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Saturday, January 19, 2019
Help for Chess Tutors

Everyone who has taught chess to a classroom full of kids knows how difficult it is to keep their attention. I published this article over 10 years ago, but it is, and always will be, good information for chess teachers and promoters.

                        ** Are you a good teacher? **

I once attended an advanced math class in college which I and 90% of all the students flunked!  No, we weren't dummies; we were actually 'top of the class students', but our instructor was so boring that it was very hard to follow him. He was also the worst teacher I have ever seen in my entire life.

For example: On the 1st day of school he started a rant about radical exponents and wrote on the chalk board some equations. I raised my hand after 10 minutes of this and he reluctantly pointed at me and said, "WHAT!?".  I asked him, "How did you jump from 'point A' to 'point C' without showing us 'point B'?". His reply to me: "I can't hold up the rest of the class if you don't understand that. See me after class and I'll show you."  This had to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard from a teacher! He spent another hour and 20 minutes expounding on his teaching of which nobody understood - any nobody would risk asking any questions.

                        ** Pawns vs Pieces **

The idea to keeping children (or anybody for that matter)  interested in what you are trying to teach is to make it interesting! Chess is already a game... but a very complex and complicated game. So you break it down into smaller games. I call this one Pawns vs Pieces and here's how it works. You teach the student how to play the pawns against each piece.

The diagram feature will not allow me to create the picture I want because I want to create a game where you pair 2 students against each other - one playing the pawns and the other playing the piece, without the kings on the board!

Place 3 Black pawns on f7, g7, h7 and a White knight on g8. No kings! This is a lesson to play the pawns against a piece and vice-versa. The piece ALWAYS moves first! If the piece can stop the pawns from queening w/o being captured then the piece wins. If one single pawn can queen w/o being captured the pawns win.

You will use this same setup with a bishop, add some pawns for a rook. You will discover two things:

Played correctly,

The bishop can always stop 3 connected passed pawns! While the knight can only stop 2 of them! After they play this game once, have them switch sides and play the other one.

Yes, a rook will stop 5 pawns. A Queen will stop 9 pawns. You will discover after you've played this game for awhile that you play better endings because you are learning to play pawns against pieces and vice-versa.

Now... how many pawns can a king stop if there is no other king? Yes, this is important to know.

Best regards, abbyknot

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