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Math Learning Games for Kids: Yamie Chess

Updated on October 11, 2014

Math Help for Kids

Every child is different when it comes to learning math. Some kids just breeze through it, while others struggle. I've experienced both with my kids.

One knew how to multiply, divide and had all of his multiplication tables memorized the summer after first grade. (These aren't taught in the schools here until third grade.)

Then I have another one who continuously struggled in school with math. Just the basic teachings in school weren't enough.

The numbers just got jumbled up for her. This caused her great frustration and make her dislike math as she felt she didn't stand much of a chance in understanding it.

I found that by playing games with her that included math, she was able to understand her lessons much better. It also made the learning process more enjoyable because she wasn't just looking at math problems and continuously answering them, she was doing an activity that made her want to learn.

Should you have a child who struggles with math, you might consider Yamie Chess. Now, you may be wondering what math and chess have in common. Actually, quite a lot.

Yamie Chess Set
Yamie Chess Set | Source

Math and Chess

Both math and chess involve problem solving and logic. Each require discipline and strategizing skills, as well as a degree of concentration

The analytical process involved in chess can also be employed in math, along with each having rules to follow.

Numerous studies performed by different researchers in different countries have found that playing chess improves students math skills. In fact, in some schools, chess is a part of the curriculum.

it's been a part of the school curriculum in most schools in Russia for more than 40 years. In Armenia, it's taught in all schools making it the first country to make chess mandatory as part of a student's education.

Learning Chess and Math


Yamie Chess

When I first came across Yamie Chess I was both impressed and confused. Let me explain. I liked the idea that it could be used for students from kindergarten through eighth grade. However, I was confused as to how it could cover such a large age range. It didn't take long to find out.

In the set comes a chess board, (with the actual chess board on one side and images of the Mind Kingdom on the other side,) chess pieces, coloring pencils and an interactive coloring book which not only teaches chess and math skills, but also takes kids on a wonderful adventure through Snowmelt, The Mind Planet with Tigermore and the Mind Angels

In the first part of the book, kids will learn the various chess pieces and their movements. The pieces are associated with different characters in the story. Some simple math problems are introduced as well such as a basic math problem involving counting using the chess board.

As kids continue on, parts of the story are broken up so kids of one grade level will continue one part of the story while a student of another grade will follow a different story line. This is how the instruction can cover so many grade levels and go from simple math problems to algebra.

Throughout the book, kids can learn more about chess while practicing different mathematical equations. For those who like to color, they can color the pictures as they go.

Backed by Harvard and MIT math experts, as well as winning numerous awards such as the Mom's Choice Awards Gold Award and The National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval, along with additionally being named The Best Educational Pick of 2014 by the School Library Journal, it's no wonder that this is quickly becoming a teacher's favorite.

I have a video about Yamie Chess below in case you're interested. It's rather entertaining and explains the cartoon aspect of the game.

Yamie Chess Game

Chess Poll

Do you play chess?

See results
India | Source

History of Chess

So, does it look like the combination of math and chess will continue to be a winner? Let's look at each of them individually.

In Mesopotamia, which is known as the Cradle of Civilization, mathematics were used. It's believed its early usage was to help measure areas of land. It's also presumed that some form of math was even used in prehistoric times.

Chess has its roots in India where it was developed in its earliest form, sometime before the 6th century. From there it made its way to Persia and eventually arrived in Europe.

Both have stood the test of time, so it's pretty likely that the productivity of combining chess and math will continue, particularly with the success rate it has.

Origins of Chess in India

Checkmate! I Win!

Winning at Chess
Winning at Chess | Source

Educational Math Games

There are a variety of educational math games available for kids that can really help them to fine tune their math skills. There are a few reasons I lean towards Yamie Chess.

Most games are geared just towards kids. Of course there's nothing wrong with that as the purpose is to help the child do better in math. However, what i like about this game is that it's actually fun to participate in with your child.

Even though it's meant to be a learning tool, you can put the book and coloring pencils away and just enjoy a nice game of chess.

My youngest daughter had never played chess before we got this set. It didn't take her long at all to learn due to the easy instructions and illustrations. She and I have had so much fun playing together. She's determined to beat me!

My older kids have gotten into the act as well. You can see the triumphant look at my daughter's face above. She and her brother have always been highly competitive and the reality is, he usually beats her. She was so delighted when she captured his queen. So, even teenagers and adults can get in on the fun.

There's one other thing that has really impressed me. This company isn't just about making money. I found out that Yamie chess is currently working with children who have a parent or parents in the military and have donated $30,000 worth of chess sets to kids. This in itself was enough for the company to receive a hand signed letter from Michelle Obama.

Yamie Chess Game

Yamie Chess School Assistant: K-8 Supplemental Math Learning Toy
Yamie Chess School Assistant: K-8 Supplemental Math Learning Toy

For ages 5-14, Yamie Chess offers a wonderful educational opportunity to learn chess and improve math skills at the same time. Made from 40% recycled materials and winner of numerous awards.


Benefits of Chess

Fun Factor
problem solving
analytical skills
sense of accomplisment
critical thinking
game play

Learning Math Games

In conclusion, making math fun and interesting is a way to help kids learn. I've seen the difference this can make first hand.

There's something very rewarding about watching your child go from having a look of dread on their face when you say "It's time to work on your math," to seeing a face filled with enthusiasm.

Even better is when your child brings home a report card with a high mark in math that you have never seen before. The amount of pride the child shows is priceless and you can feel good about being a part of a child achieving an educational goal.

Whether you're a teacher or a parent, a learning game gives you more of an opportunity to work with a student to help the child reach his or hers highest learning potential. It's a win/win situation for everyone involved and clearly benefits the child.

What kind of learning games have you used?

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    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      4 years ago from Tucson, Az

      this is an excellent article Janis!! my daughter in law homeschools our grandchildren and I am thinking this will certainly add to the'fun' aspect of learning!

    • WriterJanis profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from California


      You're right. Chess is a great way to learn about strategies.

    • WriterJanis profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from California


      Exactly Kids really do learn better when you can make it fun.

    • WriterJanis profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from California

      DDE Those two can really go together.

    • WriterJanis profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from California


      It so is a useful game. I think lots of kids could benefit from it.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      You may find this funny, but my young nephew taught me how to play in a learning chess board game. I think that learning chess is a great way for kids to figure out strategies and certainly spills over into all their learning.

    • ologsinquito profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      This is such a great idea. Chess is a wonderful strategy game, and most children learn better when it's fun.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great suggestions for learning such skills in math. My son plays chess and he is very good at math.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Math skills are essential for us to understand so many things including music and art, science and biology. It is the building block that sets the foundation for achievement. I'm so thrilled that your child has found a way (with your help) to overcome their fear of math. Thanks for sharing information about this useful game.

    • WriterJanis profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from California

      Math really can makes some major changes to the world. Your daughter is lucky to have the support and encourage from you and your husband.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      What a great tool to encourage and support math learning in kids. My husband and I have always had great enthusiasm for math since my daughter was young and have told her that math can change the world, math underlies everything (patterns!), etc. If you infuse enthusiasm into something, it can be contagious. This looks like a great tool to do that.

      Great hub!


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