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Chess Classes for Beginner Kids: Parent’s Ultimate Guide to Find the Best Value

Updated: Feb 3

As a parent, you want to provide your child with the best opportunities to learn and grow. And when it comes to intellectual challenges, few activities can match the benefits of chess. From promoting strategic thinking to improving memory and concentration, chess lessons can be an excellent investment for your child's future. But where should you start?


With so many options available, knowing which classes or resources will offer the most value can be tough. That's why we've created this ultimate guide packed with tips, insights, and recommendations for the best academies and institutions that offer online and in-person lessons.

Two small children playing chess over a board


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What should I look for when enrolling in chess classes as a beginner?

The most important thing is to look for a quality chess coach or tutor who can guide you through the learning process. Look for instructors who have experience teaching beginners and can provide clear and concise instructions. Reviews and ratings can also give you insight into the quality of the instruction


How to find the best chess coach for your kid:

There are 6 essential criteria you must follow to find a good coach: Reputation, curriculum, schedule, commitment, certification, and rates. Keep reading to learn more about each one:


Reputation

Your coach or chess academy should consistently show a positive track of recommendations such as reviews on Yelp, Google Business, Bing Business, and/or Facebook.


You can see the selected testimonials they show on their website, but who would show negative recommendations on their website? Instead, I'd recommend looking at the aforementioned sources.


Curriculum

Teaching chess is not a matter of just playing and giving advice. Every good coach should have a systematic way of teaching that he or she can also tailor to each student.


As it is in our case; we use the Chess Steps Method, which has proven to be very effective since its inception in 1987. Other academies might use different methods but the important thing is that they have a systematic way of doing their job.


Schedule

As a parent, I know how hectic some weeks might get, between soccer practice, swimming, and school, my son's schedule gets cluttered. So, on top of that, having to make time to accommodate someone else's schedule? No way!


Find a coach or institution that can adjust and accommodate YOUR schedule and has a good cancellation policy (you don't want to pay for lessons your child didn't take)


Commitment

If you're hiring a coach directly, doing a quick Google search and finding info about them is a good idea. The best coaches have chess as a primordial part of their lives and share their passion on social media, or have profiles on Chess.com or the FIDE.


Some of them even have Wikipedia pages, as is in the case of our coach Maria

Front page of Maria Efimenko's Wikipedia page

Certification

Of course, a coach doesn't need to be a Grandmaster to teach a beginner 6-year-old, but it's good to know they're recognized for past achievements, especially when they were younger.

If your coach was a State-champion at a young age, he likely knows what steps made him succeed early in life.


Rates

The higher the specialization of the coach, the higher the rates will be, and honestly, I don't recommend hiring a super top-notch coach when the only thing you want is to create a habit and nurture your child's skills. This takes us to the next point:


Sometimes it's too good to be true (Cheap coaches)

Chess lessons don't have to be expensive, or cheap. Why? In our case, it's imperative to value our coaches' time, since they're not just some guys that play very well. All of them are Masters (which is a professional designation like doctor, or laureate in chess), and some of them even play in the chess Olympics!


I'd say $25-$40 is the sweet spot for beginners since you have a perfect balance between a professional coach, affordability, and effectiveness.


Below $25 is what we call "the grey area", where coaches have little to no motivation to do their best, lack sufficient expertise, are not consistent with their schedule, and in the end, you notice your kid didn't learn much after all.


How much should I pay for chess lessons?

To learn the basics of chess you don't need to pay for lessons since there are plenty of options out there that offer free instruction for beginners, a good example of this is ChessKid and Lichess. But it all changes when it comes to learning the game more in-depth.


Here's a rough estimate of how much we recommend spending on online chess tuition.

  • Total beginner: Start with free lessons at Chesskid to learn the basics, then hire a coach for one lesson per week. Free to 140$ per month.

  • Beginner (knows the basics): One or two lessons per week, and implement learnings with the training material supplied by the coach and lichess.org puzzles. $120 to $240 per month.

  • Intermediate (Wants to engage in tournaments): Two lessons per week, play with friends and keep doing puzzles on Lichess. $240 - $300.

  • Advanced (Wants to take things to a whole new level!): Two to three lessons per week with a top-notch coach, visit local tournaments and clubs, practice, practice, and practice. $350+

As I say, it all comes down to your specific scenario. But what is your specific scenario? Keep reading...


