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  1. Standard member Ragnorak
    For RHP addons...
    15 Oct '07 14:51
    Hey,
    I started coaching chess at my local Junior Chess club last week, and found the going difficult. I wasn't prepared for their inability to comprehend why anybody would ever want to read a chess book (when I tried telling them about files and ranks and the board coordinates).

    I plan on teaching the beginners the basic mates this week, and hope to keep them engaged by showing them how to do the mate, and then getting them to do it themselves, counting how many moves it takes them, and then trying to beat that. That lesson should be successful.

    I'm just really looking for tips for teaching them about tactics, strategy and opening play that will keep them engaged. I have access to a laptop and overhead projector.

    Any tips are greatly appreciated.

    D
  2. 15 Oct '07 15:44
    The trick is not to go too heavy in any one sitting, even as an experienced player I find that if somebody starts going into deep analysis about an opening and what tactics are available I tend to lose them somewhere along the way.

    Pick one type of tactic, mates being a good one to start with, and hammer it into them - dont allow people to produce a mate once and then go onto something else, make them repeat it and repeat it until you are certain it has penetrated.

    Lastly, remember that most kids have an attention span of a few minutes and maybe half an hour at best (for all but the most ultra keen) so plan something that will not last too long and then just let them get on with games, it is what they most like to do and gives you the opportunity to look at the mistakes they are making and decide what to teach next session.
  3. 15 Oct '07 18:44
    Here are some tips from another post I did - although this is aimed at one to one coaching you should find some of it useful...

    OK first thing is good luck...there are a few pitfalls.

    A bit of planning and preperation on your part will go a long way. Here is a hotch potch of ideas based on my own experience:

    Keep the "instruction time" short and present just one or two ideas. Typically kids will want to get on with a game and will glaze over quite quickly if you overdo the instruction...although kids differ in how they prefer to learn...so if you can spot a preffered learning style then go more with this....avoid a time when she is tired.

    With learning style...some kids like being shown things..watching you, listening and taking it in..many prefer to try things them selves..experimenting. Always encourage.

    Suppose your doing opening training instead of saying..1.e4 is a good opening move because blah blah blah...try asking: "What do you think a good move for white?"..."OK"..."why's "that?"..."what would happen if" (useful phrase that one) "what would happen if you moved that one so the bishop could come out and fight..?" "Yes right" "Good"...the words of encouragement are very powerful.. ...never say no...just say OK or yes in a mildly questioning tone...or ask "can you find a better one?"

    Letting them discover is generally more memorable than them being told. Also - just because you said it doesn't mean they have learned it. Re- caps and repetitions are good. Sum up at the end..."so today you've learned how to...etc." It's good to to make up little rymes and ditties and play around...start the next session with a re-cap of what was done in the previous one.

    A lot also depends on what the school chess club is like...is it just a supervised area where kids play or is there some instruction...and who is giving this. But the cool thing is she''ll quickly move up the ranking if she gets some structured coaching.

    Once you have setting up the board and the piece moves nailed you can move onto a few opening moves...there are arguments for and against using the Gioucco Piano here...but it follows basic principles and it's relatively easy to learn.

    Now checkmate with two rooks...this can be a game with you defending...getting faster and faster.

    Checkmate with one rook + king...this too can become a game.

    Checkmate with Queen + king.

    Knight moves...spread a few chocolate buttons (with parents permission) on the board and have her win them by moving the knight to capture them.

    Knight moves 2 - As above but put a few same colour pawns on the board to make it harder.

    Re-enforce things with a puzzle...such as setting up the board the wrong way and playing spot the mistake.

    Now you can set up a basic puzzle or two...say showing back rank checkmate or one with a pawn on the seventh rank (where it promotes to give checkmate)....beware of taking to much time setting up puzzles...it might be worth printing a few (you can set up the board in Fritz and print it).

    And then on to tactics...

    Very important to keep a careful eye on her to spot signs of boredom...try to finish the lesson with her wanting more...this is an advantage you have over a paid coach who has to complete the hour session.

    "Discovering Chess Opening" by John Emms has some very good stuff on the first few moves which I think would be a good guide for you to use (it's not written for kids) to get some ideas for teaching a lesson on say...scholars mate...all kids have to learn to do this so they can defend against it...it's good too on principles.

    There are three books/pamphlets written by a primary school teacher:

    "Tens Ways to Succeed in the Opening" (or Middlegame or Ending) by Tim Onions and David Regis - they are excellent and at £5 each I highly recommend all three.


    You might also look at "Winning Chess Puzzles for Kids" by Jeff Croakley...it has some mate in one puzzles, mate in twos, tatics and some quiz questions where the king and queen are the wrong way round etc.

    As well as www.chesskids.com mentioned in the previous post it might be worth checking out Susan Polgars website..not reviewed this myself but I know she has kids and has made some training materials for them...however I would definitely review any dvd's before buying them...chessmaster has cool stuff for kids starting out... although my kids were never into playing chess on a computer.

