What is a Good Age to Start Chess?

What is a Good Age to Start Chess?


Every chess champion has had to encounter their first rallying of rooks and pass the checkmate challenge. From Howard Staunton to Bobby Fischer, all masters of the king of games began with humble foundations. So, let’s conquer castling and keep our checks in check, as Jaques of London asks, what is a good age to start chess?


How Does Chess Benefit Children?

Of course, there are many great reasons to get youngsters involved in the strategic skills to be discovered by playing chess. The earliest players will have already developed key skills in competitive play, but are now ready to take their combative cravings to a more strategic battlefield.

From early beginning to elite levels of play, chess demands that players are able to recognise patterns of play and strategize around ever developing sequences of the game. This ongoing cycle is not only key to developing general intelligence, but also emotional aptitude. In the constant anticipation of their opponent, child chess connoisseurs are tasked with placing themselves into the perspective of others.  In doing so, they will develop stronger empathetic links with others.

Future Kings and Queens of the chess board will also be challenged with processing information at greater speeds and accuracies. This ongoing requirement for adaptive planning enables children to gain superior skills in forward thinking and modifying plans to fall in line with ever changing scenarios.  

With many unique benefits for early leaners, it is no surprise that many of us are so keen to see our children take up the chequered board ASAP.


Is My Child too Young for Chess?

Finding yourself stuck between a rook and a hard place when it comes to deciding if your child is old enough to play chess? Whilst there is no strict opinion on the best time to progress your first pawn, there is no doubt that children need to be properly positioned to not only learn the most from their playtime, but get maximum enjoyment from their endgame efforts.

This has seen chess taught broadly across nurseries throughout the world, with many taking the view that, when it comes to playing chess for the first time, the earlier the better. This of course comes down to your own child and their ability and desire to engage in play. We believe in the advanced benefits of learning through play – so fun should be a fundamental in asking, “Is my child old enough to play chess?”

Magnus Carlsen began his journey to chess master at the age of 5. However, Soviet world champion, Mikhail Botvinnik, made it to the more senior status of 12-years-old before his first game, going on to advance at an astonishing rate.


When Can a Child Learn Chess?

The simple answer is that there is no correct age to learn chess. Perhaps the most important take-home for parents is that, as with so many educational endeavours, it is important not to pressure with pawns and badger with bishops. Whilst is may be easy to get carried away with ideas of raising our own future Fischers, the complexity of the game requires an equally attentive and curious mind to play.

With so many significant benefits to playing chess, it is important not to undermine the process. The earliest stages of learning the game must revolve around fun. So, whether creating unique scenarios of chess piece battle, or beginning with a family set to inspire imagination, be sure to keep your kids check-static about every game they play.


Jaques of London are the proud creators of the Staunton Chess board design. With such a legacy in the world of the king of games, we know that when it comes to asking what is a good age to start chess, the answer is only ever one move ahead.

Kate Luke
Head Of Brand
After graduating with a 2.1 Music degree, Kate pursued a career in the Music Industry, becoming a professional West End vocalist and a fully qualified Music Teacher, School Choir Leader and Songwriter. As one of Jaques of London’s Creative Editors, her specialism surrounds building confidence and expression through music & play—drawing upon her qualifications in Music Psychology & Child Development. As well as this, she is an accomplished blog writer and published journalist who enjoys promoting the importance of Montessori learning for all ages.
Ben Williamson
Creative Writer
Ben is passionate about Montessori learning for children and has written for many parenting publications to bring the magic of real play to families in the UK. After graduating in 2009, his career has enabled him to work in areas such as Child Development and Psychology. As a great believer that learning starts at home, he combines his experience with his own parenting style to help bring other families together.
Jess Casson
Marketing Assistant
Jess graduated from the University of York in 2022 with a degree in Sociology and Criminology; kickstarting her career in the creative marketing industry through content creation and social media management. One of these roles involved creating content for a children's holiday camp, which alongside a knowledge of Montessori Teaching, formed an interest in childhood development. Utilising her expertise in both these fields has allowed her to promote and share her passions with the online community while exploring her talent for writing and establishing collaborations.
Laura Henderson
Interior Designer
Interior Designer, Laura Henderson, lives in Surrey with her husband and two daughters. Taking a timeless approach to her designs and drawing on her love of colour, antiques, art, modernist furniture and photography she delivers luxurious compositions and peaceful sanctuaries within every space. Her previous experience in furniture design plays an integral role in the development of each of her projects, as does the time she spends getting to know her clients. She uses this to achieve beautiful, practical, reimagined layouts, resulting in projects that enhance a client’s lifestyle, reflecting their individual passions. To learn more see her website www.laurahendersoninteriordesign.com.

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