Just like most skills, such as learning a language, chess is also easier to learn from a young age. From our experience, through our Chess-Schoolers program, even children as young as two years of age have been shown to reap positive benefits from the game.
When starting early, students are able to get a head-start at many different skills, the main, and perhaps the most obvious one, being problem-solving: Chess allows children to think of the bigger picture and envision steps ahead in order to know when the best opportunity arises. This also opens the way for creative thinking and abstract reasoning. Furthermore, chess has been shown to improve confidence in children as they play and, as we can all imagine, this attitude is extremely helpful going forward through childhood - and especially in adulthood. Another key skill that we can’t forget to mention is the academic aspect of chess. Although it may not seem like it at first, chess can actually help children develop their math skills. This is because, like a math problem, chess uses reasoning, problem solving, and critical thinking skills.
And so, what age is best to start learning chess? Well, chess often gets a bad reputation as some claim that it is tedious, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Some studies suggest that the right age to learn the game is around 7 or 8. However, starting even a little bit earlier has also been found to have its benefits as it could improve children’s memories and enhance their attention span. Overall, learning something as simple as the name of the pieces and the moves might be more suitable for younger kids aged 3 to 5, whilst starting to compete may be better for those slightly older.
This is one of the reasons for our Chess-Schoolers program, which intends to teach the basics and spark passion in the children’s minds. We aim to be as flexible as possible and this means adapting to the needs of the students. Oftentimes, young children are forced to learn the way adults do, thus giving off the idea that learning chess is difficult. But, in reality, they are just not learning their way.
Chess is a wonderful game for all ages, and it offers benefits for all. There is no right age to learn, there is only your way. Chess is a game for self-improvement and a great opportunity to learn valuable life lessons. And don’t forget: “Every chess master was once a beginner.”