When I was a kid my dad had a small travel chess set. He didn’t use it much but I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever. Every once in a while he would take it out and let me play with it. He would share the moves that each piece made and over the years a few of those lessons stuck with me.
A few years ago, we met the staff from Chess At 3 at an event and my then-toddler loved playing chess with the group. I considered putting her into lessons with them but life happens and I never made it that far. Fast forward until about two years ago and we ran into them again! This time they were sharing their new game Story Time Chess. It was a way for everyone to be able to take the Chess At 3 lessons home. Yes! This is exactly what we needed because between swim, gymnastics, and dance at the time I could not make adding another structured lesson work.
At the time, Story Time Chess was still a ways away. Fortunately for us, it has now been released and we were blessed enough to be chosen to check it out. JustaBXgirl was super excited when the box arrived and started reminding me all about playing with her Chess At 3 friends. We have now added the game to our daily agenda and I can say it is part of the day that we both look forward to. Of course, being the overachiever that she is, JustaBXgirl wants to get through every lesson in one day but mama bear is taking things slow, We are reading one to two chapters each day and taking time to soak in the lessons.
This game will have you easily feeling like a Chessmaster because it makes chess simple. It tells a story so that we are not trying to master the entire game at once. By breaking down each piece on the board into a chapter gives the player the time to get to know the piece. It gives us time to practice each piece’s move. It gives us the ability to become familiar and master each move before moving onto the next one.
After reading the chapter and learning about the piece’s backstory, we are supplied with exercises for each piece based on the piece’s moves. The exercises are so much fun that we end up playing them more times than the instructions call for. Oh, and did I mention that each game piece gets to dress up as it’s character from the story? How cute is that? JustaBXgirl says that she is never taking the costumes off of the pieces. I don’t blame her. It’s a lot of fun with them dressed up. Kind of reminds me of wizard chess because it feels like they are real.
I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend some downtime each day than learning a life skill like chess in such an entertaining way. And yes, I consider chess a life skill. It is very important in life to learn how to strategize and playing chess gives one the ability to see the consequences of their actions. It is also a good lesson on how at times to win we need to make sacrifices.
While we were playing with the pawns, I shared that a lot of people don’t find them to be critical and will sacrifice them without giving it much thought. JustaBXgirl was shocked by this. In the book that goes along with the game the pawns are the king’s children so she places a high value on them and couldn’t imagine sacrificing a child. That was until we started to play with the bishops and she realized that the only way for the pawns to beat the bishops would be for some of the pawns to be sacrificed.
Strategy doesn’t come easy at seven. I mean, let’s be real, strategy doesn’t always come easy at forty but learning and discussing strategy over the chessboard has been a lot of fun and something that I hope JustaBXgirl remembers when she grows up. Just like I hold onto memories of my dad’s chessboard, I look forward to JustaBXgirl remembering how she learned to play chess one day, at home with mom and Story Time Chess!
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