On April 19, the Illinois Chess Association Board of Directors approved support of a plan to offer youth chess players $1 per month online chess learning and playing tools.

As do other offerings in the marketplace, ChessKid.com and ChessClub.com offer a broad variety of videos and playing options. ChessKid Gold accounts are normally $49/year while ChessClub.com (ICC) accounts are $69.95.

But for only $12 for the year, Illinois youth can become part of either offering, placing the tools of chess improvement only a mouse-click away.

ChessKid was recently featured on the CBS 60 Minutes episode regarding chess in a rural Mississippi community. The site offers hundreds of kid-friendly videos along with interactive puzzles, and a kid-safe game playing zone. Although produced in an entertaining, kid-appealing manner, often with cartoon overlays and special effects, the ChessKid videos are largely created by titled chess players.

ICC / ChessClub offers a tremendous video repository under the ChessFM branding -- from IM John Watson, GM Boris Alterman, NM Dan Heisman, among others. If attentively watched -- and accompanied by dilligent practice -- the wisdom may be sufficient to bring a player towards a USCF 2000 rating.

Both ChessKid and ChessClub offer free memberships -- ChessKid's free account allows only a sampling of the video material and allows only a few puzzles a day.  Gold accounts allows access to over 500 videos and unlimited puzzles. Coaches can monitor the progress of their students through a one-stop report card. Players can face off against opponents from around the world in either level of membership -- but the Gold members have their games permanently available for analysis.

Anyone can sign up for a free ChessClub account for a short period but at $1 a month, it's a bargain for that type of material.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to participate in either offer. 

If you have suggestions for other tools -- or offerings that might be available to adults as well -- please do not hesitate to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.with your suggestion.

A similar offering a few years back included bundling with ICA Scholastic memberships. This time around, ICA membership is not included, but parents as well as children are encouraged to become ICA members to support youth programming and association operating costs.  The donation for Scholastic memberships are $10 and for an Adult Membership, $15.

Such ICA memberships also provide $5 per event discounts on many upcoming events including the Chicago Open, the Chicago Class, the ICA's Illinois Open, the Midwest Class and the ICA's Illinois Class. ICA membership also qualifies players for prizes from the Illinois Chess Tour.

http://il-chess.org/shop is the most logical place to sign up for ICA membership.

If one signs up for ChessKid -- but then advances to a point where ChessClub is a better fit for the player, participants in the ICA offering can transfer from one service to the other for the months remaining on the subscription.