Playing chess is much more than just an intellectual exercise. While the game was originally conceived as a training regimen for military commanders to think strategically, it also has many practical benefits in mental development for children of all ages. Besides sharpening the brain cells, playing chess can build character, foster better relationships with siblings or parents, and encourage kids to be more focused and organized.
An important part of playing chess is the equipment having a quality set of wooden pieces that can last for years if treated well. But not all Amazon chess sets are created equal – children will outgrow a set in a year or two. Hence, here are some tips to choose the best one:
The size of a chess set is primarily determined by the child’s age, as kids grow quickly within a few years. It is always better to have a bigger board to have more room for the pieces, and nothing gets cramped up.
But this is not a hard rule as some manufacturers make foldable chess sets for kids so they can be kept flat and compact when not in use but have a bigger board when required.
The weight of the chess pieces should suit the age group, a simple rule is half a pound per foot that a child has attained in age. For example, an 8-year old child should have a set with a combined weight of 16 pounds, comprising eight-pound in the black pieces and another 8 pounds in the white pieces.
Wooden Amazon chess sets are much better than plastic or metal when it comes to quality because they have a long life and don’t wear out easily. However, this is not always true. Some well-made plastic and metal chess sets can be great, too, along with classic hand-crafted wooden ones. Always choose the best available in your budget.
You have to compare different boards based on what you can afford and expect from a good chess set made of a particular material.
The finishing of the chess pieces is important too. They must have a nice matte coating, so they don’t get slippery in kids’ hands, and there should be no rough edges or splinters. You can also buy chess boards with magnetic pieces instead of plastic, so the children will work on their arithmetic skills while playing.
Also, chess pieces should be weighted properly so they don’t get knocked over too easily and make a mess of things. Also, when children play with an unweighted or unevenly weighted chess set, they will not even realize that their dexterity and analytical skills are being improved.
When children play chess, they often get quite competitive and throw things around in their enthusiasm. So, a chess set must be able to withstand wear and tear from being carried around. Wooden pieces are the best for this purpose because plastic ones will break upon impact with hard surfaces, while weighted metal sets may damage the board over time.
6. Storage Option
The most important thing to consider is how you can store your chess set when it’s not in use. A chess board that folds and snaps up nicely is the best option for storage since this will ensure that all pieces remain intact and well-protected without getting knocked around in a cupboard or drawer.
Remember, the chess sets are often stored in a wooden box or cupboard when not in use, making them susceptible to damage. So it is better to avoid this by having foldable chess sets for kids. This way, the pieces can be kept flat, while there is ample space for storage too.
7. Easily Portable
Another factor to consider is whether the chess set will be easy to carry around and take with you on a vacation or a trip. If it is too large, the pieces might get damaged in transit.
But if it’s not large enough, then there won’t be enough space for all the pieces, which is why getting something bigger than your child’s current age isn’t such a bad idea after all. Also, remember that a folding board will need to have a nice carrying space for the chess pieces so they don’t get lost en route.
Amazon chess sets for kids are generally affordable, ranging from $25 to $60 depending on the size, material, and finishes. There are cheap plastic ones that you can buy for $20 or less, but they won’t last more than one or two years. Wooden chess sets made of basswood look very nice and will definitely last longer.
Whichever chess set you go for, make sure your kid enjoys playing with it and makes something productive out of their time spent with this educational game.