The Foolish King app teaches children to play chess

If I’d known that dragons were involved in the “secret history of chess” I’d have been more interested in it as a child! The Foolish King will help modern children avoid my mistake.

It’s an app based on a new children’s book by Lord Price that aims to use storytelling to introduce children to the game of chess.

The Foolish King

Wait, ‘lord’? Yes, the peer formerly known as Mark Price is Britain’s minister of state for trade and investment, but in his spare time he wrote the book for his daughter, and now it’s getting a wider airing.

“Long, long ago, when kings ruled the land, dragons filled the sky and magic still existed, two small children stumbled upon the game of chess. This is your chance to discover it with them,” explains the App Store listing. “Join Pip and Holly on their magical fairy-tale adventure and become a chess master.”

Aimed at children aged six and up, this iPad app has several sections. First, the storybook, which features illustrations by Martin Brown, who previously worked on the (well-thumbed in our household) Horrible Histories books.

There are also chess rules and tutorials showing children how to play, and then a mode where they can play with the insects and bees that feature in the story, as well as against their friends either sitting side-by-side, or on opposite sides of the iPad like a real chess board.

It’s a great idea: I’ve occasionally tried to get my sons interested in chess, but I’m not the best teacher. Providing the basics through an engaging story seems like a good alternative. It may even help me brush up on the finer points that I never learned as a child!

The Foolish King costs £3.99 for iPad from Apple’s App Store. Let us know what you think of it by posting a comment!

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