Chess Academy for Kids by Geek Kids

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
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Effective, step-by-step chess instruction for rookies.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn the game of chess. Through that learning process, they also improve skills in following directions and thinking logically. As they play the game, kids practice decision making, prediction, and strategy. Chess is not an easy game, so kids develop perseverance as they move through the various tutorials to higher levels of learning and play more challenging opponents. For newbies and kids who have a head start with chess but lots of room to grow, Chess Academy for Kids is a winner.

Ease of Play

Very easy to play. The main menu guides kids through play options: tutorials and practice, just practice, play a new game, or go back to a previous game. Tutorials are listed in order of difficulty. Kids can choose how they want to play, who they want to play against (real person or computer), and the level of skill for their computer opponent. The app shows kids step-by-step suggestions for moves.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chess Academy for Kids presents chess in an easy, step-by-step way that lessens the intimidation factor for kids who want to learn this classic game. Kids can review the 140 brief tutorials about each move, piece, rule, and strategy, and then play against a live opponent at home or against the app itself. The app tracks learning progress, which can help motivate kids to improve their game once they've learned the basics. For kids who don't have a seasoned chess player at home to teach them the game, Chess Academy for Kids is like having a personal chess tutor in their hands.

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What's it about?

From the menu, kids choose to view a tutorial, practice playing, or play a game. Tutorials are listed 1 through 140, and kids simply tap to read and learn about the chess piece, rule, or skill that interests them. To play, kids choose a character and select whether their opponent is the computer or a human (in person, who plays on the app with them). The game proceeds as usual, although the app provides prompts showing players all move options.

Is it any good?

Kids who want to learn chess will enjoy how the easy explanations and step-by-step tutorials in CHESS ACADEMY FOR KIDS ease them into the experience. There are a lot of settings to help kids customize gameplay, most of which make the game easier, such as showing the last move or available moves; if kids want to make the game more difficult, they can simply increase the computer's skill level up to 100 percent ("Hardest") or find a very challenging real-life opponent to play against at home or school. Chess is one of those classic games that helps kids with skills like thinking ahead, strategy, and logic far beyond the game's board. This app is a perfect blend of tutorials, practice, and play that will help kids develop those skills and enjoy the game at the same time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • If you don't know how to play chess, read the tutorials with your kids and learn along with them so you can play together.

  • If you have a real chess board at home, get it out so your kids can manipulate the real pieces while they're using the app.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strategy and board games

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