As a professional copywriting journalist, I have seen the benefits of teaching chess strategy to young children. Not only does it improve their critical thinking skills and concentration, but it also challenges them to think ahead and anticipate their opponent’s moves. However, the challenge lies in making it fun and enjoyable for 6-year-olds.

So, how do you explain chess strategy to a 6-year-old? It’s all about simplifying the concepts and making it interactive. In this article, I’ll be sharing some tips on how to teach chess strategy to young children and make it a fun and engaging experience for them.

Key Takeaways:

  • Teaching chess strategy to young children has numerous benefits, including improving critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities.
  • To teach chess strategy to a 6-year-old, it’s important to start with the basics and make it interactive and fun.
  • Simple strategies, such as controlling the center of the board or developing pieces harmoniously, can be easily taught to 6-year-olds.

Why Teach Chess Strategy to Young Children?

As a professional chess player and coach, I firmly believe that teaching chess strategy to young children can have a significant impact on their cognitive development. Chess is an incredibly complex game that requires critical thinking, concentration, and problem-solving abilities. By teaching these skills to young children through chess, we can help them develop strong mental faculties that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Research has shown that playing chess can improve brain function and enhance memory, attention, and creativity. It can also help children develop better decision-making skills and learn how to think ahead and anticipate the consequences of their actions. These benefits can be especially valuable for children as they grow up and face increasingly complex challenges in their personal and professional lives.

Furthermore, chess can be an incredibly fun and engaging activity for children. It allows them to use their imagination and creativity, while also providing a stimulating intellectual challenge. By introducing chess strategy to young children, we can help them develop a lifelong love for the game and the skills that come with it.

Understanding the Basics of Chess

To teach chess strategy to a 6-year-old, it’s essential to start with the basics. First, we need to ensure that children are familiar with the board, which consists of 64 squares of alternating colors, arranged in an 8×8 grid. Each player begins with 16 pieces, including one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns.

The goal of the game is to checkmate your opponent’s king, which means trapping it so that it cannot escape capture. Players take turns moving their pieces, and each piece has its unique way of moving, making the game both challenging and exciting.

Before diving into strategy, children should learn the different types of chess pieces and how they move. The king moves one square in any direction, while the queen can move in any direction along a straight line or diagonal. Rooks move only horizontally or vertically, bishops can move diagonally, and knights move in an L-shaped pattern. Pawns move forward one or two squares on their first move and then one square forward thereafter.

Introducing Chess Pieces and Their Movements

Now that 6-year-olds have a solid grasp on the basic rules of chess, it’s time to introduce each chess piece and their unique movements. This will help them understand how to strategically use different pieces on the board.

Let’s start with the most important and powerful piece on the board: the king. The king is the tallest piece, and can only move one square at a time in any direction. Next, we have the queen, which is the second tallest piece and can move in any direction along a straight line, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. A key piece for dominating the board!

The bishop is a tall piece that moves diagonally, and the knight, which is a little horse-looking piece, moves in an “L” shape pattern. The rook is a castle-like piece and moves horizontally and vertically. Lastly, we have the pawns, which are the smallest pieces and move forward one square at a time, but capture diagonally.

It’s important to note that some pieces can capture others and that each move has its own limitations. Make sure to emphasize the rules of each piece and how to protect them from capture as well.

Teaching the Value of Each Chess Piece

Understanding the value of each chess piece is an essential aspect of developing a strong chess strategy. It’s important to teach children the significance of each piece and how their movements impact the game. In my experience, I’ve found that children are more likely to enjoy chess when they understand the value of the pieces they’re moving.

Let’s start with the most powerful piece on the board, the queen. The queen is the most valuable piece as it can move in any direction and any number of squares. It is important to keep the queen safe and use it to attack your opponent’s pieces.

The next valuable piece is the rook. The rook can move horizontally or vertically any number of squares. It’s important to use the rook to control open files and ranks which will make it easier to attack your opponent’s pieces.

The bishop is less valuable than the rook or the queen but it can still be very useful. Each player has two bishops that start on opposite colored squares. Bishops move diagonally and can control many squares at once. It’s important to use bishops to control the center of the board.

The knight is a unique piece that moves in an L-shaped pattern. It can jump over other pieces and is the only piece that can do so. Knights are valuable for controlling the center of the board and for attacking your opponent’s pieces from unexpected angles.

The pawn is the least valuable piece, but it’s still important. Pawns can only move forward and capture diagonally. They are often used to control the center of the board and to protect the more valuable pieces.

Teaching children the value of each piece helps them make better decisions during the game. Encourage them to think about which pieces are most valuable and which pieces they can capture without losing their own. With time and practice, they’ll develop a strong understanding of chess strategy and be able to enjoy the game to the fullest.

The Power of Pawns

As the weakest pieces on the board, pawns are often overlooked by novice players. However, their strategic value should not be underestimated. Pawns are the backbone of any successful strategy, providing a solid foundation for the rest of your pieces to build upon.

One key aspect of using pawns effectively is controlling the center of the board. By placing pawns in the center squares, you can limit your opponent’s mobility and gain a strategic advantage. Pawns can also be used to protect other pieces, such as knights or bishops, by forming a protective wall around them.

