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General Support

What is ZoomChess?

ZoomChess is an online chess learning system for 4-18 year olds. The service delivers a personalized program of lessons, exercises, and puzzles to your child through a computer. As your child uses ZoomChess, the system dynamically adjusts and delivers content appropriate to their level. The ZoomChess curriculum was developed over 30 years of teaching children chess in the classroom, and has helped earn many scholastic State and National Championship titles in the U.S.

How often can my child use ZoomChess?

As often as they like. The lessons are colorful, kid-friendly animations, and short enough for kids to enjoy on their own. For best results, we recommend using ZoomChess each day and develop consistency. Just like learning a musical instrument or sports, playing well depends on focused practice. ZoomChess is an ideal at-home practice environment.

What ages is ZoomChess appropriate for?

ZoomChess was designed for kids, but it’s never too late to learn to play chess. We encourage kids from 3 to 103 to use ZoomChess.

Who made the lessons?

Jill Keto (a ZoomChess founder) provided the voice and animation to the curriculum and lessons of US Senior Master Harlan Lee (another ZoomChess founder), whose after-school programs have taught chess to thousands of students over 30 years, and helped develop many national champions.

Does my child need a computer?

Yes. ZoomChess must be used on a desktop or laptop computer.

Can my child access ZoomChess on an iPad or other mobile device?

The ZoomChess system uses Java, which is not supported on mobile phones or tablets.

Does my child have to know how to read?

ZoomChess is fully narrated by a talking teacher, so even the earliest readers will be able to play.

Can I have ZoomChess for free?

Sign up for the free 14-day trial, available on the homepage. After the 14-day period, if you decide you want to continue, you need to purchase a subscription. You can get ZoomChess free by encouraging your school to buy a group subscription. After-school chess clubs or other groups get discounted rates. ZoomChess makes a great gift, so you might encourage a relative or friend to buy it for your child.

Can my Pre-K child play ZoomChess?

Yes, ZoomChess is designed for kids, even pre-schoolers. Try the 14-day free trial to see if your little one enjoys chess on a computer. We recommend short sessions for very young kids, with real-world reinforcement on an actual chess board.

Is ZoomChess available in other languages besides English?

English is the only language in which ZoomChess is available at this time. If we decide to translate ZoomChess, what language would you like to hear? Let us know.

How can we use ZoomChess in our Homeschool co-op?

ZoomChess offers discounts to Homeschool group subscriptions. You can get a year of ZoomChess for as little as $25 per child for groups of 5 or more.  Using ZoomChess in a Homeschool group setting can become very lively and social, with kids huddling around one computer figuring things out as a team. You can access the lessons under “Topics” in the Training Room, if you want to watch and discuss a specific subject as a group. Then the kids can each practice the concept within their own ZoomChess account, or on a physical chess board – together.

You can use ZoomChess to teach groups of Homeschool kids with or without a chess coach. This can be directed by a Homeschool parent who is an experienced chess player. But often it is a parent who is a chess novice, but is eager to learn right along with their children. The beauty of ZoomChess is that it enables even very young children to progress quickly, and continue learning regardless of the playing ability of their own parents.

How can we use ZoomChess in our after-school Chess Club?

Normally, after-school Chess Clubs use ZoomChess as a supplement to chess club instruction, and as a convenient way for students to practice and play better at home. More practice = more tournament wins. Some chess clubs use ZoomChess during instruction time, showing videos, discussing concepts, and solving puzzles as a group. Some chess coaches use it to assign homework to their Chess Club kids. ZoomChess is very flexible, and Chess Clubs use it in many different ways.

How much does it cost?

An individual child can use ZoomChess for $6.95 per month, $29.95 for 6 months (28% off the full monthly rate), or $49.65 per year (40% off the full monthly rate). Families and Classes are eligible for further discounts. Please see PRICING for more details.

How do I subscribe to ZoomChess?

If you have already registered and have signed up for a free trial, you can subscribe by either clicking “Pricing” on the ZoomChess homepage OR from “My Account” on your Student Dashboard. If you have not signed up for a free trial, you should do so. You’ll get a better understanding of how the system works if you play ZoomChess before you buy.

What will my child learn?

With regular use, your child will become proficient in chess. ZoomChess will train your child through 1600+ rating (US Chess Federation), which is the level of a competitive high school tournament player.

Using ZoomChess

Where do I find a list of Topics and Lessons?

A full list of topics can be found in the Tour Section of our website. To access them in the ZoomChess application, first launch ZoomChess. You’ll be in the Training Room, and notice there are four buttons at the top. One of them is called “Topics”. From there, you will be able to access the curriculum by topic.

Does my child need to choose a topic to start learning?

No. The ideal way to use ZoomChess is to allow the Training Room to guide your child through the curriculum. Just turn it on and let your child play.

What is the difference between the Training Room, Checkmate, and Game Play environments?

The “Training Room” takes the student through puzzles, exercises and lessons at the level matching the child’s chess ability. As the student progresses, the training room content changes to more challenging material.

“Checkmate” is a flexible practice environment for checkmating the computer using a pre-defined group of pieces (like a Rook ands Queen, for example).

