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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chess House Schoolhouse Review #hsreviews

I should learn to keep secrets from my kids with some review items we get. When the Starter Chess Learning Kit from Chess House was on its way, Amber pestered me every day about when it would get here. She loves to play games and with Elliott's Chess School DVD included she was excited to learn more about the game, and she wants to beat me!

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Chess House sent us their Starter Chess Learning Kit and it included a chess bag, a vinyl roll-up 20" X 20" playing mat, 32 (3 3/4") solid plastic regulation chess pieces, Elliott's Chess School DVD 1 "Pawn Level". We received a green bag, but it also comes in black, tan, green camo, and tan camo for $39.95. This chess game is for all ages, but with the level 1 DVD it is great for kids ages 6-12.

The chess pieces in this set are a great size for little hands to move. And with the larger mat it didn't seem like Alaina knocked over as many pieces as she does with our smaller chess set. The vinyl roll-up mat lays nice and flat when it is unrolled and should last a very long time.

Chess School is taught by Elliott Neff. He is the founder of Elliott's Chess School and Chess4Life. He is a National Chess Master and chess coach/teacher. He has defeated several International Master and Grandmaster level chess players in competition. With more than 20 years experience he has students who are ranked in the top 100 in the U.S. He is also proficient at blindfold chess with his recent record of 12 players at once.

The minute our chess set arrived Amber had it opened, we were very surprised to find 2 white queens and 2 black queens included in the game. Amber immediately set up the game so we could play. As soon as the game was over she wanted to watch Elliott's Chess School DVD. Amber (age 12), Delaney (age 11), and Alaina (age 8) all watched the DVD. Amber and I already knew how to play, but we both learned a few things from watching the lessons. Delaney never had a desire to play, and Alaina just liked to play with the pieces. After watching the DVD, Delaney knew how to play & enjoys playing now that she knows how. Alaina is getting it and likes to play as long as the game doesn't take too long to complete (she still gets distracted with wanting to play with the pieces that are already captured).

Elliott's Chess School DVD 1 "Pawn School" lasts 49 minutes and it is divided into 10 topics. It starts with an Into to Chess, then each piece is described in its own section, with Castling, Pawn Shields, and Development finishing it up. Elliott does a great job describing each piece and showing how they can move. If you have ever been intimidated with learning to play chess Elliott's descriptions make it very easy to understand and it looks so simple. During the Intro to Chess you will learn how to set up the chess board, how to keep score, and the name of each square on the board. During the segment for each chess piece he shows you each piece, where they start on the game board, and how they move. An ariel view of a computerized chess board also appears to show you the same thing. At the end of each section he recaps everything that was taught. Elliott does such a good job at describing Castling that my girls picked it up the very first time. During the Pawn Shields and Development segments we are shown tips on how to protect our king with some examples of good and bad moves.

The DVD also contains a booklet that gives a brief description of each topic if you ever need a refresher.

Elliott's Chess School has 6 primary levels of skills and knowledge. Each level builds upon the previous one to master development. Amber is really wanting to get more of the DVDs, so she will be able to beat me and her brother when he comes home from Afghanistan.

The carrying case comes with handles and a shoulder strap. It is great for taking it to play with friends. There is a compartment for both colors of pieces and a spot for the DVD with booklet, and a strap to hold the rolled up board in place. No more pieces flying all over the room when someone accidentally drops the game on the way to the table.

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