Kids 'n' Chess: When Is Too Young?:
Part of the Kids Chess Guide

Kids Chess Guide
[Chess: When Is Too Young?]

Kids Chess Guide
- Chess: When Is Too Young? -

Kids Chess Guide - Teaser - Chess, When Is Too Young?When I came across the work of the great educational pioneer and developmental biologist, Jean William Fritz Piaget, I had to include the section of his "Stages of Cognitive Development", as I feel it offers some guidance with and is an interesting concept for the Kids Chess Guide.

In this article, I've paraphrased from the original piece, which can be found at this website:, and have left out the stages of development between ages 0 and 2 Years.

Jean William Fritz Piaget
- Stages of Cognitive Development -

During ages 2-4

Referred to as the "Pre Operational Phase", the child is able to use a small selection of words, although they can't understand the full extent of what they're saying.

The child can use speech to refer to an object, even when it's not in front of them.

During ages 4-7

Referred to as the "Intuitive Phase", speech begins to have more meaning; they are more aware of their social surroundings and the child has a better understanding of some logical concepts.

However, the child isn't fully able to weigh up the merits of one item versus another - single aspects are likely to be focussed on to the exclusion of others.

Their surroundings aren't fully anchored into reality and what they perceive something to be isn't always likely to be an accurate assessment.

At this stage, a child isn't able to decide how best to behave given a moral or ethical dilemma.

They lack ability to comprehend game rules and are only able to follow simple Do's and Don'ts.

During ages 7-12

At this stage, the child is beginning to demonstrate ability with organisation and logical thinking.

Different types of tasks can be carried out; items can be arranged in a logical order and there is an understanding of the rules governing conversation.

The child is able to work through problem-solving tasks.

Concepts are able to be reversed - e.g. put air in a ball to make it bounce; take air out and the ball won't bounce as good.

They are able to use logic to sort out things that are more complicated. They are better at classifying things ... e.g. where previously there was a car, there is now a 4x4, race car, convertible, etc.

During ages 12 and onwards

They are able to think through ideas without the idea needing to have a basis in reality - in other words, they can think through abstraction and use the principles of formal logic to work through their concept(s).

They can create abstract proposals; give a variety of hypothetical answers to situations, in order to help weigh-up their potential consequences.

At this stage, a child can begin to think "outside the box" of reality.

They can develop ability to use more formal systems of logic - they can handle proportions, manipulate problems with algebra, and think through other purely abstract processes.

They are able to use prepositional logic: if-then; as-if; as-when; "I think therefore I am".

They can use aids such as 'axioms' - used to put forward proposals that aren't proven, but requires a definite decision (e.g. the package is ticking, should I cut the blue or green wire?). An axiom is a suggestion that is used as a starting point from which to logically work towards truths.

Post-Piaget Summary

On the basis of Jean Piaget's study, it seems the earliest a child's mind could be ready for learning to play Chess, is between the ages of 7-12 years old. But, what do you think?

Chess - When Is Too Young

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