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  1. 20 Jan '14 14:59
    Thanks for giving me your time. I currently work in secure psychiatric services and have been asked to co-run/set up a chess club. I expect to have about 10 people max at any one time. I need to be able to go from teaching how to play, to maintaining the interest of competent chess players. I don’t know the skill pool will be and I am a very weak player but I do play which is more than the other staff available. Club session length will be limited to 1-2 hours once a week. There is no internet access.

    So could you advise me on?

    1) Minimum and ideal equipment setup,
    2) How to go about teaching chess,
    3) How to keep it interesting and fun for everyone,
    4) How to run interclub competitions,
    5) How to access player skill.

    My thoughts are;

    1) 5 boards and sets of pieces min. Ideal; 6 boards and sets of pieces, 5 chess clocks, computer with something like chess master on for access outside of sessions/ as aboard to play out tactics on.

    2) Teach the rules, then teach some tactics/ language ie coordinates, what a pin is, what a skewer is, a fork is with examples and simple problems. I might be able to do this part on a one outside session times. If the club becomes stable then will make up a booklet to cover this so one on one time can be used playing and talking about a game. This for me is where it gets hard, because I’m a weak player, so talking about theory of centre control, endgame theory etc would just be giving a minefield of misconceptions so I figure this would be were playing through annotated games and discussing out thoughts would be the only way to improve understanding and of course if someone was a stronger player than me have them give their advise on positions and reasoning behind moves.

    3) Set up tactical puzzle of the week ie start each session with a
    tactic puzzle(s). Club ranking, have a set format Club game, ie 20|0 and the results effect club ranking.

    4) Here I’m pretty clueless.

    5) Here I thought KISS and play the results will show who is stronger.

    Thanks for any guidance.
  2. 20 Jan '14 15:55
    I wouldn't worry about buying clocks, they are very expensive compared to the other equipment, break easily and possibly add too much tension to the proceedings for beginners. Perhaps you could just buy one, just to show them what one is and how it works.

    I would pinch some lessons from one of the trillion online resources. Richard James has got some excellent material on his site:
    http://www.chesskids.me.uk/

    Obviously most of the beginner stuff on the internet is aimed at children, so you might have to modify the language slightly.

    As for competitions. This is quite tricky. Most chess clubs just teach the beginners the basics, then chuck them into playing a game as soon as they know how the pieces move. The trouble is the games are just random.

    In the past I've tried something different, namely setting up positions such as KQ vs K, KR vs K, KP vs K and getting them to try it win it and then defend it against the same opponent, awarding points for successfully checkmating their opponent or for somehow achieving a draw. Alternatively you can play a simul against them all where they have the theoretically winning material and try to beat you. You can do the same thing with more pieces on the board, more like a mini-game with with equal material, which is especially useful if you haven't taught them how all the pieces move yet!
  3. 21 Jan '14 01:16
    Hi Mate,

    Good luck with this.

    Fat lady is correct about the clocks. You may need two/three at the most
    but not yet. See how it goes.
    One demo-board which cost the same as a clock would be ideal and help you out a lot.

    Where are you based?

    If not too confident can you contact a local chess club and ask if they
    have member willing to give up a couple of hours a week.
    Each club has two or three lads who know there way around a demo-board
    and they can answer all the awkward questions.

    I know you said "I currently work in secure psychiatric services..." but
    I have given lessons/demo's in prisons all over Scotland. So it is possible to get 'signed in' with an escort.
    (all I asked for as a fee was a lift to and fro........and be allowed out again.)
  4. Subscriber moonbus
    Uber-Nerd
    21 Jan '14 10:31
    Demo boards:

    http://www.chesshouse.com/chess_demonstration_boards_s/208.htm

    Alternatively, project this from your pc onto a screen:

    http://www.chess.com/analysis-board-editor

    (There are similar programs which work w/o Internet access.)
  5. 21 Jan '14 19:25
    A chess ladder!
  6. 28 Jan '14 16:47
    Thanks for you input, full steam ahead on the club front.