Help a child play chess online with a friend

Now that chess clubs are playing online instead of meeting in person, many children are missing the social aspects of chess club. They miss being able to see and talk with their friends while playing chess.

Here is how you can help your children do this with ChessKid.com:

First agree on a time with the parents of your child’s friend and then connect the children with a phone call or video chat at that time. You will need to do that with your phone or a separate video app as ChessKid intentionally does not have social networking features. (It may be easier to use a laptop for ChessKid and a separate device for the phone or video call.)

Both children can then log in to ChessKid and click on “Play vs. Kid.” You should also make sure that they know each other’s ChessKid usernames.

They should then click on the “friends and clubmates” tab, which is the rightmost one. This will show which of their friends are currently in the “Play vs. Kid” area of ChessKid. Each child will be listed with either a binoculars icon or a “hand holding a pawn” icon. The binoculars icon means that that child is currently playing a game which you can watch by clicking on the binoculars.

If a child has the “hand holding a pawn” icon next to their username that means that they are available to play and you can invite them to a game by clicking that icon. In the example above, if EagerPuzzler is your child’s friend, they can invite or challenge EagerPuzzler to play a game. This will display the following panel which will allow your child to select how much time they would like each player to have to make their moves. Since they would like to socialize during this game, having more time would be best, and they should select 15 minutes.

Once their friend accepts the challenge, the game will begin!

Please note that these instructions assume that children are in the same club within ChessKid as clubmates will be listed on the “friends and clubmates” tab. If your child’s friend is on ChessKid but not in the same club, you can still connect them using the instructions in this “How to Understand ChessKid’s Safety Features” article.

Parents and coaches can also play games with a child if they are “guardians” on that child’s account. If you would like your child to be able to play with another adult relative like their grandparent, you can add that relative as a Secondary Guardian using the instructions in this ChessKid “How to Manage Guardianship” article.

Using Online Resources to Teach Young Children How to Play Chess

Many parents are leveraging online resources to teach their young children how to play chess, especially during this time when school and community chess clubs are meeting virtually. The online tools are so good that older children can learn how to play on their own, and parents can teach their young children, even if they do not know how to play chess themselves.

The primary tool we use is ChessKid.com, because it has excellent lessons designed specifically for children. Each lesson has a brief, fun video followed by interactive exercises so children can practice what they just learned. The interactive exercises for the introductory lessons have audio as well as text explanations so children who do not know how to read can still do them with help from their parents. The lessons follow a natural progression and are organized into levels beginning with the Pawn-level lessons which teach how the pieces move.

ChessKid “Meet the Rook!” Lesson

Children can then practice moving the pieces using the “Learn to Play” game in the free ChessKid app on iOS and Android devices. In this game, children keep moving a piece until they capture a star by landing on it.

Another good resource for learning and practicing the basics of chess is lichess.org/learn#/. Children can use this part of the lichess.org website without creating an account. This has a similar game where you move a piece to a star, but it has more advanced levels with multiple stars.

When there are several stars, children get more points by reaching all the stars in fewer moves; while they are practicing moving pieces, they are also starting to learn more advanced chess concepts, like visualization, planning, and evaluating alternatives. Even experienced players enjoy these exercises!


lichess.org Learn Chess Basics exercises

Once children learn these basics, it will be easier for them to participate in their chess club’s virtual meetings, and they will enjoy playing their friends using the ChessKid “Play vs. Kid” and “Puzzle Duel” features.

Please let us know if you are using other online resources to teach your young children how to play chess. You can do this by adding a comment to this blog post or by contacting us directly. Thank you!

How to add students to your group within ChessKid

Since we have a ChessKid Enterprise account, we have created separate Groups within ChessKid for each of the school and library chess clubs we support through our Game Changer program. (If your club is not part of our program and you do not have your own Enterprise account, you can still organize your students in ChessKid using the Club feature as this article explains.)

Here are instructions for the leader of each chess club in our Game Changer program, so you can add Kid accounts to your Group. 

We recommend the first method for students who are new to ChessKid.  If a few of your students already have ChessKid accounts, then you can use method 3 to add their existing accounts to your Group. If you have students in an existing Club in ChessKid, then we recommend method 4.

There are 4 ways to add Kids to your Group, depending on the situation: 

1) You create the accounts for the Kids and give them their username & password

2) Kids create their own accounts using the Group Signup Link

3) Kids who need to move existing accounts into your Group use the Registration Key

4) You can add Kids from an existing Club into your Group using the Add Club Kids feature

For Kids who do NOT already have a ChessKid account: 

Method #1:

Create the Kid accounts from within your Group & give the Kids their logins

(Recommended! This is a very organized way of creating accounts: you control the custom usernames and all students will have an account immediately.)

  • Enter the Group you’d like the Kids added to,
  • Click Add New Kids from the right side menu:
  • Complete the spreadsheet with your students’ details. We recommend real First Name, Last Name, a Custom Username & an easy-to-type Password. Parent & Kid Email are completely optional fields.
  • Be sure to give your Kids their Usernames & Passwords – and explain how to log in.
  • A great way to do this is with the Print Login Cards tool! This creates a printout with your kids’ names, usernames & passwords that you can distribute during a class or club. Find this on the right side menu of your Group page:

Method #2:

Use the Kid Signup link (Kids will create their own accounts)

  • Enter the Group you’d like the Kids added to,
  • Find the Signup Link on the “Info” tab page.
  • Give this unique url to your students & suggest a custom username.
  • This sign up link requires that the Kids enter a custom username, first name, last name and parent email. The kids will automatically be added to your Group.

On the same page, you’ll find a Printable Sign Up Sheet – that automatically includes your Group’s unique sign up link, in case you’d like to print out copies for schools or events:

  • Click the Print Signup Page icon.

For Kids who have an existing ChessKid account: 

Method #3:

Use the Registration Key

  • Find the 6-digit Registration Key on the “Info” tab page of your Group. Give this code to the Kid.
  • Have the Kid log in to his own account & click the grey Settings icon. **They’ll need to log in from a browser for access to this page.**
  • Enter the Kid’s first & last name, and parent/guardian email.
  • Click “Do you have a Group Registration Key”
  • Enter the 6 digit Registration Key & click Save. The kid will be added to your Group.

For Kids who have an existing ChessKid account and are in one of your existing Clubs in ChessKid: 

Method #4:

Use the “Add Club Kids” Feature

  • Enter the Group you’d like the Kids added to
  • Click the More Tools drop-down from the right side menu and then click Add Club Kids:
  • Choose a Club from the list of your Clubs and then click Submit to add the kids from that Club to this Group

Thank you for helping us support 17 chess clubs at NC schools and libraries

Thank you for telling your principals, PTA presidents, teachers, and friends about our Game Changer grant program to help NC schools and libraries start chess clubs. Thank you also for contributing to our 501(c)(3) and playing in our fund-raising tournaments.

With your help, as of November 29, 2019, we are now supporting 17 NC schools and libraries spread across 13 cities in 8 counties and are making good progress towards our goal of helping 100 NC schools start chess clubs.

This includes 4 elementary schools (K-5), 2 middle schools (grades 6-8), 2 high schools (grades 9-12), 4 K-8 schools, 3 K-12 schools, 1 grade 6-12 school (which serves students from 6 counties), and 1 library (which serves an adjacent high school). You can see photos of many of these schools on facebook.com/IndermaurChessFoundation and twitter.com/IndermaurChess.

If you would like to start a chess club or class at your school, please apply for one of our Game Changer grants.

Thank you, again, for your support and for spreading the word about our program!