Frequently Asked Questions

At what age is my child ready to learn chess?

Generally, children are ready to learn chess when they have the patience and aptitude to sit and play a complete game.  Early introductions to the game often occur when children are between four and six years old.

Where can my child can play chess outside of school?

Individual and group instruction is available, as well as chess clubs that are open to players of all ages along the Peninsula in the Bay Area. Contact Us for more information.

My child really enjoys chess and I am interested in hiring a private instructor.  What should I look for in an instructor?

The type of instructor that is best for your child depends on factors such as skill level and personality.  Keep in mind that an instructor's rating does not necessarily mean he/she will be a good match for your child.  For beginner-level students, an instructor familiar with youth development, with experience working with youth, and with the ability to teach chess fundamentals is important.  As the student progresses, he or she will need a more highly skilled instructor.  If you invite an instructor to work with your child outside of school, it is recommended to ask for proof of fingerprinting/background check.  This is often called a LiveScan, which an instructor can provide.

How do parents of chess students know their child is progressing in his/her scholastic chess program and/or private instruction?

There are multiple outcomes Advantage Chess strives for.  Generally, there are three areas in which parents may see progress.  One is in academic work in school and chess work.  The second area is in competitive chess play,  how well the student implements chess knowledge and the student's enhanced ability to concentrate in competitive play.  Thirdly, is class (both school and chess) performance such as staying on task, following instructions, interacting with their peers, and showing good sportsmanship in competitive play.  Remember- doing well academically in school does not always translate into winning competitive chess games.  As students progress in competitions, it is often when they are developmentally ready to remain focused regardless of age.   

How can I foster my child's interest in chess?

Any book with varied chess puzzles is good.  The Winning Chess book series by Yaser Seirawan is recommended for beginner-level players.  The website is a popular site for beginning players.  There are also sites such as and that are more suitable for older or more experienced players. A great way to encourage your child to play more is to enroll them alongside a friend or a sibling. The more students practice their game, the more they will improve and the more they will enjoy playing chess. 

How can I start a school-based program if my child's school does not offer one?

Contact Us to learn how parents have helped initiate chess programs in their child's school.