans. But his capacity to stay focused on an entire game, to look a few moves ahead and employ some basic strategy, and his love for playing has stunned me. Of course, he loses constantly, but he doesn't seem thwarted by that in the least.
In fact, he's become kind of addicted.
And while I love that, I really do, I personally do not enjoy sitting and playing chess. I'd honestly actually rather do dishes. And this new obsession has ushered in lots of begging and whining for someone to play with him throughout the day.
Enter, the computer.
I have found my saving grace and it is called Chesskid.com.
It is completely free and it allows me to foster this new interest and help him continue to learn the game whenever (well almost whenever) he wants. Plus, he now happily accepts that I can only play with him once every day, or two--we have developed a habit of playing one game with him after dinner.
On Chess Kids, he can play the computer at various levels (Hard, Medium, Easy or Silly) or he can play other kids who are online (we haven't done this yet). There's also a training section where he can watch videos or learn new tactics when he's ready for that.
So, if you like playing chess (or have a good internet connection) and have a 5 year old you think might be ready, give it a shot. You might be surprised at how interested they are in playing a grown up game.
I must say, it is very QUIET and civilized and does give us a much needed break from the constant exhibition of super powers.