Another important role of pawns is their ability to promote. When a pawn reaches the opposite end of the board, it can be promoted to any other piece except for a king. This allows players to gain an extra queen or knight, for example, which can be a game-changing advantage.

Planning Ahead and Thinking Steps Ahead

One of the most critical aspects of chess strategy is the ability to plan ahead and think steps ahead. It involves anticipating your opponent’s moves and developing strategies accordingly, which can help you gain a competitive edge during the game.

For 6-year-olds, planning ahead may seem like a daunting task, but it can be simplified by breaking the game down into smaller components. Start by encouraging them to consider the starting positions of each piece and identifying which ones to move first.

Additionally, teach them to observe the opponent’s moves and think about possible responses. This can be accomplished by asking simple questions like “What will happen if I move my pawn here?” or “How can I protect my knight from being captured?”.

By instilling the concept of planning ahead and thinking steps ahead early on, you can help your child develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that they can apply in other areas of life as well.

Starting with Simple Strategies

When teaching chess strategy to young children, it’s important to start with simple and easy-to-understand concepts. Here are a few strategies that 6-year-olds can begin implementing in their games:

  • Control the center of the board: Encourage your child to focus on occupying the center squares of the board with their pawns and pieces. This will give them more control over the board and make it easier to develop their pieces.
  • Develop pieces harmoniously: Teach your child to avoid moving the same piece multiple times in the opening and to instead develop all pieces towards the center or along their own side of the board. This will help them create a strong and balanced position.
  • Protect the king: Emphasize the importance of keeping the king safe by castling early and avoiding moves that expose it to attack.
  • Think ahead: Encourage your child to start thinking about their next few moves and their opponent’s possible responses. This will help them anticipate their opponent’s tactics and develop their own strategies accordingly.

Starting with simple strategies like these will help your 6-year-old develop their chess skills and confidence while having fun with the game.


Teaching chess strategy to young children can be a rewarding experience both for parents and teachers. By making it fun and engaging, children can learn critical thinking skills, improve their concentration and boost their problem-solving abilities.

Before diving into strategy, it is important to ensure that 6-year-olds have a solid understanding of the basic rules and components of chess. Once they have mastered the basics, you can begin introducing each chess piece and their unique movements in simple terms that they can easily understand.

It is also important to teach children the value of each chess piece and how they can be used strategically to guide their decisions during the game. By understanding the power of pawns and learning to plan ahead and think steps ahead, children can develop their strategic skills further.

Starting with simple strategies such as controlling the center of the board or developing pieces harmoniously can help children gain confidence in their skills and enjoy the game even more.

Overall, teaching chess strategy to 6-year-olds can have a positive impact on their cognitive development while also providing them with a fun and challenging game to play. So why not give it a try and see how your child or student can grow their love for chess!


Q: How do I explain chess strategy to a 6-year-old?

A: When teaching chess strategy to a 6-year-old, it’s important to make it fun and engaging for them. Break down the concepts into simple terms they can understand and use interactive methods, such as storytelling or visual aids, to help them grasp the strategies.

Q: Why should I teach chess strategy to young children?

A: Teaching chess strategy to young children has numerous benefits. It improves critical thinking skills, concentration, and problem-solving abilities. It also promotes logical reasoning and helps develop their memory and planning skills.

Q: What are the basics of chess?

A: Chess is a game played on a square board with 64 squares of alternating colors. Each player has 16 pieces, including pawns, rooks, knights, bishops, a queen, and a king. The objective is to strategize and capture the opponent’s king while protecting your own.

Q: How do I introduce chess pieces and their movements?

A: Start by explaining each chess piece and their unique movements. For example, the pawn moves forward one square but captures diagonally, while the rook moves horizontally and vertically. Use simple language and visual demonstrations to make it easier for a 6-year-old to understand.

Q: Why is the value of each chess piece important?

A: Each chess piece holds a different value and has its own strategic importance. Understanding the value of each piece helps guide decision-making during the game. For instance, sacrificing a less valuable piece for a more valuable one can give you an advantage.

Q: What is the role of pawns in chess?

A: Pawns are the most numerous pieces on the board and play a crucial role in controlling the center and supporting other pieces. They move forward, capture diagonally, and can be promoted to a more powerful piece if they reach the opponent’s end of the board.

Q: How can I teach 6-year-olds to plan ahead in chess?

A: Introduce the concept of planning ahead and thinking steps ahead in chess. Encourage 6-year-olds to anticipate their opponent’s moves and develop strategies accordingly. Emphasize the importance of thinking ahead and considering multiple possibilities.

Q: What are some simple strategies to start with?

A: To begin, teach 6-year-olds simple strategies like controlling the center of the board, developing pieces harmoniously, and protecting their king. These strategies provide a solid foundation for more advanced tactics and help them understand the importance of positioning.

Q: What is the importance of making chess strategy fun for 6-year-olds?

A: Making chess strategy fun and enjoyable for 6-year-olds encourages their engagement and helps them develop a love for the game. By incorporating interactive elements, storytelling, and visual aids, they will be more motivated to learn and improve their chess skills.