What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this instructional chess software covers pretty much every teachable aspect of the game. Learn Chess is a very demanding course of study, despite its fun, cartoony environments. Kids will need a lot of patience and a long attention span, but they can learn a lot about the game of chess if they do. Two players can compete against one another wirelessly, but only with two DS units and two copies of the game.
What's it about?
Believe it or not, LEARN CHESS, actually does have a storyline. A pirate has stolen the treasured chess pieces of a ghostly king, and will only return them if he is bested in a chess match. The ghost-king is bound to his castle, so he decides to train you, the player, to play chess and become good enough to beat the pirate and earn back his stolen chess pieces. In the course of the tutoring, the ghost will run you through many lessons and present you with several challenges or quizzes for each. In between lessons, you are free to explore the haunted castle, which is full of point-and-click surprises.
Is it any good?
Learn Chess seems about as thorough as any instructional chess game aimed at children can be. The colorful and playful environments offer a much welcomed break from the instensely cerebral chess lessons. Learn Chess is only appropriate, though, for kids who have the patience to really absorb the lessons and learn the strategies involved in playing chess. The ghostly tutor won't even allow you to attempt a shot at beating the pirate captain until he thinks you're ready. You've got to beat him first -- and that could take a while.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the value of learning chess. What skills can one learn from the game other than simply being good at the game of chess itself? How can you apply ideas and stategies you learn from chess in other aspects of life?
Parents can also use the game to talk about delayed gratification and the importance of practice. It is unlikely that even on the easiest level, children will beat the computer in their first few attempts -- but practice can allow them to eventually do so.