Interview with Andrew Kashian from Story Time Chess

Andrew Kashian is the President + Founder of Story Time Chess, a board game that takes a more kid-friendly, storybook approach to the strategy-focused pastime.

Story Time Chess uses silly stories, vibrant illustrations, custom chess pieces, and a very unique chessboard. The stories and supporting materials communicate the rules of chess to children ages 3 and up in a way that makes learning chess simple and fun. Best of all, no chess experience is required for parents or children to learn.  

Each chess piece has its own story and exercises that explain how the piece moves in a silly, memorable way. An example of a silly story in this board game is King Shakey. King Shakey is afraid of bees, trees, and even his own knees—which is why he moves so cautiously, one square at a time. Stories of characters like these, activities and imagery help kids as young as 3 learn the moves, strategies and language of chess. 

ToyShnip interviewed Andrew about Story Time Chess, his background and what he’s planning on doing next.

Q: First and foremost, do you know how to play chess? When did you learn and how good are you?

A: Yes, I do know how to play chess. I learned when I was very young. I am by no means  a great chess player, but likely better than the average adult. :)

Q: I read somewhere that you originally planned to follow in your father’s footsteps and become a doctor. What made you decide to take a different path?

A: After prepping for the MCAT I realized I was pursuing medicine for the wrong reason. That’s when I decided to find my own calling which eventually brought me to NYC and Story Time Chess!


Could you tell me 5 things you've learned (so far) in your journey as the President and Founder of Story Time Chess?

A: 1: Kids can learn so much more than you expect ie Chess as young as 3 via story time chess

2: Modern day children spend way too much time on tablets, TV, phones, etc. Board games like Story Time Chess are a fun productive escape for the screen.

3: Losing a chess match to a 5-year-old is a very humbling experience :)

4: Learning chess helps children in so many ways beyond just learning how to play. They honestly perform better in all aspects of life. It's really amazing.

5: Education doesn’t need to be boring, it can be made fun and enjoyable for both the child and the teacher/parent.

Q: Would you say this game is for young beginners, starting at a basic level?

A: Yes, the game Story Time Chess, is created for children who do not know how to play chess. It will teach them all the pieces and how they move.

Q: Does this game only go over how each game piece is moved or does it teach more advanced techniques like opening gambits, i.e.
Queen's Gambit, King's Indian Defense, Nimzo-Indian, Bogo-Indian, Queen's Indian, and Dutch Defense?

A: Story Time Chess the game is the introduction of chess to kids only teaching how each piece moves. Story Time Chess 2 and 3 (both story books) go into more advanced techniques like castling!

How can this chess game strengthen a child’s academic performance?

A: Chess has been proven to be literal brain food. Story Time Chess makes chess accessible at the youngest age possible. The younger you start a child, the larger the impact chess will have on them excelling in life. 

How does it feel to receive “Toy of the Year – People’s Choice Winner 2021” for Story Time Chess?
A: It’s an absolute dream. It is like winning the Best Picture at the Academy Awards but in the toy world. People’s Choice, in our opinion, is the best award you can win in the toy industry. It’s the consumer best pick toy of 2021! 

Q: Another one of your businesses, Chess at 3, is virtual chess lessons for children. Other than being taught online by a professional, what’s the biggest difference between Chess at 3 and Story Time Chess?
A: We have three chess teaching options. Story Time Chess the game, Story Time Chess virtual lessons with a virtual online teacher, and Chess at Three private in home lessons with a tutor.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about you or Story Time Chess?

A: We hope all families get a chance to experience this magical game. It is honestly so amazing to see a 3, 4, or 5-year-old playing adults in full games of chess. Pure magic. 

If you have any qualms about purchasing this game, we hope this interview helps you make an informative decision. We are definitely fans of it!

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