The growing body of evidence that chess is very good for children makes it a very desirable thing for them to do. But how do you get them to learn to play properly? I often see kids playing chess against each other but without good instruction they produce random gibberish. Many of the benefits of the game will then lie unrealized.
One answer is for parents to learn to play themselves and then make chess a family thing. Once parents know the moves and notation they can show their kids problems and be able to look up the correct answer. Another possibility is to play through master games, perhaps getting them to guess the next move. It’s a great way to spend time together and brings benefits to all concerned.
A concern that many people have is that they might be ‘too old’ or are setting themselves up to get beaten by younger and sharper minds. Certainly it’s true that their kids might soon beat them but that won’t stop them learning. Although adults beginners find it harder to acquire a high level of tactical ability they are able to latch onto more abstract concepts such as quick development and control of the centre faster than children. This can make them excellent guides even though they might lose.
So how should an adult learn to play? Find a beginner’s book such as David Pritchard’s The Right Way to Play Chess and go through it with a board and pieces. Once you’ve done that then try playing online at Yahoo Chess until you get familiar with how it works. And when you want to get better come back to The Chess Improver for further guidance!