    Also "How to Beat Your Dad at Chess" and "Chess Tactics for Kids" despite the title and friendly cover aren't really suitable for kids starting out (in my opinion anyway)...they are good books but for maybe after a year or so when they are happy reading notation.
  4. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    15 Oct '07 19:43
    I've been doing scholastic chess since 2000. Most of the time a one hour chess club meeting begins with a problem on the demo board and discussion of 5-10 minutes. I still lose a few in this brief perion.

    I use an award system--with certificates for each level--pawn, knight, bishop, rook, etc. Kids always want to be tested, and that keeps me busy during the rest of the club hour (while a lot of casual play takes place among those not testing).

    My awards:

    Pawn: the Pawn Award recognizes that the recipient knows how to play chess (and should be able to teach another).
    1. Sets up board (light on right) and pieces correctly.
    2. Demonstrates basic movement of each piece.
    3. Demonstrate and explain castling.
    4. Demonstrate en passant.
    5. Demonstrate ability to recognize checkmate (complete “Pawn Award: checkmate in one” worksheet).

    Knight: the Knight Award recognizes that the recipient has learned certain fundamental checkmate skills.
    1. Previously earned Pawn, or achieve a NWSRS rating over 500.
    2. Demonstrate understanding of checkmate of lone king with heavy pieces:
    * queen and rook,
    * queen and king, and
    * rook and king (each from two random positions selected by the coach).
    3. Demonstrate understanding of “fox in the chicken coop” pawn promotion technique.
    4. Complete “Knight Award: checkmates and tactics” worksheet.
    5. Demonstrate ability to read chess notation.

    Bishop: the Bishop Award recognizes that the recipient has developed skill in coordinating the chess pieces, including honing his or her checkmate skills.
    1. Previously earned Knight.
    2. Force checkmate of lone king with two bishops and king.
    3. Demonstrate understanding of opposition and outflanking through success with king vs. king exercise, and two king and pawn exercises selected by the coach.
    4. Complete “Checklist of Checkmates: Corridors” and “Checklist of Checkmates: Diagonals.”
    5. Complete “Bishop Award: checkmates and tactics” worksheet.
    6. Demonstrate ability to write chess notation.

    Rook: the Rook Award recognizes that the recipient has developed his or her endgame and checkmate skills, and has become a tournament player.
    1. Previously earned Bishop.
    2. Demonstrate understanding of Lucena (building a bridge) and Philidor (sixth rank defense) endgame positions (rooks and pawn).
    3. Complete “Checklist of Checkmates: Intersections” and “Checklist of Checkmates: Knights.”
    4. Complete “Rook Award: checkmates and tactics” worksheet.
    5. Complete two scholastic tournaments (no voluntary byes or forfeits).

    Queen: the Queen Award recognizes that the recipient has developed the habit of chess study, and has proven his or her abilities through success in tournament competition.
    1. Previously earned Rook.
    2. Demonstrate understanding of queen vs. pawn endgames (winning and drawing ideas).
    3. Complete “Checklist of Checkmates: Combinations,” “Checklist of Checkmates: Queens,” and “Checklist of Checkmates: Challenges.”
    4. Complete “Queen Award: checkmates and tactics” worksheet.
    5. Complete three scholastic tournaments (no voluntary byes or forfeits), scoring three points or more in at least one event.

    King: the King Award recognizes that the recipient has become a strong scholastic player.
    1. Previously earned Queen.
    2. Demonstrate correct play from five opposition exercises selected by the coach.
    3. Correctly solve fifteen problems in fifteen minutes selected at random from “Checklist of Checkmates” exercises with 86% accuracy (13 of 15).
    4. Show evidence of independent study of tactics exercises book, such as those by Fred Reinfeld, Bruce Pandolfini, Murray Chandler, Paul Littlewood, Lou Hays, or others.
    4. Earn NWSRS rating above 700 (grades K-3), 900 (grades 4-6), or 1200 (grades 7+).
  5. Standard member irontigran
    Rob Scheider is..
    15 Oct '07 20:21
    just dont call anyone "retard" after they miss something... people so sensitive these days
  6. 15 Oct '07 21:40
    These links should be helpful:

    For teachers of chess to kids:
    http://www.chesskids.com/

    For the kids:
    http://www.chesskids.com/kidzone/index1.shtml

    All free.
  7. 15 Oct '07 22:25
    I've never seen so much rubbish from such clever people, after 15 years of coaching and making the new national certification programme for england the best tip any real coach can tell you is use every power play you can use. Mate = Kills, object of the game is to point all your pieces at the king and pull his/her arms and legs off and hit him with the soggy ends. If your showing a best position puzzle, hand out pens, sweats anything for who can tell you the answer and why. I have trained, 50 England internationals and over 5500 kids how to play in Yorkshire alone, its not about the truth and fact its about holding their attention and making it interesting, regardless of your skill level. don't be intelligent, geeks turn them off and stop them coming.

    reagards

    renegade_hotspur at hotmail dot com
  8. 15 Oct '07 22:32
    Originally posted by renegade hotspur
    Mate = Kills, object of the game is to point all your pieces at the king and pull his/her arms and legs off and hit him with the soggy ends.
    You must be a Monty Python fan.
  9. 15 Oct '07 22:38
    Originally posted by Mad Rook
    You must be a Monty Python fan.
    no i just know how to keep kids intersted. and yes i am. most kids leave chess at 16 cos everything else is more intersting, i have 50% of my kids still playing though secondary school and beyond 18 years old, show me a coach who can do the same. I'm not a good coach but i know all the coaches have the answer just a little bit of it, i just put the answers together.
  10. 16 Oct '07 00:07
    What do people think of the points system?

