Review: Dinosaur Chess

We started Aristotle on Chess and I ended up getting him Dinosaur Chess for the iPad with the intention of moving on to Chess Master once he has a solid grounding in chess basics.

DH thinks I’m going to turn my son into a nerd but it would appear that this sort of thing is his inclination. I tried to get him more active with physical activities like Monster Tennis but while the other children were still bouncing around towards the end of the 45 minute session, my son would be dragging his feet looking for all the world as if he wished there was a chair for him to sit on.

So we’re moving back to something he’s more comfortable with – chess… And with dinosaurs being the flavour of the month, Dinosaur Chess was the perfect way to introduce this game to him. Previously when I’d asked him if he wanted to learn how to play chess, his response had been luke warm. When he discovered a new app on the iPad (I have refrained from adding new apps to the iPad for some time now), he was all over it – even more so when he discovered it had dinosaurs!

Dinosaur Chess is a terrific starting point for teaching children how to play chess because they break the rules down into little bite size pieces just right for young children.

Learn: They start with lessons teaching them all the pieces on the board and how each piece moves. Each lesson features one chess piece. After the lesson, they are given an exercise where they practice making legal moves with the chess piece they just learned about. They also learn special features about the pieces if there are any. For example, the pawn turns into a queen if you can get it to the other side of the board. Once they learn about the pieces and how they move, they learn the other rules of the game – castling, value of pieces, and win, lose or draw.

Play: Once they understand how the pieces move, they can learn to play the game in parts where they only use some of the chess pieces. There are six levels. In the first level, each player plays only with the king and some pawns. A handicap is given to your child – he has more pawns than the computer. With each advancing level, more pieces are added to the game until the playing field is level with the complete chess board. If your child is uncertain of what move to make, he can ask for a hint and the computer will reveal a suggestion.

Progress: You can observe your child’s progress by the number of lessons he has completed, the number of pieces he has taken, games won, etc.

Dino Fight! There is also a game that your child can play where his little dinosaur challenges a bigger dinosaur. It hasn’t anything to do with chess but it’s fun to play.

As your child learns and improves his game, his little dinosaur character grows bigger.

Dinosaur Chess is a great way to introduce children to chess. Once they have graduated from this program, they will have an appreciation for the game and will be ready to learn the strategies for playing more complex games.

If you don’t have an iPad or iPhone (although I think the iPhone screen is a bit small for something like this), you can also get the Dinosaur Chess software (Windows 98/XP/2000/NT ) or you can purchase the download version (Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP/Vista).


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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