“Game Play” allows the student to play full chess games against the computer at the student’s level.

Can I turn off the talking teacher?

Yes. Narration can be turned off from the OPTIONS menu in the training room.

Why is my child doing exercises that are below their current level?

ZoomChess measures your child’s response time and error rate to determine what their ability actually is. In the beginning, it is figuring out how much your child knows, and where the “holes” are. Certain concepts must be mastered before progressing. If your child thinks the material is too easy, make sure they are not rushing through the exercises. Careless mistakes count as mistakes, and are factored into the playing level.

How do I access lessons and topics I feel my child should be working on?

Click the “Topics” button in the Training Room, where you will find a wide variety of curriculum subjects to explore. From here, you can choose to view a lesson or train these topics with exercises and puzzles. Additionally, If you are looking for topics relating to checkmating with specific pieces, say – Two Bishops – click the “Checkmate” button in the Training Room.

I forgot my password. How can I retrieve it?

Click “Log In” on the top of the homepage. Then “Click HERE if you forgot your username or password”.

How do I log in?

Go to ZoomChess.com, and in the upper right corner, click “Log In”. Enter your username and password, and click “Submit”.

How does my child log in?

Your child can access ZoomChess two ways
1. From your Parent Dashboard
2. Logging in to ZoomChess with the child’s own ZoomChess account

Parents & Coaches

Can I let my other children use ZoomChess?

ZoomChess training tracks student progress and delivers exercises according to the individual child’s level. Therefore, it is not a good idea to let other people play on your child’s account. If other people play “as” your child…the progress will be skewed and possibly deliver training that is too difficult for your child. You may add an additional child to your account at any time. However, you only require one Parent Account, from which you will be able to track the progress of all your children.

Can I set up a free trial for my 2nd child?

Yes, anyone can set up a free trial at any time. When you are ready to add the 2nd child to your subscription, you may click “I’d like to add kids to My Family” on the Parent Dashboard.

I’m a school teacher. How can I use ZoomChess in the classroom?

You can get a group subscription. Each student will have their own ZoomChess account. You can use ZoomChess in any space in the school with computer & internet access. You can watch lessons together, by plugging any computer into a smart board. Or if you have access to a computer lab, all the kids can access their own ZoomChess accounts at once. We encourage school teachers to have at least one physical chess board in the classroom, such as a roll-up vinyl tournament set.

Can a parent play and understand more about what ZoomChess is?

Parents can sign up for a free trial for themselves and play like a student.

How do I log in to my Parent Dashboard?

When you log in with your own User Name and Password, you will automatically be directed to your Dashboard.

My child is too young to have an email account. Can she still sign up to learn?

Yes of course! Simply use the email address of the Parent or Legal Guardian, and check the consent box when you sign up the child.

Accounts

How will I be billed?

Monthly subscriptions are billed through PayPal, and automatically renewed every month. 6-month and Yearly subscriptions are paid for in advance, one time.

Can I still access my Parent Dashboard if I cancel?

If you cancel, you will not have access to the ZoomChess application (the “training room”). However, you can still log in to your Dashboard to review your children’s progress and use the other features available there.

How do I renew my subscription?

You can renew your subscription from your Dashboard under “Account”.

Can I change my password or my children’s passwords?

ZoomChess allows different children to have the same username, because having their desired username is very important to them. Therefore, however, passwords must be assigned automatically, and cannot be changed.

Technical & Troubleshooting

How do I get ZoomChess to work on my computer?

1. You must have internet access

2. Your computer must be able to play sound. Most of the games, puzzles, lessons, and exercises are narrated by a “talking teacher”. It is designed to be useful for children that might not know how to read.

3. Your computer must have a web browser. We recommend Firefox browser which can be downloaded here:

http://firefox.com

4. You must have Java, and the right Java. An easy way to find out if you have Java, is to visit http://www.java.com. There is a button that reads “Free Java Download”. Directly below that, click where it reads “Do I have Java”. If you don’t have Java, click “Free Java Download”.

5. Let your browser use Java. You may need to tell your web browser that it has permission to use Java.

Firefox: go to the Firefox menu – Preferences – General – Add-ons – Manage Add-On – then “Enable” Java Applet Plug-in.

Internet Explorer: go to Tools – Internet Options – Security. Click “Custom level”, go down to SCRIPTING and turn it on.

“Active Scripting” – Enable

…and click “Save Settings”

6. Allow “Cookies”

Firefox: go to the Firefox menu – Preferences – Privacy – than check the box “Accept cookies from sites”

Internet Explorer: Click Tools – Internet Options – Privacy – Advanced.

Click “Override Automatic Cookie Handling”

Click “Accept” First Party Cookies

Check “Always Allow Session Cookies”

…and click “Okay” at the bottom

7. Any firewall or filtering software must allow HTTP access to http://zoomchess.com and sub-domains of zoomchess.com.

8. Any parental control software installed on the computer must allow ZoomChess to run.

Contact

How can I provide feedback on ZoomChess?

We’d love to hear from you. Our customer feedback is very important to us. Please use the Contact Us link on our homepage.

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