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527 of 537 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A four year-old plays chess?
I love my 4 year-old daughter more than I can say but, in all honesty, she's no chess prodigy.

Daddy has all these different chess sets around the house, so that's where the interest began (an interest I was more than happy to encourage). We made a game of learning the names of the various pieces and how to set up the board. I thought our next step would...
Published on January 10, 2007 by Thomas Shanken

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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good entry point, but...
I just received this as a gift for my 5y.o. son. It seems like a good guide for teaching the basic moves of the pieces and for setting the board up. My son quickly memorized the order for the pieces on the board and has quickly caught on to how they move. For one that tends to not like to sit still I enjoy being urged to play a game. So this game has captured his...
Published on December 26, 2010 by Amazon Customer


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527 of 537 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A four year-old plays chess?, January 10, 2007
By 
Thomas Shanken (Waterloo, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: No Stress Chess (Toy)
I love my 4 year-old daughter more than I can say but, in all honesty, she's no chess prodigy.

Daddy has all these different chess sets around the house, so that's where the interest began (an interest I was more than happy to encourage). We made a game of learning the names of the various pieces and how to set up the board. I thought our next step would involve learning how the pieces move and maybe even playing 'games' with some of the pieces' movements (bishops and rooks versus bishop and rooks, etc.), it was then that we discovered "No Stress Chess."

What the folks at Winning Moves Games have provided is something you'd imagine some clever teacher would have thought of centuries ago, namely; drawing from a shuffled deck of cards to determine which chess piece is to be moved.

Players draw from a face-down pile of 56 cards which each show a picture, the name, and movement of a particular chess piece; if they are able to move that piece, that is what they must do. The card is then placed face-up on their discard pile (each player has their own separate discard pile). In addition to 'chess piece movement' cards, there are also 'move same type of piece again' cards; this card allows the player to move the same type of piece last moved by themselves or their opponent. Believe it or not, that's just about all there is to it!

Needless to say (if you already know how to play chess), the game that results from this type of play is a whole different experience, for the most part based on the luck of the draw. There is no such thing as being in "check," and a "checkmate" is achieved by actually taking your opponent's king! Accordingly, there is "no stress" in placing an unprotected queen next to your opponent's king unless, of course, your opponent proceeds to draw a "king" card.

Once this basic form of the game is mastered (referred to as "Level One"), players may progress to the next level. In "Level Two" each player is dealt 3 cards at a time and may choose which of those cards they wish to play for their move. In "Level Three" each player is dealt 5 cards. Finally, the instructions suggest an "Advanced Game" where the rules of pawn promotion, castling, checking, and en passant are employed.

In addition to the playing cards a two-sided board is included. The squares on one side of the board show how to set up the game, with the name and picture of each piece on their appropriate square. The included plastic chess pieces are "heavy-duty" and virtually indestructible (with the noteworthy exception of the cross on top of the king). Lastly, in addition to the rules and variations of "No Stress Chess," a very adequate explanation of "Standard Chess Rules" and basic strategy are provided.

Okay, back to the title of my review...much to my amazement, I have a 4 year-old who moves her knight around the board like a seasoned grand master. What more can I say?

-- Thom Shanken
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224 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ages 7 and WAY up!!!, March 5, 2006
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: No Stress Chess (Toy)
I am 51 years old. This afternoon, after my 19-year-old finished a game of "real" chess with his 6-year-old cousin, Cousin's twin sister challenged me to a game. "Sorry, sweetie," I said. "I don't know how to play chess."

"But, Aunt Cynthia," she said, "It's No-Stress Chess. You don't have to know how!"

"But chess is very confusing to my poor brain, dear," I told her.

She sighed and said, very patiently, "But it is NO STRESS. I can teach you!"

Far be it from me to let down my niece! With a little bit of encouragement from my sister, the next thing I knew, I was sitting on the floor (more comfortably than I have in years!), taking instruction in No-Stress Chess.

