Chess for children aged 0 to 14, their parents and teachers


From my foreign correspondence


The Namibian Chess Foundation. Registered as a Welfare Organisation in terms of Section 19 of Act 12 of 1979. Reg. No. WO 211 E-mail: Web Site Tel. +061-220065 P.O. Box 6628, Windhoek, Namibia 8th June 2005

Dear Sir, We are interested in purchasing the book У Adventures in ChesslandФ. Kindly let us know the costs involved details of bank account for transfer of monies etc. Thanking You H.Leicher.

Directors: Prof. R. Mukwena; Dr. S. von Hatten; Dr.R.Ullner, Mrs.A.Ullner, Mr. R. Karimbue, Mrs. C. Richter, Mrs. J. Muir, Mrs. L. Saunders, Mr. H. Leicher. 08-06-2005


Dear H.Leicher, Thank you for your mail (and sorry about my long silence). Unfortunately there is no English version of my book yet. There is no English publisher. I am sending you my article. (I am forwarding you my article). I would be grateful if you could send me similar articles (or Internet links to them) from your country - The Main Chess Books by I.G. Suhin: 1."ADVENTURES IN CHESSLAND", Moscow, Pedagogika Publishers, 1991 (in Russian). 2. "LA BOLSITA MAGICA. EL AJEDREZ PARA LOS MAS PEQUENOS", Espana, Academia Internacional de Ajedrez Kasparov, Asociacion de Centros de Ensenanza Internacional Marcote, 1992 (in Spanish). 3. "MAGIC PIECES, OR CHESS FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE 2 TO 5 YEARS OLD", Moscow, Novaya Shkola Publishers, 1994 (in Russian). 4. "CHESS, FIRST YEAR, OR WHERE SQUARES ARE FULL OF MYSTERY AND WONDER: A Textbook for the First Form of a Three-Year or Four-Year Primary School ", Obninsk, Dukhovnoye Vosrozhdeniye Publishers, 1998 (in Russian). 5. "CHESS, FIRST YEAR, OR TEACH AND STUDY: A Manual for a Teacher", Obninsk, Dukhovnoye Vosrozhdeniye Publishers, 1999 (in Russian). 6. "CHESS FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN: A Book-Fairy-Tale for Joint Reading of Parents and Children", Moscow, Astrel, AST Publishers, 2000, 2001 (in Russian). 7. "1000 MOST FAMOUS CHESS COMBINATIONS". - Moscow, Astrel, AST Publishers, 2001, 2002, 2004 (in Russian). 8. "WONDERFUL ADVENTURES IN CHESSLAND: An Entertaining Manual for Parents and Children", Moscow, Pomatur Publishers, 2000 (in Russian). 9. "CHESS, SECOND YEAR, OR WE PLAY AND WIN: A Textbook for the Second Form of a Three-Year or Four-Year Primary School", Obninsk, Dukhovnoye Vosrozhdeniye Publishers, 2003 (in Russian). 10. "CHESS, SECOND YEAR, OR TEACH AND STUDY: A Manual for a Teacher", Obninsk, Dukhovnoye Vosrozhdeniye Publishers, 2004 (in Russian). 11. "A BOOK FOR BOYS 19: CHESS. CHECKMATE IN ONE MOVE", Moscow, AST, Astrel Publishers, 2004 (in Russian). I.G. Suhin - author of the official course for primary school "Chess for School", senior research officer of Institute for Theory and History of Pedagogics of Russian Academy of Education, member of Union of Writers of Russia, member of Coordinating Council of the Development of Chess Education in the System of Education of Russian Federation, member of Committee "Chess and Education" of Russian Chess Federation; e-mail:, sites: and Contact telephone number in Moscow: 966-79-48. Best regards, Igor Suhin. 11-06-2005.


Is it possible to sell us the russian version of "Adventures in Chessland" ? If yes kindly let me have details of costs involved etc. Thank You Helmuth Leicher 19-06-2005.


Igor, We were given you your e-mail address by Pauline Foster and Ray Ryan of the Coulsdon Chess Club here in the UK. My wife Luba is Russian and she is looking for some Russian Chess Books to help her to teach our John advance d Chess. She would like to talk to you about Russian Chess books. Please could you tell us your telephone number so that Luba can telephone to speak to you. Spasibo, John Lewis, Purley, England, UK 14-04-2005


Dear John, Thank you very much for your mail. My telephone in Moscow: 966-79-48. With best regards, Igor Sukhin 17-04-2005.


