Tap to Read ➤

Chess Rules for Kids

Sayali Bedekar Patil Mar 17, 2019
Chess is a wonderful game to encourage your kids to learn, for it develops thinking, planning, and strategic skills. Chess rules for kids are somewhat different from the rules for beginners of a somewhat higher age, because kids have lower patience levels with things that require learning.
Chess rules should be made easy to understand and fun to know, otherwise it is not the kind of game a kid will be interested in. Children have very short attention spans, so to teach such a complicated game requires you to have patience and incorporate fun.
Today, the world has known of this game champions in their teens, so just imagine what your kid could do, since you're starting him off early. Before moving on to the rules, let us try to understand how to teach it to kids first.

Getting Your Child Interested

Getting your child to think that learning chess is a fun thing to do, will be the most tedious task. The board is neither colorful nor interactive, so it might be more difficult than you think.
But take it step by step with your lessons. Don't push your child if he says he's had enough, or he might lose interest forever. Your child should be able to pick up things quickly when he's that young, so utilize it to the fullest.
  • Show your child a chess board and help him familiarize himself with it. Let him know how it works; you have one color and he has another, you have one side and he has another, etc. Don't forget to tell him the main objective, and how he can win it if he captures your king. He will be more interested in toppling the king over, than anything else.
  • The first step to get your child interested in the game is to play with him without using any rules. Let him move any of his pieces (make him understand that he only has one color at his disposal), while you continue making legitimate moves. You will find that your child invariably copies you.
Keep repeating the names of the pieces he moves, and he'll soon grasp the names. The piece movements will take a little time though.
  • The next step is to encourage legal shots even if the boards checks are ignored. The point is to get him to understand the kind of movements a piece can make, not how he can make them on the board.
For example, it is okay if he puts his bishop diagonally on a square, which required him to jump over one of his own pieces. Appreciate that at least he's grasped that a bishop moves diagonally.
  • Give suggestions about how your child can get your king. The aim is to let them win. There is nothing like the high of winning that can get your child hooked on. Let your child learn, and he will pick up every point you make about the game much faster.

Easy to Learn Rules for Children

Playing chess should not be a chore you make your child do, just have fun, and he will be automatically inclined towards it.
The point is not about teaching him all the strategies and tactics, but just about getting him to think that it is just another fun game to master. If your child comes to love the game, he will learn to master it on his own. Here are some basic rules to help your child learn how to play the game.

The Board Set Up

Show your child a setup board. Show him the checkered black and white board before you set up the pieces for him and explain the basics, i.e., two sides (separated by piece colors) on the board. Tell your child that he has 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops, 1 king, and 1 queen, just like you do.
Don't expect him to be an overnight expert with the piece names, but be patient, and he will grasp them eventually. Don't forget to show him the placement of each of his pieces on the board.

Piece Movements

As he will not remember everything immediately, it is good to be rhetorical and repeat the following every chance you get, every time you play.
It is just like teaching your child the English alphabet, the more you repeat it, the sooner he will know it by heart.


Though the simplest and most easily accessible of all the pieces, the pawn is the most difficult to explain because of the many different types of moves it can make in different situations. Pawns can move two squares forward on their opening movement, and one square forward every move after that.
When capturing another piece on the board, they move one square diagonally forward, and hence, only a piece that's situated diagonally is under threat from a pawn.
Remember that you're teaching a kid, so leave pawn transformation, castling, and en passant strategies for the time when he knows the game basics fully and is ready to promote himself to the 'strategy and tactics' phase.


They can move forward, backward, or sideways, for any number of squares, as long as they move straight and do not jump over pieces.


This will also be tricky to explain to your child that a knight can only move in a 'L' shaped manner in any direction. They can go two spaces forward and one space sideways in one move, and are the only pieces that can jump over other pieces.


Bishops can follow the color of their starting square and move diagonally on the board, for any number of spaces. They cannot, however, jump over other pieces.


The queen can move in any direction for any number of spaces, but only in straight lines (either forward, backward, or diagonal), but she cannot jump over pieces.


The king can move in any direction, but only one space at a time.
Once your child grasps the basic rules, he shouldn't have a problem playing the game at an extremely basic level. Once he gets the basics, you can start tutoring him on some opening moves and some other advanced strategies for beginners. The winning strategies will only come once he turns pro. Good luck with your little grandmaster!