Junior chess

Kingston Chess Club is committed to helping the next generation to learn chess. The club meets in a pub and so there are restrictions on the presence of children. Although the club is primarily for adults, there are ways for juniors to get involved.

The club does not provide lessons on how to play chess. We expect anybody who attends the club to know the rules of the game and to be able to play at a basic level. Many children learn at school or from family or friends. There are also many excellent books on learning chess and internet resources. The recommended next step depends upon the chess level of the child.

For a child ready to play competitive chess

If you think a child may be ready to play competitive chess then come along to the club, giving us some notice, and we will assess if they are suitable for the club. We will take into account their playing strength, their chess etiquette and their behaviour. If a child is deemed suitable then they will be accepted as a Junior Member. They may be added to our Pool of juniors who get invited to play in club competitions or league matches. They would also be able to participate in our lectures and online events.

For children below the age of 16, we require that a parent or carer should be present in the playing venue. Given that we play in a pub, children should be accompanied at all times including visiting the toilet. For teenagers aged 16 and above, we do not require a parent/carer to be present. The law on children in pubs is summarised here.

To register a child for membership, enter the child’s details on our registration form, but use the email address of the parent/carer. All correspondence will be with the parent/carer. The club will never contact a child directly.

For a child who wants to learn in a structured way

The club has been instrumental in the creation of the Kingston Chess Academy in January 2024. This provides a place for enthusiastic children to pursue chess under the instruction of some leading chess education experts. Activities include lectures, puzzle-solving, games against instructors and internal tournaments. The Academy is located at Tiffin boys’ school in Kingston and meets on Mondays after school. Monday is also the night when Kingston club meets. Run independently of the club, the Academy takes children from just after beginner stage to a competitive chess level.

For children who want to play casual games against their peers

Many children would like to play chess but cannot find opponents at school or at home. One solution is to play chess at a local library. Several libraries offer free chess sessions for all levels including:

  • Tudor Drive Libary in Kingston on Thursdays 4pm – 5.30pm during term time. Kingston players John Foley and Stephen Moss are often present as volunteers.
  • Twickenham Library on Thursdays 3.30pm – 5.45pm during term time. Regular volunteers include Richard James and Marie Gallagher.

Junior chess resources

Local libraries have some excellent chess books. Amongst those recommended for beginners are Checkmate! by John Foley and Chess for Kids by Richard James

Chess sets may be borrowed from Kingston Central Library.

There are two outstanding websites for juniors to learn chess:

  • Lichess.org is free and has a very useful Learning Section. It is possible to play against other people online.
  • Chesskid.com has a free basic section for juniors and a subscription to obtain higher level exercises. The Chesskid playing platform provides a safe playing environment where communication from the opponent is prohibited.