Long story short -- I am buying this game! Within 10 minutes, I had overcome the long-ago trauma of my one and only chess lesson (35 years ago), and I was getting the hang of which pieces moved which directions and how far. My niece did win, but not by much, and not because I let her -- she's just had more practice! By the next time we visit, in a couple of weeks, I intend to be able to play her to a draw, and maybe by our birthdays this summer, I'll be able to play "real" chess! This is not a "dumbed down kids' game" -- it's a super teaching tool, and I highly recommend it!
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163 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Set for New & Intermediate Chess Players, September 4, 2006
By 
My kids' mom (Northern Virginia) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: No Stress Chess (Toy)
My son received this for his 6th birthday, and didn't want to stop playing it the next day, even to go to his party! He had been learning some basics of Chess but was not able to really play. This game uses cards that tell you which piece to move, so even children (and adults) who have never played the game can jump right in. The moves for each piece are on the card. You have to move the piece shown if you can, but you decide which/how. It really changes the game since being in check does not apply -- even if you can threaten your opponent's piece, you can't necessarily get it on your next turn. There are also a few cards that let you move your choice of either of the last two cards shown, which is helpful if you just got in a position to strike! One side of the board shows where the pieces go and the other is a standard chess board so when your child is comfortable, he can play the 'regular' way. We love both ways! My son actually began playing 'real' Chess after only a few weeks. I think this is the best possible way to teach Chess quickly and accurately, and as an experienced player, I really enjoy the game with the cards too -- it is faster and more of a game of chance, but still fun! Definitely pick this up for anyone learning or previously intimidated by Chess.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another 4 year old plays chess!, November 29, 2009
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: No Stress Chess (Toy)
OUR RESULTS
I read the other review about how a 4 year old learned to play chess with this set, and was a bit skeptical. But, we put this on our child's wishlist, and a relative got it for 4th birthday. Sure enough, our child can now can play chess without the cards. It started about two weeks into playing, where our child wanted to move a piece other than the card drawn. Knew that the other piece would be a better move! We started phasing the cards out as noted below.

I still haven't taught en passant, but otherwise, playing full on chess. Not bad for four and a half! Yup, it's been six months and still plays. Asking *me* if I'd like to play it when I get home, not the other way around. Our games can take up to an hour to play. This is teaching great concentration skills, patience, and strategy!

Now, about once every other game, I get one of my pieces captured that I did not expect! Time for me to work on my game now!

Here's the review on the product itself:

INCREDIBLE idea!
Makes it easy to teach anyone chess! This is perhaps the easiest way to learn the basics of the game! The only problem I face now is trying to find a book on deeper concepts written for four year olds (forks, pins, basic strategies). I remember one that was good for 7 to 10 year olds written years ago when I was in middle school, but can't find it anywhere.

MATERIALS
Could be better. They should make a deluxe set with higher quality materials.

We both love the two sided board. One side shows where the pieces go, and suggest some opening moves. The other side is a normal board, which we now use. The board itself is a bit flimsy, but that's not my main complaint. It hasn't fallen apart in six months, which is pretty good considering that a four year old plays on it.

The card holder works for about 5 games. After which, the cards bend enough where it won't hold all of them very well. They start sliding out. It needs to be a bit deeper, and made with sturdier/thicker material. Cards are decent, but could be made of better material.

The chess pieces are run-of-the-mill hollow plastic pieces. No complaints. Sometimes our child will use a pawn on top of a bishop to represent an extra Queen on the board. Can't do that with wood pieces!

GAME PLAY
As noted in other reviews, there are various levels of game play. The first level has each player drawing only one card. If that piece can't move or has been captured, you lose a turn. Because of this type of restricted game play, you actually capture the king, instead of checkmate him. You also can do bold moves that would be really, really stupid in a standard game of chess. Because of this, shifting over to real chess takes a little while, but I still think this is the best way to learn chess.

Other game levels include holding more cards in your hand, giving you more options. The only problem with these game levels is it doesn't really describe what to do in end game, when often all of your cards cannot be used. Our solution: when no cards in your hand are usable, your turn is spent by discarding your hand & redrawing cards.

Rule Variations for you to try:
I didn't see rules on how to castle. In our variation, we wait until we have the King & Rook card then use them both and redraw two cards.

I'm the kind of dad that has a really hard time just letting my child win. I think deep down they can tell when I throw a match, and I think that part of growing up includes learning to lose gracefully and learning from your mistakes. But, I realize the need to win sometimes to not get completely discouraged. So, we came up with these variations to level the playing field:

Child has more cards (and options) than parent.

Child doesn't use cards, but parent does.
This started with me using one card (the most restrictive) and I kept increasing the number as our child got better.

