Like in any sport or game, the best way to improve is to practice, practice and practice. Children should be encouraged to play in chess tournaments from an early age, to get a feel for how these work. They might even win!
Once a child shows an interest in chess, then they should try and join a school or local chess club. Learning with others of a similar age also helps boost their chess levels, whilst enhancing their social network.
Other ways to improve are to buy chess DVDs or books. There are literally hundreds out there on the market, but I will recommend the following:
The Play Magnus App, a slick new app developed by World Champion Magnus Carlsen. You can set it to a certain age and play the World Champ himself!
Websites I recommend to play chess on;
I strongly recommend the ‘Step Method’ books, which were devised by two Dutch chess coaches (Rob Brunia and Cor Van Wijgerden). They are chess tactics books in A4 size which the child can do at their own pace, meaning they develop as fast as the flow takes them.
In my view, the difference between a good young chess player and a very good one is all about their tactical ability. These books will help no end. These books are used extensively in the Netherlands and Belgium (amongst other countries) in the chess clubs to teach young people, and they have been proved to be a wonderful learning tool.
There are 6 steps, 1 being the very beginning and 6 being very testing, so for interested parents I recommend buying steps 1 to 4 and only then buying 5 and 6 once these have been completed. At 4.95 Euros each they are also amazing value for money.
How to Beat your Dad at Chess is another good book for children who have learned the game of chess. By demonstrating 50 key chess tactical attacking ideas, children can be on the winning trail blaze in no time in their games. As stated above, children need to learn their chess tactics in order to improve quickly, so this book will help that.
For those graded around 80 ECF or more;
For those around 110 ECF or more;
Like with pretty much anything, kids are being brought up nowadays on visual based learning. So chess DVDs could be a good way to teach your child chess (and/or improve them further).
A good DVD to start with is Fritz and Chesster This is mainly for very young children, possibly for 8 years and under although any child could use it.
This is produced by our good friends at Chessbase, who are a very well renowned chess company and they produce many good chess products. I know many of my pupils have used Fritz and Chesster, and they and their parents have given this the thumbs up.