What are my objectives when enrolling my children in chess classes

You should be clear on what you want to achieve with chess, I mean, not everyone wants their kid to be the next Magnus Carlsen and form a career around the sport. I didn't enroll my kid in soccer to become the next Messi, I enrolled him because I want him to be physically active and healthy.


So you should ask yourself:

  • Do I want this to become part of his/her life?

  • How much am I willing to spend monthly on lessons? Is it worth it?

  • Does my child have a supportive environment in which he can put his learnings to the test? (Does he have friends, siblings, and chess clubs near where to play once in a while?)

  • What are my child's talents and how chess is going to nurture them?

Learning chess is like riding a bike, yes you can ride it well, do wheelies and stuff... But what's the point if you do it only once a week? On top of that, you don't have friends to ride your bike with. But if you ride it almost daily and like it, it's sure to say that you will be healthier, happier, and have lots of fun.


What are the best options for online chess classes for kids?

The internet is so full of online tutors and institutions that it's hard for us to make a short list, but we'll do our best try:


Please note: We don't talk about the best overall options since there are always different solutions to different problems, so each one of the following will target different criteria like price, type of instruction, and personality (Yes! Each brand has its unique personality)


MM Chess

Of course, we were going to include ourselves in this list 😁. If you're new to MM, we are a small academy that offers online chess lessons for all skill levels and ages (mostly kids).


What differentiates us is our service as a whole: Master-titled coaches with a background of chess success, at an affordable price. We're simply the best academy you will find at this price point.


Online private classes:

  • $30 to $35 per class (Either in packages or individual lessons paid monthly)

Online group lessons

  • (10 classes): $130 to $170


We offer a more methodological and holistic approach to chess and a way to implement the learnings into other areas of life! So it's not just playing games and burning time, it's self-development mixed with fun.


Click here and do a 1-hour trial lesson wit a Master-titled coach.


On the opposite side of the spectrum we have ChessKid, an affiliate of Chess.com and the most popular chess coaching site there is for kids.


Their prices are higher, coming at double what we charge for private lessons, which doesn't necessarily mean better instruction.


Online private classes:

  • $62 to $70 (You buy in packages)

Online group lessons

  • NA


Aside from that, they offer great material on strategy. It is made with a storytelling attitude that is accessible to kids, making it very effective for them to learn. Besides, ChessKid offers chess courses and puzzles for kids that are both useful and fun.


They have A TON of free learning material you can use to learn the basics of chess, so you can go ahead and check it out if you're starting.


Similar to ChessKid, they teach in a storytelling manner, which might be more accessible for some kids (especially younger ones).


Their panel of coaches is very wide, though, unlike us, and similar to ChessKid, not all of them are Certified Masters.


What's different about them is that they offer in-home lessons in NYC, Chicago, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and the Hamptons.


Their prices are a bit higher than ChessKid's, but they do offer group classes:


Online private classes:

  • $80 per hour

Online group lessons

  • $60 per class


This is more like a Fiverr type of approach to chess coaching, where you can find freelance coaches from all around the world. There's immense potential to find a high-quality coach on this platform.


On the other hand, since they are not formal academies or institutions, many of the coaches are not trained with a curriculum or standardized programs, which might result in inefficiencies in the learning process. This is the only option on the list that doesn't offer a standardized teaching program.


They do offer affordability since many of the coaches are from abroad, and most of them are not Certified Masters:


Online private classes:

  • $32 to $80 per hour

Online group lessons

  • $15 to $35 per class


On the premium side of things, ChessMax offers an incredible panel of Masters and even Grandmasters to learn from, together with learning material, a specially designed app for students to learn at home with puzzles.


Most of the coaches are Certified Masters, many of whom are national and international champions, so they surely know what it takes to become great at chess.


Online private classes:

  • $90 to $240 per hour

Online group lessons

  • $15 to $35 per class


How to find chess classes near me

One option is to search online for chess coaches or instructors who offer lessons in your area. You can also check with local chess clubs or community centers to see if they offer classes for kids or adults.


Another option is to ask friends or family members if they know of any chess lessons available.

Some instructors may even offer free trial lessons or special deals for new students, so keep an eye out for any freebies or discounts.


By following these steps, you can find chess lessons that are convenient and taught by experts who guarantee professional and scientifically tested instruction. With their guidance, you'll be on your way to becoming a chess master in no time.


Hope you're having a great day! If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us 🙌



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