The thing we love most is introducing kids to chess, and so we're always excited to get kids started! The first thing we do with every student who's new to our online club is a Getting Started meeting with the child and (ideally!) a parent as well.
The meeting has four goals, which are:
- Make sure new students and parents are comfortable.
- Walk new families how things work like scheduling classes and joining tournaments.
- Answer questions that students and/or their parents have.
- Figure out at which level the child should start.
Will chess be fun? Yes!
What kinds of chess coaches are there? Awesome ones!
What level classes should we do?
Knowing what level a child should start at is easy for two types of students:
- Children who don't know the rules of chess start in Pawn classes
- Students who are already tournament players. For example, at some point we had a student join the chess club where the parent said "my son is in third grade and rated a little over 1200." That translated roughly to one of the top ten or so players in the state for his age, and sure enough he got a little better and took third at the next state tournament.
For everyone in the middle, families don't have an easy way to know at which level their children should start. Lots of kids learn the rules from their family or a friend or a school club, and how much a child knows based on that varies wildly from student to student.
The best way we've found to sort through these questions is to talk to children, ask them questions, and answer their questions. Most students start off at the Knights level or Bishops level, but not all. Sometimes students are basically ready for Rooks, but they need to do one Knights lesson (piece values!) first.
All kids are unique, and the knowledge and skills they bring to our club are often unique too, so we treat them that way!
One last thing - after you've started, you can always send us email to check-in and ask questions. We're here to help!