    Pawn= 1 point
    Knight/bishop = 3 points
    Rook = 5 points
    Queen = 9 points

    With the objective that you should aim to have equal or more points to your opponent.

    Obviously this oversimplification does eventually have to be broken once players become stronger but I think it is a good arbitary system to start with and allows people to quintify the game rather then telling them that some pieces are worth more depending on the position.

    Do any of the other 'coaches' use this?
  11. 16 Oct '07 00:38
    all good stuff here.
    Let me add that sometimes you can have the kids play in teams of two against two - they share ideas and in a way teach each other. When the game is over you can all go over what happened.
    Be sure to have them just play with endgame materiel at times - only a few pawns, a rook, bishop, and so on -
    Keep it light for your beginners as they start out. The lure is that the game is fun to play. All the rest follows from that.
  12. 16 Oct '07 22:24
    Originally posted by Tyrannosauruschex
    What do people think of the points system?

    Pawn= 1 point
    Knight/bishop = 3 points
    Rook = 5 points
    Queen = 9 points

    With the objective that you should aim to have equal or more points to your opponent.

    Obviously this oversimplification does eventually have to be broken once players become stronger but I think it is a good arbitary syste ...[text shortened]... me pieces are worth more depending on the position.

    Do any of the other 'coaches' use this?
    I think it is essential to attach some relative value to the pieces so they can start to evaluate trades. Having said that I think it is also important to instill a healthy skepticism of point values from the beginning by finding a simple analogy to explain the added value of a well placed piece and the redundancy of inactive pieces. Something like an unstoppable pawn on the 7th rank or a rook still boxed in at the back.
  13. 16 Oct '07 23:10
    Chess has to learn how to deliver the teaching to the players you have, i challenge any coach to teach my kids. All the above comments are right when speaking to a gammar school/ indipendant school kid or an adult, the problem is most of you guys are good at chess but not good teachers. example, i placed three boards in a room, one with mate in four, one with a position winning double attack and the third with a move your worst place peice, and didn't tell them which was which. Good players would just give them the good moves, mine will be stronger sooner.

    renegade
  14. 17 Oct '07 05:47 / 1 edit
    One of the hardest things about a junior chess club is teaching a group with different levels so it's worth thinking of a way to deal with this.

    A lot also depends on when you get the kids. If it's straight after school and you set a demo board up and talk for half an hour - most are going to find that hard.

    I once saw a chess coach (who knew the group well) play a simul against them in pairs, encouraging them to consult as the game continued. At the end he had them reflect on the conversations they had and suggested they have a similar conversation with themselves when playing alone. This was a one off session and had the benefit of being something different.


    Renegade's suggestion that we're crap teachers is worth bearing in mind. Assuming that because we are good at chess we will also be good a coaching juniors would be a mistake. Thinking that we're crap and that we have to prepare and learn before we run a session is quite a healthy approach.

    BTW I'm not a chess coach but I've observed and assisted with many coaching/club sessions attended with my kids...and both have now more or less quit chess. The excellent coach they had moved on and I'm sure if he'd stayed then they would have continued. A good inspiring teacher makes all the difference.
  15. 17 Oct '07 07:32 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Tyrannosauruschex
    What do people think of the points system?

    Pawn= 1 point
    Knight/bishop = 3 points
    Rook = 5 points
    Queen = 9 points

    With the objective that you should aim to have equal or more points to your opponent.

    Obviously this oversimplification does eventually have to be broken once players become stronger but I think it is a good arbitary syste ...[text shortened]... me pieces are worth more depending on the position.

    Do any of the other 'coaches' use this?
    I am teaching my 9 year old god-daughter and started with that points system but have recently elaborated the pawn points:

    connected pawns = 1 point
    isolated pawn/doubled pawn = 0.5 points
    passed pawn 1.5 points

    I have of course explained that this is a simplified rule of thumb and will vary depending on the exact position, but she understands opposition and can get a pawn home with a KP v K, she is quite good at seeing when a position is drawn and when the king can gain the opposition and queen a pawn (with correct play). So this helps in her overall appreciation of the value of pawns.

    She can peform simple checkmates, I have never learnt the bishop/knight mate but it's far too early for her to learn that, but I suppose one day I will learn it to teach her. She can open quite well but hangs pieces in the middle game, I think she finds it hard to maintain concontration, but I can't complain she has improved a lot in the last 3 months.