Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chess House: A TOS Review

  photo chesshouse_zpsb107d6c1.jpg

     Do you know how many points a pawn is worth?  What is "castling?"  Do you know that bishops must always move at a diagonal?  Which piece in chess moves in an "L" shape?  I would have looked at you with a blank stare if you had asked me these questions a few weeks ago.  Now I know all those answers and much more thanks to Chess House.  Our family received the  Starter Chess Learning Kit  in hopes that the guys in the family would refresh what they already knew about chess, and hopefully learn even more.  For me, I was curious to find out the basics of the game since I knew absolutely nothing.

What's included in the Starter Chess Learning Kit:
Full Chess set with vinyl mat
  Storage bag

     When we first opened this product I was immediately impressed with the quality.  So many things are cheaply made these days...but not this!  The bag is well constructed, the chess pieces are made of a heavier plastic with green felt bottoms and the mat is nice and thick.  There are elastic straps inside the bag to hold in the rolled-up mat.  The mat unrolls nicely.  No worries about it curling up. There are 2 pockets inside the bag for the chess pieces, so they all stay well contained.  We traveled with our bag in/out of our van for almost 2 weeks.  I loved how well it traveled.  No concerns about smashing a cardboard box or bending the chess board.  Definitely a "grab and go" kind of game!

     A word about the DVD:  The DVD includes 10 short episodes.  (5-10 minutes each) They begin with the very basics, then each build upon the other.  My boys (and my husband) loved the DVD!  I thought the way it was done was very "cool" and up-to-date.  Elliot did a great job communicating.  It is not at all "childish," though he speaks clearly enough for a child to understand.  I really like the way he asks questions along the way to keep you involved.  He always reviews what you have learned at the end of each episode. My kids are already asking for the next level (Knight Level) for Christmas!
How we used the product: 
     Since my boys were pretty familiar with the game of chess, we watched the first five episodes all in a row*.  This was a great review for them.  They then played a game of chess.  After that, they watched 3 episodes, then played a game.  Lastly, they watched the last 2 episodes and played another game.  Now we are in the stage of just playing the game and re-watching parts of the DVD for clarification as needed.  This is very helpful.  The use of this product has definitely made my kids (and husband) want to play more chess.  Now, after dinner time the question is which kid gets to play dad first!   (*For a beginner, I would not recommend moving this quickly at all.  I would watch one episode at a time, then do one of the activities in the DVD booklet.  After getting the hang of  the concepts, then play an actual game.)  

The mat comes labeled, so this really makes it nice for beginners and coordinates with how Elliot teaches on the DVD.

So hard to decide which move to make!

Age range: The age range is ideally suited for around 6-12 years, but it is great for anyone older who has never played chess or has just beginner knowledge. 

Cost of product: The Starter Chess Learning Kit is $39.95

Similar products: Go HERE to check out all their chess sets.
Elliott's Chess School DVD #2 Knight Level


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