We have seen your books on the FIDE website about teaching chess in schools. ФChess, First Year or Where White RulesФ 1998. Chess, First Year or Teach and StudyФ 1999. Chess, Second Year or We Play and WinФ 2003. Chess, Second Year or Teach and StudyФ 2004. We are most interested in your methods and ethos of teaching chess in schools. However we have been unable to find them for sale through the internet. Can you please help? Ray Ryan and Pauline Foster 24-10-2004.


Dear Ray and Pauline, Thank you very much for your mail and thanks a lot for your interest in my books. Could you please tell me a little bit about yourselves? Could you also give me the Internet link where you learnt about my books? Here are two further links to my web sites:, I am looking forward to your reply, and I will try to bring you in contact with the publishing house then. With best regards, Igor Sukhin 24-10-2004.


Igor, From September 2005, we are launching a series of tournaments aimed at families which will incorporate chess for children starting from 2 years old. This is considered to be very radical thinking in the UK and we have been met with much scepticism. It is with great pleasure that not only have we found someone who believes in this early age teaching but has also written books on the subject. We feel we have no support from our own federation - the BCF. The both of us have experience in dealing with children from age 0 years to 21 years. Pauline is a special needs teacher and I am a mathematics teacher who has taught children from 4 years old to university level students. Our two children represent England at national level Both of us teach chess in local primary and secondary schools. The website where we found reference to your books is the FIDE website. We found an address to be given by Alexander Kostyev, ISCU President,Head of Chair of Pedagogics and School Chess Work at the FIDE congress this year. In his address he mentioned your books. Hope to hear from you soon Ray Ryan and Pauline Foster. 25-10-2004


Dear Ray and Pauline, Thank you for your mail. I'm actually not much of a supporter of chess tournaments for schoolchildren. But I firmly believe that chess should already be introduced to children in a comprehensible way from early on. And if we play with little children, they should always win. With this purpose in mind, I have developed a system of fun tasks. The books you have written about were published by "Dukhovnoye Vozrozhdenie" publishing house (city of Obninsk). Here is the address: Russia, 249033, Obninsk, prospekt Lenina, 19/9, izdatelstvo "Dukhovnoye Vozrozhdenie". Phone numbers: 8-08439-97230 and 8-08439-97250. Write to them. I think they will send the books to you. The only thing is that they are meant for children at primary school. For pre-school chess teaching, I have written the following books (they are all in Russian, of course): "MAGIC PIECES, OR CHESS FOR CHILDREN AGED 2 TO 5", Moscow, Novaya Shkola Publishers, 1994. "WONDERFUL ADVENTURES IN CHESSLAND", Moscow, Pomatur Publishers, 2000. They are available from me. Best regards, Igor Sukhin 29-10-2004


Many thanks for your e-mail. Could you please send us a copy of your two books MAGIC PIECES, OR CHESS FOR CHILDREN AGED 2 TO 5 and WONDERFUL ADVENTURES IN CHESSLAND along with details for payment. Our address is Pauline Foster and Ray Ryan 15, Chertsey Crescent New Addington Surrey ENGLAND CR0 0DD Thank you. Ray and Pauline 31-10-2004


Dear Ray and Pauline, Thank you very much for your mail. Sorry about keeping you waiting for my reply. The problem is that I do not speak English, so it is normally my daughters who translate my letters, but they are not always available. Unfortunately, I can only send books within Russia. Maybe, somebody of your colleagues is planning to come to Russia? I always sell books this way, because all the other variants are too complicated. I am sincerely sorry if this variant seems complicated to you, too. I would like to point out once again that both books are only available in Russian. In any case I would be happy if we could keep in touch and exchange information on the topic "Children aged 2-6 and chess". I would also be very grateful if you could tell me about your experience of teaching little children in more detail and maybe give me Internet links to important English articles on the subject. The most important material I have managed to find on the Internet so far is the article "TEACHERТS GUIDE: RESEARCH AND BENEFITS" by Dr. Robert C. Ferguson. Do you happen to know it? Best regards, Igor Suhin 21-11-2004


