chessKIDS academy offers online interactive lessons, quizzes and games for kids, five chess computers for you to play, and a resource center for parents and teachers of kids who play, or would like to play, chess, including a scholastic chess download pack to enable any school to run a chess club.

At present there is no specific charge but we encourage users to make a donation. I have put a lot of time and effort into the site, and there are also costs associated with running it such as hosting and domain fees, so anything you contribute will help developing the site as well as promoting chess for kids.

To make full use of the site you will also need JavaScript, Java and cookies enabled. You will also need the ChessBase Habsburg Diagram Font (permission to download granted by ChessBase gmbh) to use some of the downloadable material. We now have a complete interactive chess course which can be used in schools, ideally with the aid of an interactive whiteboard, or for parents and children to learn together at home. The earlier lessons are now available in a new, improved format via the left-hand menu on the front page. The later lessons will eventually be rewritten in the new format.

We are also developing an extensive series of quizzes, drills and worksheets to complement the online lessons. You'll find a lot already there, but there's much more to come.

Our philosophy that chess is NOT a kids' game, but a game for adults which some children can excel at. We are unhappy about what currently happens in many schools, where children are encouraged to learn the moves but are provided with no further instruction, and no indication that further instruction will be beneficial. While children who learn in such an environment will gain some short-term enjoyment and, perhaps, some limited educational benefit from the game, what they will NOT gain is a life-long interest.

The skills children need to go beyond playing at a low level are skills that children usually develop at about 11 or 12: complex logical thought and the ability to study on your own. If children can be encouraged to develop these skills using a game they enjoy playing then the potential benefit is enormous.

For more information on this subject click here.

Parents and teachers: we appreciate emails to let us know what you think about the site, but can't promise to reply to every message we receive.

If you think you've found a mistake you may well be right! But first look at our help page for a possible solution to your problem. Please email me and let me know exactly what lesson, quiz or game you are viewing, exactly what is on the screen and exactly what the problem is and I will put it right as soon as I can.

Finally, we believe in the value of making children laugh at the same time as teaching them. If you don't share our sense of humour, sorry!

Richard James was the Director of Richmond Junior Chess Club, which he founded along with Mike Fox, from 1975 to 2007. He was also Chess Programme Manager of the Richmond Chess Initiative from 1993 to 2005. He has been teaching chess to children since the early 1970s. Among his former pupils are Luke McShane, who won the World Under 10 Championship at the age of 8 and reached the position of 52nd in the world in July 2004, and 2004, 2005 and 2006 British Champion Jonathan Rowson. "Richard James ... introduced me to the possibility of improving by studying books as well as playing." He currently teaches at a school in South West London and coaches a number of private pupils.

His latest book, Chess for Kids, based on this website, was published in 2010.

He is also the author of Move One, a chess course for children and various unpublished coaching books which are available here.

Together with Mike Fox he is the author of The Complete Chess Addict, The Even More Complete Chess Addict and the Addicts' Corner column which ran in CHESS Magazine for 16 years. He is also the webmaster of the Chess Addict website (not currently active).