Friday, 7 October 2011

Junior Club - Breaking the pieces down

The coaching philosophy of Darlington chess club has always been a light touch.  Try and keep the coaching to short sessions and let the kids play chess.
There is such a range of abilities at the club we have started to coach more advanced topics to some of the older kids that are progressing well.  With the other kids we have decided to try and break the pieces down, so the kids get a feel for each piece's unique qualities.  This is not a new idea and it is mainly based on the ideas of Richard James.  I will give a flavour of what we are doing below, but if you want to see more of what Richard is doing take a look at

Playing mini games.
We pair the kids up and ask them to play the following position.
Black tries to get one of his pawns to the first rank and White tries to stop him.  Each child takes a turn with Black and White.  Give it a go here

The general consensus was the bishop is better than pawns.  Agreeing with this we showed them how the bishop can stop advancing pawns by controlling the squares in front of the pawns.  After playing the games the kids easily understood this concept.

Next time we played the same game with a knight
The overwhelming feedback here was that the pawns were stronger than the knight.  Interesting...

We encouraged the children to play with these positions to see how they affected the results.  For example

Next time we will look at what the advanced group have been up to.

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