Review by Carrie Garges, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2019

ChessKid

The right combo of learning and play for chess fans at any level

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Math

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
K–12
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Pros: Videos and lessons make learning chess fun and easy.

Cons: Missing closed-captioning for video limits accessibility.

Bottom Line: Whether learning, playing, or coaching, ChessKid has it all covered.

Teachers can finally start that chess club without fear; ChessKid includes everything a coach needs, including tools to manage the club participants and weekly reports to organize teams. Classroom teachers can lean into the program's Classroom Planner, which includes unit lesson plans. A downloadable guide to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) demonstrates all K-4 standards supported by the program, although kids of every level will learn from the lessons.

With messaging limited to accepted friends as well as the ability of families to restrict their kid's acceptance of friends, adults can confidently allow students to play and reach out to other safe users. 

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ChessKid teaches the game of chess with lessons and play. Each player, regardless of mastery level, can learn from lessons and videos that cover a wide range of topics, such as an introduction of each chess piece, opening offensive and defensive strategies, and common attacking patterns. Videos are followed by interactive quizzes, so players can test their new knowledge. Completing all video lessons and quizzes helps players level up through the rankings -- Pawn through Knight -- and unlock lessons for more challenging tactics and strategies. Several modes of play offer something for everyone. Options include slow or fast play, choosing an opponent from bots or a list of friends, and even joining tournaments.

ChessKid's tracking and management tools with on-hand lesson plans make coaching approachable for teachers and parents alike. The beauty of the game is accessible to everyone through entertaining videos and an incremental approach to the lessons. Games allow for real-time critical thinking and problem-solving at a level that matches each player's ability. Multiple formats, including against the computer, against a friend, or in a tournament, really keep the gameplay interesting for students. Students of all levels can master chess through this program since lessons take time to cover the basics before entering into more complex strategies. And students get a chance to test their knowledge after each lesson before seeing it in action during gameplay. Closed-captioning for videos would make ChessKid even more accessible to students. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Lessons are easy to follow, and great animation keeps beginners around long enough to become experts. Play is kept interesting with multiple formats, including against the computer, against a friend, or in a tournament.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

ChessKid lessons take time to cover the basics before entering into more complex strategies and tactics. Players get a chance to test their knowledge after each lesson, then see it in action during gameplay.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

A dashboard tutorial isn't included, but the use is pretty intuitive. Players can change settings to one of the supported languages and use hints during some play, but closed-captioning for videos is missing. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Carrie Garges Classroom teacher

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