Chess Is Child’s Play

Chess Is Child’s Play

By Laura Sherman and Bill Kilpatrick



Most people instinctively know that learning to play chess can increase creativity and imagination in all areas of life. But many don’t know how or why it does.


Imagination starts with a creative idea. Imagination grows when creative ideas are acted upon. Few people realize how creative they really are.


We find this with every child we teach. They didn’t realize how smart they are!


Chess breeds confidence. It brings clarity of thought.


A young chess player has lots of ideas and they learn to see creative patterns and sequences of the many possibilities that exist on the board in front of them.


Every move allows a player to bring more and more of their plans, decisions and strategies to life on a chess board.


Children learn regardless of whether they win or lose a game. The combination of creative ideas and organized thought is unique to chess. When a child understands the game they quite naturally are drawn to it. They gather around.  They each have ideas of their own.


They all come up with different types of plans.


It is very important to encourage imagination very early in life.


What does chess have to do with creative thinking? Everything!


Chess helps a child develop his or her imagination. After all we’re just looking at a board with 64 squares and a bunch of pieces that can move around in different ways until the players breathe life into their games.


As a person improves, each position on the board communicates more and more to the player. One starts recognizing familiar patterns and combinations, seeing how to build from them into new ideas. As these skills increase it becomes easier and easier to plan future attacks and predict outcomes.


The way to win a game of chess is to plan out a strategy and then follow it through until you have achieved your goal, anticipating and countering your opponent’s moves along the way. It all starts with your vision, your ability to imagine a goal.


Get good at this over the chessboard and you’ll be able to apply this to your life. Imagine what you want to achieve, regardless of how “impossible” it might be. Set your objective and take the necessary steps needed to make it happen. Barriers will pop up, but they won’t be a problem if you anticipate them and plan countermoves.


The possibilities are endless and are under your control. The worst thing you can do is push those dreams aside and do nothing to move them forward.


Chess drills players to routinely accomplish their goals, the ones they create that come from their imagination. Let’s teach our children early that it is good to dream and that those dreams can come true. If we do that we might just be looking at an unstoppable next generation!




Laura Sherman and Bill Kilpatrick wrote Chess Is Child’s Play, which teaches any parent, of any skill level, to teach any child, of any age, to play chess. This book is available on amazon.

The Nimzo-Larsen Reti (Introduction)

The Nimzo-Larsen Reti is the basis of a transposition that takes most often to an English alternative control center, improved. But it is flexible opening that fits the needs of the position, and offers a choice of effective response to the opposition. It can be played in different ways, and according to the choices and judgments of positions, one can find very easily in one English, one KIA or Catalan.

Diagram 1

A. Nf3 – d5 2. b3 – Bg4 3. Fb2 – Nf6 4. g3 – c6 5. Fg2 – Nbd7 6. 0-0 – e6 7. c4 – …
In this position the Nimzo-Larsen Reti is translated into English, Caro-Kann defense (A12) .








 Diagram 2

A. Nf3 – d5 2. b3 – Bf5 3. Fb2 – Nf6 4. e3 – e6 5. d3 – Bd6 6. Cbd2 – 0-0 7. Fe2 – Nbd7 8. c4 – …
In this position the Nimzo-Larsen Reti is transposed into Kings Indian Attack (A06) .








Diagram 3

A. Nf3 – d5 2. b3 – Nf6 3. Fb2 – g6 4. c4 – c6 5. e3 – Bg7 6. Fe2 – 0-0 7. 0-0 – DA5
In this position the Nimzo-Larsen Reti is again transposed into English (A12) .

You will notice in the three diagrams, control boxes d4 and e5 . There is also a recurring challenge to the square d5 . The pawn structure is sound and does not easily dismantled in mid-game, which takes in a final serene in general.

Despite its apparent passivity is a very active stance based on the control of black squares and search of progressive weakening of the adversary. It is an opening that does not matera quickly, and does not offer a spectacular game. But it provides a strong position , a healthy pawn structure , play progressive and adaptive with a flexibility that expects and anticipates the opponent.

Herve Garnica
National Master