Chess Sets Are Not Toys—They Are Teachi...

Chess Sets Are Not Toys—They Are Teaching Tools.
by Sandra Tiffany

Copyright (c) 2011 Sandra Tiffany

At a very young age my dad taught me how to play chess. We bring out the chess set during vacations, but it does me no good—dad wins every time. Chess is really not a toy in the traditional sense. It is actually a teaching technique that trains the young mind in planning, observation and strategy development. It is a sport that is played globally, online and is always a test of skill.

Chess sets consist of 32 pieces divided into two opposing armies of 16 who fight it out on a chess board having 64 alternating black and red or black and white squares. Traditionally, each side had a king, queen, two bishops, two knights (or horses), two rooks (or castles) and eight pawns who do battle. The object of the game is to capture or surround the other side's king so that it cannot escape.

The stately chess pieces of king, queen, etc. have the versatility of being transposed into almost any characters imaginable. So it could be goodbye to the lordly king and queen or the lowly pawn. Disney, for instance, could substitute almost any of its characters for a chess set. There could be princess characters, Shreck characters or any others from its vast domain of make-believe worlds.

The possibilities are endless—you could have one side being Democrats and the other being Republicans with presidents as kings, first ladies as queens, cabinet members as bishops, generals as knights, senators as rooks and taxpayers as pawns.

Chess sets can be manufactured of plastic, wood, ceramic or metal beginning at $18 in price. However, some chess sets are attractive works of art worth millions of dollars. Chess boards can also be quite simple square boards, folding boards, magnetic, or ornate battlefields.

Although some chess sets are collectibles and very valuable, they should never be thought of as toys in the category of dolls or toy fire engines. Chess is a teaching tool for the young mind. From the start, a chess player learns the capabilities and role of each piece. The child then learns how to advance against the other side and how to protect his or her own side from attack. And finally, the young player learns to capture the king of the other side.

Many young players go on to international fame as grandmaster chess players. They were not given chess sets to serve as toys. That's because chess is a teaching tool to train the mind.

About the Author

As a young girl Sandra Tiffany was given a chess set, not as a toy, but as a teaching tool. Her father taught her strategies of the mind, how to advance, retreat and ultimately how to win. Included in this site are articles and books on how to play chess and how to apply what is learned to everyday life. There is also a "Deal of the Day".