Photo: LightField Studios (Shutterstock) I am merely one episode into The Queen’s Gambit , which means I’m six episodes behind the rest of the world, but even one episode was enough to make a solid case that chess is cool, actually. It is a game of skill and strategy and perseverance. And we should teach it to our kids. Start when they’re young Chess is not just for grown-ups, or high-school kids. Young kids with their sponge-like brains are primed to learn it—and it may help them hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Every child is different, so there is no exact right age for all kids to begin learning, but they’re likely ready earlier than you think, as Beth Weinhouse writes for Parents.com : Not all experts agree on the optimal age for children to start learning to play chess. Some simply say the earlier the better. “I believe the younger the child, the greater the impact,” says the American Chess School’s Dr. Ferguson, who has taught the game to kindergartners. “These kids have brains like sponges.” While some children will be ready to learn the game by age 4, the consensus among chess teachers seems to be that second grade—meaning age 7 or 8—is the ideal time to start. “I’ve had mixed results when teaching kindergartners and first-graders, but by second grade, they’re all ready,” says Tom Brownscombe, scholastic director of the U.S. Chess Federation. My own son began asking to learn how to play chess […]