Igor Sorry for not writing sooner. We have a friend who regularly visits Russia and he is willing to collect the books for us. We obviously need to co-ordinate this. He visits Moscow, so if you could send the books to coincide with him being there, we would be grateful. Could you please supply me with your address and the cost of the books - MAGIC PIECES, OR CHESS FOR CHILDREN AGED 2 TO 5 and WONDERFUL ADVENTURES IN CHESSLAND Unfortunately, I have not been able to contact the Dukhovnoye Vozrozhdenie publishing house as no one there seems to speak English! So I would like you to order them on our behalf: "Chess, First Year or Where White Rules" 1998 "Chess, First Year or Teach and Study" 1999 "Chess, Second Year or We Play and Win" 2003 "Chess, Second Year or Teach and Study" 2004 We will of course reimburse you. I intend to give the money to my friend so he should be able to pay you cash. We also intend to visit Russia ourselves sometime in the summer, so we would like to meet up with you and perhaps see some teaching done in a few schools and clubs? We are still trying to find research material on this but cannot. I am now thinking of doing my own research at a university in the UK!! Take great care Ray Ryan and Pauline Foster 4-03-2005


Dear Ray and Pauline, Thank you very much for your mail. I will do my best to fulfil your request. As for MAGIC PIECES, OR CHESS FOR CHILDREN AGED 2 TO 5 and WONDERFUL ADVENTURES IN CHESSLAND, I have them available, 10$ each. Concerning the "Dukhovnoe Vozrozhdenie" books, I will contact the publishing house and let you know when I can get the books from them. And when is your colleague coming to Moscow? With best regards, Igor Sukhin 5-03-2004.


Dear Sir, Hope this finds you well. And thank you for your kind reply. So may things came into my life and the book slipped out of mind. Yes some of friends came to Moscow to play the aeroflot open. They will also come in 2005. If all goes well I will also be able to attend. Then, I hope to meet you in person and get the book. Thank you very much again. With warm wishes Visweswaran Chennai (Madras), India .


Where can I buy an english copy of your book MAGIC PIECES, OR CHESS FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE 2 TO 5 YEARS OLD ? What is the best way to teach chess to my 2 year old sons ? Thanks Anthony 30-12-2003.


√де ¤ могу купить английское издание ¬ашей книги "¬олшебные фигуры, или Ўахматы дл¤ детей 2-5 лет"?  ак научить лучше всего шахматам моего двухгодовалого старшего сына? —пасибо, Ёнтони. 30-12-2003.


Hello Anthony, Unfortunately there is no English version of my book yet. There is no English publisher. Warm regards Igor Suhin


Mr. Suhin, I am interested in purchasing a book or two of yours about chess if they are published in English. Could you please tell me how I would go about doing this? Thank you. Diana Muniz 15-12-2003


Hello Dana, Unfortunately there is no English version of my book yet. There is no English publisher. Warm regards Igor Suhin 15-12-2003


Hello Igor, Do you happen to do an English version of your book УI.G. Suhin MAGIC PIECES, OR CHESS FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE 2 TO 5 YEARS OLDФ? Do you happen to know where I can get a copy from? Thanks, D.B. Thu, 11 Apr 2002


Hello Dave, Unfortunately there is no English version of my book yet. There is no English publisher. Warm regards Igor Suhin


Dear Mr. Suhin, I've read with great interest part of your publications on Internet site. I'd like to buy the books УVolshebnie figuri ili shahmati dla deteiФ and УUdivitelnie prikluchenia v shahmatnoi straneФ Could you please let me know where I can purchase the books? I'm living in Israel, so it should be by Internet or may be there are bookshops in Israel that you work with. With best regards, Nadia. 01-07-2003.


Dear Sir: Do you offer chess lessons in Moscow? Best regards, John


Dear John, Thank you for your mail (and sorry about my long, silence). In reply to your question: yes, I do give chess classes. If you need further information, please feel free to contact me. Merry Christmas and best wishes, Igor Suhin


Hello, I'm a French chess player and I work as a professional chess teacher in schools of my town. I'm very interested by your chess books about teaching chess to very young children (mainly from 2 to 6 years old). That year is indeed the first year I teach chess to 3 groups of children aged 5 to 6 and I find it quite difficult to find the right ways to teach them chess efficiently. So, are your books just in Russian (I cant read it, sorry) or is it possible to find all them translated in English? If they are translated in English, how to command them and how to pay? Bye, JM


Dear JM, It was a pleasure to get your e-mail. Sorry about keeping you waiting for my reply for such a long time. Russia has always been famous for its chess teaching programs. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to work out chess teaching schemes for younger children - something that has no equivalents anywhere else in the world. In Russia they are widely acknowledged and recommended by the Ministry of Education. Sadly, however, my books have not been translated into English or French so far (there is only one provided with Kasparov's foreword and published in Spanish but it has too little focus on chess teaching methodology as such). I am very much interested in having my books translated into other languages but I can find no publisher.

