Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Starter Chess Learning Kit from Chess House (Schoolhouse Crew Review)

We received the Starter Chess Learning Kit from Chess House for review purposes.

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Product Link: Starter Chess Learning Kit

Vendor Contact Information: Chess House

Age Appeal: Ideally for those 6-12 of age

Format: DVD and chess set (with roll-up mat and case)

Price: $39.95 plus shipping

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Are you looking for a fun easy way for your children to learn chess? 

Have look at Chess House’s Starter Chess Learning Kit.  It contains a 49 minute video (“Pawn Level”) where Chris Elliott will teach your family the names of the chess pieces, how much they are worth, and some basic moves.  You will also receive a durable chess set, roll-up chessboard, and a carrying case that holds everything.

Our Experience:

I have played chess a couple of times and the children played their own version of chess.  I knew Chess House’s Starter Chess Learning Kit would be perfect for B and C.

When we got the kit in the mail, the children were really excited.  We had to sit down and watch the video and try to play the game.  B was more into playing the game than C, so B and I played together.  C enjoyed playing the simple activities that were shown in the booklet that came from the DVD.  She would also play games with B.  Dad even had time to watch the DVD and play the game with us.

This is a game I know we will play for years to come.

I Liked:

  • I liked the instructions on the video.  I enjoyed learning about the different chess pieces, how much they were worth, and some strategies.  My favorite strategy was castling.  It worked well for me.
  • I liked how much B learned from watching the video and how he applied it when he played with me.  He was a lot better than I expected him to be.

I Disliked:

  • I enjoyed everything!

What B (boy, age nine, officially in fourth grade) Liked and Disliked:

It is a very good product if you would like to learn chess.  I liked watching the video and playing chess.  I thought the roll-up chessboard was pretty neat.  We could take it anywhere.  It was really fun.  I was disappointed when when we had finished the video, I wanted to learn more.

I think this product is good for kids and adults of all ages.

What C (girl, age seven, officially in second grade) Liked and Disliked:

It was fun playing chess.  I liked watching the video and learning how to play chess.  It is good for people of all ages.

Dad’s Call:

I have not played chess before and I found Elliot Neff's Chess School instructional video (for beginners) easy to follow, understand and successfully play the game of chess. When I saw the travel chess set I was impressed with the quality of the case. The game pieces were nicely tucked away in their own pockets, one for black and one for white. The game board is an easy to unroll and roll up mat marked with the alphanumeric numbers for game play. The chess pieces are plastic and stay in place quit well. I also liked the size of the pieces as they were clearly indeed for children to easily use.

The instructional video is professionally done and is broken down into short segments about each piece, the game setup, and a few strategies for playing. Elliot spoke clearly during his instructions and made the information as simple as possible. They also used a computer generated game board to add illustration for Elliot's topics. B & C followed along rather easily and enjoyed Elliot's videos as well.

The one downside I saw to the videos is during the computer generated board shots. There was inconsistency in using red or green to highlight pieces, board squares, and moves. It would have been better if green had been used for identifying pieces, squares and appropriate piece moves and red used for incorrect moves, incorrect pieces and just in general not following game rules. Fix that and Elliot Neff's Chess School will be a solid checkmate for instructing beginning chess players. Even without the color fix your kids' understanding of chess rules and game play will be as clear as knight and day.

Mama highly recommends Starter Chess Learning Kit from Chess House.


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