Starting up in chess

Many parents have recently asked me: “I want to get my kid started in chess, but I don’t know how. What would you recommend?”

I’m certainly not an expert, but here are some things I’ve found useful:

  1. Chess camps: Daniel’s first summer camp was with bayareachess, and it really got him going great. Later on, he also participated in more advanced camps. “Chess camp for chess champs” with his coach Ted Castro was really great. There are many chess summer camps in the bay area, and it’s a great way to get started.
  2. Books: There are so many books on chess, it’s very difficult to choose the good ones without some guidance. FIDE recently published its recommended books list, which should be an excellent resource. Personally, I really liked is Silman’s Complete Endgame Course.
  3. Computer Software. Using computer software is great. It’s a very engaging way to learn chess and kids love it. For beginners, I really liked Learn to Play Chess with Fritz and Chesster. After you learn the basic moves, getting a copy of Chessmaster: The Art of Learning (or Chessmaster 9000 if you have a mac) is really worthwhile. Other software that I heard is good (but have not personally used): Deep Fritz 12, Deep Rybka 4, and Shredder 12.
  4. Websites. There are many websites where you can play online, and learn about chess. ICC is very well known, but I find the interface out-dated and not very kid friendly. is nicer. There are many others. The USCF and FIDE websites are great resources for tournaments and news about chess. Locally to the bay area — I like

I hope this is helpful. If there are other useful resources you know of, please share.