Still, if you do not mind, I would like to keep in touch with you concerning various aspects of teaching chess to children. I found your letter extremely interesting and I would be glad to answer any specific questions you might have. Which city do you come from? How old are you? Do you teach chess at school or at a pre-school level? Is chess teaching common at French schools? In Russia, chess classes have been practiced in the first to fourth year since 1996 (not at all schools, however, but only at those that have specialists in the field), most of them relying on my teaching techniques. With best regards, Igor Suhin


Dear Igor, Thank you very much for your answer. One of my chess pupils is Nikita Loukachev, a young Russian who came here in France 5 years ago with his mother; Inna and they live in a building near my building. Perhaps it is possible for us to exchange messages in Russian and I ask to Inna to translate for me (but I am not so sure it is possible form to write Cyrillic letters... I just can try).

My town is Clermont-Ferrand, a town with 150000 inhabitants in the center of France. This is the mother town of a Tire worldwide firm you probably know called УMichelinФ. I'm 38 years old and I began to play chess when I was 11 years old. It was immediately a passion and I began to compete at chess but I had nobody to help me improving my play and better understanding this game, because 25 years ago, chess was not structured in France, as it is no wand Clermont-Ferrand was a УpoorФ chess place. So I had no trainer but just few books and the level of chess players in my place was very low. However, I could improve by myself and I am now Fide rated since 1996 (my best rating was 2245). As I grew, I was always interested in sharing this passion with other persons, because I think, as grandmaster Tarrasch once said: У It is ashamed that million persons go nearby chess and never meet it in their lifeТs, because it is a marvelous gameФ. So, as I was 18 years old, I began to teach chess as an unpaid voluntary in my chess club to juniors and some grown-ups. In the university, I studied economy and commercial questions and I work in this field during 10 years; But I did not enjoy this work and 2 years ago, I had the opportunity to enter the chess committee of my place as a professional chess teacher in schools and I decided to make this, although Iearn less money than before (but it is much more interesting and enjoying for me!).

Chess is indeed developing now very quickly in France because it has been acknowledged by the French government as a sport 3 years ago with more money to developed and structure it. However, it is just the beginning and chess is not in the French educational program. So, we mainly teach chess in French schools not on scholar time but between 12 and 14 o'clock and after school from 16:45 to 18 o'clock.

I have recently met the chief of a Byelorussia school of Gomel (twin city of Clermont-Ferrand) who explained me that they have elementary schools, which are already specialized in Byelorussia, either in the scientific field, either in the artistic unliterary field (is it the same in Russia?) So, chess is taught on scholar time only in scientific elementary schools.