Swap Sides:
Neither of us use the cards anymore, but our child can swap sides once per game. This worked for about 10 games until our child started sacrificing most pieces then swapped to have a major upper hand. Now can only swap if there at least five pieces and not in check. I'll keep raising this number and eventually phase out swapping.

I would recommend this product to anyone who hasn't played chess yet!
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good entry point, but..., December 26, 2010
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: No Stress Chess (Toy)
I just received this as a gift for my 5y.o. son. It seems like a good guide for teaching the basic moves of the pieces and for setting the board up. My son quickly memorized the order for the pieces on the board and has quickly caught on to how they move. For one that tends to not like to sit still I enjoy being urged to play a game. So this game has captured his imagination, or should I say it has placed it in check-mate? However, the game does fall short on teaching some of the finer points -- castling, en passant. The game also encourages too aggressive play with the king. It takes what is a game of skill and converts it into a game of luck.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for kids who are learning the sportsmanship thing...., October 13, 2007
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: No Stress Chess (Toy)
The benefit of this game is not really the fact the moves are printed on the cards. It takes kids very little time to remember the moves. The advantage of this game is that it brings luck and chance into the game, so it is not SOLELY about one's skill level.

My kids belonged to a homeschool chess club, and, to my dismay, my daughter (then 5 and 6) really did not have the emotional maturity to handle LOSING as a direct consequence of her chess abilities. The problem though, is that it is really by LOSING at chess that you start learning how to win. She was actually a pretty good chess player, but she refused to play anyone she suspected might beat her, and eventually quit altogether and would read a book while her brothers played.

This game got her to play chess again. There is still strategizing involved, particularly if you start playing the more advanced levels, but the fact that it is luck and chance that dictates which piece you must move somehow makes her feel better if she loses.

So I give this game an A++++ for the perfectionist child in particular.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Stress Chess is a perfect start, April 18, 2006
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: No Stress Chess (Toy)
Apprehensive about introducing our smart yet perfectionist (hates making a mistake) [...] to chess, because I wanted him to learn to play without being turned off to the game forever because of its complexity, I bought no stress chess to ease him into an appreciation of chess.

He loves it, his [...] brother loves it, my husband loves it, and I love it! While making moves you would NEVER make in real chess, and abandoning strategy for luck of the draw, games can be won or lost BY ANYONE moving the pieces correctly in as little as 3 minutes! We have replaced tv watching with a nightly family chess tournament during the one-half hour before bedtime!

The pieces have a nice feel and the board has 2 sides - one marked with the correct location of piece set-up and the other a plain board for when we get to "yes stress" chess...
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for kids and adults., June 25, 2006
This review is from: No Stress Chess (Toy)
No Stress Chess is the best game I have found for teaching both kids and adults to chess. Even if you already know the game, No Stress introduces the element of chance. It is a fun twist on the game. It is also a quality set that can be used to play traditional chess matches. It is the one game that I have found that can be enjoyed by all skill levels.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chess-Mate!, November 12, 2006
By 
J. Nowicki "The Boss and Mrs. B." (Bay City, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: No Stress Chess (Toy)
UPDATE: March 4, 2007
When we bought the No Stress Chess for our seven year old grandson as a Christmas gift it was because his older sister was complaining that she needed someone to play chess with. Since she and her brother enjoyed playing other games together, the 'No Stress Chess' game seemed the ideal way to satisfy two grandchildren with one gift! Our granddaughter would have a chess partner and our grandson would be able to understand and play chess without being frustrated. I read the reviews, selected this one and hoped for the best. It was a great choice!
I can't believe how much our grandson, age 7, and his sister, age 5 have learned about chess by playing this game! I am impressed. I rate the No Stress Chess an amazing success! CheckMate! ~ The Boss
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great starter chess set, March 15, 2011
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: No Stress Chess (Toy)
I purchased this because of the reviews that vouched for easing in the beginnings, especially kids. The chess board is two sided: one side has stationary positioning labels and movement rules for the pieces. The other side is the standard chess board. The chess pieces are your typical plastic (strong but hallow). The cards included for "thinkless" play are good starters.

Overall, a great value. It's already a full chess set, plus extras for beginners/kids. All cheaper than chess sets of the same quality.
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No Stress Chess
No Stress Chess by Winning Moves
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