Board game teaches children how to play chess

Our KPRC 2+ team spoke with Jon Sieber, a co-founder of Story Time Chess, which has successfully taught chess to more than 100,000 kids through its innovative teaching method and silly story-based curriculum.

Here are some questions and answers about the board game. The information below is courtesy of Story Time Chess.

Q: Let’s talk about some of the developmental benefits of chess. Can you tell us how the game exercises both sides of the brain?

  • In a game of chess, the left analytical side of the brain looks for the next logical move
  • At the same time, the brain’s creative right side will seek out patterns and new possibilities

Q: What about the educational value of playing chess? How does it give kids an edge in the classroom?

  • Playing chess can increase IQ, promote critical thinking and teach core math and verbal skills
  • It also helps kids retain information, improve test scores, solve problems, remain calm under pressure, and perform well in school

Q. Talk to us about sportsmanship and some of the social skills kids learn through playing chess.

  • Through chess, kids learn to explore the thoughts of the person sitting across from them, which helps develop important social skills and emotional intelligence
  • They also learn how to lose with dignity and win with humility: Win or lose, they end every game with a “good game” handshake

Q: You also say playing chess teaches grit. Tell us more about that.

  • Kids work through different scenarios, learn to plan, course correct and patiently wait to see how things play out, instead of being tempted by easy, more immediately gratifying moves
  • Teaching kids grit at an early age prepares them be more successful in the business world later on in life

Q: How do parents know if chess is right for their child? Do kids have to be into STEM?

  • Your child doesn’t have to be a “STEM kid” to fall in love with chess–that’s an old stigma!
  • I always ask, “Does your child love silly stories filled with action and adventure?” If so, then, they can learn how to play chess

Q: Your board game, Story Time Chess: The Game, is the only game in the world that teaches kids as young as three years old how to play chess—tell us more!

  • We introduce children to the rules and strategy of playing chess one silly story at a time
  • Each chess piece has its own character from Chesslandia and a silly story that explains how the piece moves in fun, memorable way
  • For example, King Shaky is the king who is afraid of everything, cheese, trees, his knees and bumblebees, and moves “one slow step at a time”
  • The storybook characters come to life through custom chess pieces, allowing kids to connect and practice how each piece moves in 30 minigames

Q: Will your child be a grandmaster at the end?

  • Think about teaching kids chess like teaching them baseball: you start with tee ball and teach them the basics first. No child is going to be a grandmaster overnight!
  • Our game is designed to grow with a child: it includes a double-sided chess board with a “Story Side” and “Standard Side” that kids can use when they no longer need the character reminders
  • We also have more advanced strategy, activity, puzzle and coloring books available that layer in new concepts over time

Q: Where can people get Story Time Chess: The Game?

For more information, watch the video at the top of the page or visit

You can stream KPRC 2+ weekdays at 7 a.m. on and on the KPRC 2 app.