In France, our educational program is quite different. I explain it to you a bit: - from 3 to 5/6 years old: nursery school (not specialized of course!) - from 6 to 10/11 years old: elementary school (not specialized) - from 11 to 14 years old: college (not specialized) - from 14 to 18/19 years old, two ways: - general studies with 3 choices: - scientific (mathТs, physics, biology...) - literature and arts - economy - technical and short studies: not so intellectual, but more practicing with hands (hand makers, butchers, bakers, agriculture, workman...) - after 18/19 years old, for those who have made general studies, they can go on in a specialized university (medicine, biology, economics, literature, foreign languages, computing...). Last year, I teach chess to pupils from 7 to 18 years old (from elementary school to college) and I find it not so difficult although i made it with my own methodology. But this year, i began teaching chess to children of the last year in nursery schools (it means 5/6 years old) and I find it VERY DIFFICULT to find good ways and exercises for teaching chess to so young children. Practically I see (Alfred Binet, psychologist for children is the theorizing of this) that 7 years old is the KEYAGE. I can make the same exercises and teach chess quite in the same way with children aged 7 or 14, but with younger children, it is completely different. With younger than 7, I try to use the affective and imaginative abilities of the children (fairy tales about chess, many images with animals behavior...) just to teach them the rules of chess. I need 25 hours and a complete year just to teach them the rules of chess. With children more than 7 years old, 5 to 6 hours are enough to teach them the rules with exercises and then they really can begin to play games and to learn tactics and strategy. So, I mean it is 4 times easier and quicker to teach chess to children when they are 7 years old. To add more, little children less than 7 years old cannot concentrate on chess more than half an hour, meanwhile older can easily concentrate one complete hour. I recently read a part of the book of Alexandra Kosteniuk where she explains how her father (also her trainer) teach her chess when she was very young, without using fairy tales and imaginative abilities, just presenting the game as it is. She explains that her father says it is better to do so not to confuse the children. What do you think of this? An other practical question: when do you think that the chess clock must be used when children begin to play chess: always and immediately at the first game or later? (Alexandra Kosteniuk says the better is at the first game and for each game). And finally, it is possible to buy here in France a computer CD that is called: УTeaching chess in schools as it is done in RussiaФ, translated in French and written by the Russian grandmaster Razouvaiev. What is it worth? Is Razouvaiev really a chess teacher in schools and is his methodological and pedagogical art of teaching chess in schools good or not? What are the differences between you and Razouvaiev for teaching chess in schools? Thank you very much for your answers and I am impatient to read them soon. JM


Dear JM! I'm very glad to receive the second letter from you. It is wonderful that it is so interesting and detailed. It is interesting that my rating is about the same that yours (my best rating was 2274). I'm almost 50 years old. I haven't participated in tournaments for the last 10 years. Now I'm writing a lot (chess textbooks, entertaining mathematics, rapid speeches, crossword puzzles for children and other books for children and teachers).

I'll respond to your questions in order:

1. In Russia there is no such specialization, as in Byelorussia.

Moreover, I doubt that it exists at all schools of Byelorussia. Do you keep in touch with the colleague from Gomel? Has he got an e-mail address? And do you know and keep in touch with other chess methodologists? I wonder how interesting is this kind of correspondence?

2. Kosteniuk's and my approaches to chess are totally different. My approach is closer to yours, involving fairy tales, emotions and images. But the key point (and the main difference from other methodologists' approaches) is working out exercise positions to be played out on chessboard fragments (2 x 2 fields, 3 x 3, 4 x 4) and a great number of didactic games (the description of some games can be found in Russian on my Internet site - in the course outline for the first year - The aim Kosteniuk pursues (just like Polgar) is making his gifted daughters chess masters as quickly as possible. My aim is an overall and harmonious development of ordinary children. It means using all the aspects of chess game that might possibly help a child in his further school studies. Therefore, my programme is simple and easy to understand even if the teacher has had little experience with chess.

3. As for the chessclock used in the first stage of teaching chess, my attitude is rather negative.

4. The aims of Razuvaev's computer programme are just about the same as those of Kosteniuk's techniques. Razuvaev is an experienced chess master, and his programme might be quite good as such. But teaching young children (as you rightly pointed out) is something very special. Actually, 10 years ago I supplied all the necessary materials for a pre-school chess teaching programme to the same company (Chessassistant), too, but it failed to make one. When teaching children aged 3-6, you cannot even introduce such a notion as УmateФ in the early stages (you know it from your own experience). The child should first get a feeling for the strong and weak points of each piece (without mate) in some specially designed tasks and exercises. Most chess teachers (both in and outside Russia) tend to ignore this fact and fail to achieve their goals. All over the world, chess classes for children aged 3-6 are conducted by experienced chess players who like their job but they normally don't know the psychology of children belonging to different age groups. To teach 3-4-5-6 year-old children, you have to take a different approach with respect to their level, knowledge, skills, psychological and physical abilities. It, therefore, accounts for numerous failures to teach chess to 3 to 6-year-old children in Spain, England and the USA. As I have already pointed out, the very notion of mate would be too difficult for young children to grasp.

I also have a lot of questions to you. Here are some of them. How did you find the address of my Internet site? Do you know any French, German, English or American sites with forums about chess teaching programmes for children aged 2 to 8?

With best regards, Igor Suhin 15-02-2003.




"Educational Course in Chess for Primary School"

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