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  1. #1
    CC Candidate Master
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    Aug 2011
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    How to teach beginners chess

    I offered a few weeks ago to teach beginners to play chess - I mean people who know nothing at all or know the moves and nothing else. My offer [free of course] was on FICS [Free Internet Chess Server] . Two people accepted the offer. I found it challenging. First, I had to nut out how to use FICS so that the other person could see what I was doing. So, I asked the admins. Thus I had to make an examine position and get the beginner to type observe linuxblue.

    Second, we came to castling. The person had never seen it and was confused by two pieces moving at once in the one move. So, I had to repeat it a few times. Then I thought "should I explain all the rules of permissible castling? Queenside? In check? Not in check? If Korchnoi had to ask the arbiter once if you could castle with a rook under attack [yes!] then who on earth am I to confuse a beginning player??

    I asked Bill Jordan and he said that he would have taught the person all the rules of castling at that time had he been coaching.

    Then of course there's en passant to come at some point...

    The second person knew the rules so I explained why the centre mattered and how pieces or pawns were better there. What FICS doesn't appear to allow me to do here is to have a blank board [babaschess interface] and circle the four centre squares. What I have worked out is to use Fritz to make example positions and import them into FICS as examples to be examined and thus seen by both myself and the student.

    FICS doesn't appear to allow me to have the student move the pieces him or herself. That is a bit frustrating; the best learning is experiential.

    So, it is not easy. It is a challenge to teach beginning players. Especially online.

    Anyone have any experience teaching beginners online or offline? It is harder than it looks to do it!!

  2. #2
    CC International Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,818
    Quote Originally Posted by rqbxo
    I offered a few weeks ago to teach beginners to play chess - I mean people who know nothing at all or know the moves and nothing else. My offer [free of course] was on FICS [Free Internet Chess Server] . Two people accepted the offer. I found it challenging. First, I had to nut out how to use FICS so that the other person could see what I was doing. So, I asked the admins. Thus I had to make an examine position and get the beginner to type observe linuxblue.

    Second, we came to castling. The person had never seen it and was confused by two pieces moving at once in the one move. So, I had to repeat it a few times. Then I thought "should I explain all the rules of permissible castling? Queenside? In check? Not in check? If Korchnoi had to ask the arbiter once if you could castle with a rook under attack [yes!] then who on earth am I to confuse a beginning player??

    I asked Bill Jordan and he said that he would have taught the person all the rules of castling at that time had he been coaching.

    Then of course there's en passant to come at some point...

    The second person knew the rules so I explained why the centre mattered and how pieces or pawns were better there. What FICS doesn't appear to allow me to do here is to have a blank board [babaschess interface] and circle the four centre squares. What I have worked out is to use Fritz to make example positions and import them into FICS as examples to be examined and thus seen by both myself and the student.

    FICS doesn't appear to allow me to have the student move the pieces him or herself. That is a bit frustrating; the best learning is experiential.

    So, it is not easy. It is a challenge to teach beginning players. Especially online.

    Anyone have any experience teaching beginners online or offline? It is harder than it looks to do it!!
    Like many things, you improve with experience. The most important thing is to be patient with the student, try to understand their learning process and be clear and precise in your explanations.

    I would have explained all of the rules involving castling, but the way I would explain it would vary a bit depending on the student. Often it helps to use a mnemonic for rules - e.g. the castle (read: rook) can castle out of an attack, but the king cannot.

  3. #3
    CC FIDE Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    730

    Teaching

    I have used www.chesskids.com with a lot of success

    Suggest that you look at the site It is quite user friendly and can be accessed free of charge by anyone who has internet access

  4. #4
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Atlanta, GA (formerly Brisbane, and before that Wellington, NZ)
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    21,132
    I think anyone teaching beginners should give them plenty of practice with one piece at a time, e.g. both teacher and pupil playing with nothing but a R each and trying to avoid capture. Do the same with other pieces, including K, explaining that it's illegal to put this in any other piece's firing line. Then introduce K v another piece, show check and mate, and note how the different pieces fight against the K. This should give the pupil some sort of grasp of the powers of the pieces and how to play.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
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  5. #5
    CC Candidate Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    30

    it is going well.

    It is going well. Taught her basic tactics. The chesskids site is great as well.

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