It depends on the individual. Talks are going on to introduce National, Asian and World Chess Championships for kids below 6 years of age. With that in view, we believe that the ideal age to start chess is between 5 to 6, provided the child shows some interest towards the game.
A strong chess player is moulded by the cumulative efforts of the player himself/herself, parents, trainers, sponsors, school and so on. But primarily, a child looks up to his/her parents for material resources and emotional needs.
As a parent you can...
- play with your child and develop the interest and confidence in the game.
- be a mentor and motivate your child by narrating inspiring stories and events.
- purchase chess material for individual practice at home.
- instil the importance of learning the right things well.
- prevent your child from racing towards victory through shortcuts and instead encourage him/her to earn it through hard work and commitment.
- plan everything to balance the time between academics, training and tournaments.
- identify the right trainer for individual training when your child reaches a certain level.
- identify the tournaments to participate and plan intense training sessions for preparation before a tournament.
- persuade the school to support your child's chess ventures.
- teach them the importance of individual practice at home.
- help your child handle expected and unexpected results in a balanced way. Chess is a sport, so winning and losing is completely normal.
A good trainer can motivate the child in the right way, teach the essential basics of the game, set the right attitude, kindle the interest in learning and working individually at home. The trainer should incline your child more towards learning so that victories come automatically but not the other way round.
According to a school of thought, it takes roughly 20 hours per week of practice to become a successful professional in any discipline. It would be ideal if a child, aspiring to become a Grand Master, can practice chess 2 hours a day during weekdays/schooldays and around 4 hours on weekends. Chess being an individual sport, a player should learn to think for himself/herself and take tough decisions all by himself/herself. Regular individual work will help improve these qualities greatly! The importance of home work in chess cannot be emphasized enough.