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Alan Shore
24-04-2004, 01:31 AM
Low rated adults (i.e 1000 to 1400 band) are always going to have trouble against juniors - the juniors are just more aggressive and have an incredible passion to win - I just don't think those adults are driven in the same way. That drive is worth a point or two above their playing strength.



I think another issue to is that even the low rated juniors who play in adult competitions are likely to be studying the recent opening theory as opposed to the average 1000-1400 rated adults. This can lead to them getting an advantage out of the opening that at that level can lead to a quick kill or a significant advantage that eventually leads to victory. Juniors at that level still tend to be poor in endgame technique. Unfortunately for the 1000-1400 rated adults their endgame technique is often not sufficient for them to win..

This is a point I am interested in - I have seen this pattern too, with some juniors being taught bookbash opening theory at the expense of principles of play. I'm not sure which coaches abide by this movement specifically, but as a coach myself I am no advocate of it, preferring to base my lessons around the principles of chess, focusing primarily on tactics. In a few cases the bookbash can come off but if the minefield is successfully navigated (or even just avoided by choice of opening) the games of these juniors just fall apart from the lack of structure in their chess knowledge.

For these reasons, I commented in another thread I would be a more willing advocate of endgame study than openings (Naturally openings study wouldn't be completely abandoned, simply not studied in depth).

So would you agree/disagree with my approach? Are there any coaches you know of that do focus primarily on openings? I heard Joe Tanti was one..


P.S. jenni, your avatar is cool, I loved the hyenas in LK :cool:

Kerry Stead
24-04-2004, 04:15 AM
I'm an advocte of the general principles approach.
I try to give kids a reasonably balanced spectrum of the game, with the early focus being on the opening and endgame, but then the bulk of teaching being on the middlegame, as I think that's where the bulk of chess knowledge needs to be applied.
When the kids are more advanced and playing in events like Australian Juniors, or are at a level where they are 1200+, then opening theory does come into play, however although I would hardly call it a 'bookbash', knowing a few tricks to watch out for can always be a useful way to score a quick point. I'd hardly say the kids would be using the most recent theory though, at leats not at that level.

Ian Rout
24-04-2004, 10:33 AM
I agree with the principle though I don't know that coaches encourage young players to overdo openings. My experience is that they do it of their own accord. I don't teach juniors much about openings at all, I let them teach me.

jenni
24-04-2004, 12:55 PM
P.S. jenni, your avatar is cool, I loved the hyenas in LK :cool:

I was feeling in a delicate frame of mind, so picked something that seemed to sum up my feelings......

I also loved the hyenas!

jenni
24-04-2004, 12:58 PM
I agree with the principle though I don't know that coaches encourage young players to overdo openings. My experience is that they do it of their own accord. I don't teach juniors much about openings at all, I let them teach me.

I tend to agree that it is some kids who focus on the opening theory. Often ones who start late and teach themselves are the ones who buy all the openings books. It does seem to take them quite a long way though.

george
28-05-2004, 03:18 PM
Hi All,

I've been coaching children in a couple of schools for a few years and find that the generalist approach combined with sound opening theory without an in depth knowledge of variations to move whatever is best.

As Ian said the bright children who catch the chess disease (great disease to catch by the way) rarely but sometimes show me some lines I dont know but then we sit down and improve and adapt what they show me to their style of play.

In the analysis of a variation I havent seen before I am like a springboard where the kids bounce things around and together we learn from each other and have some fun and the kids feel good about bringing me variations or seeking advice on any chess issue. They know they will not be belittled rather praised for the extra effort they have shown - sometimes during analysis i help the children and they end up with a superior game - I dont offer the solutions merely give them a hint and ask them to find it , if they cant then i give them a few choices and explain the benefits of each variation then say ok you choose.

The little sods of course pick the best option which is great and sometimes that training of the brain in analysis shows up in a game and it all seems worthwhile.

Anyway just some freewriting from me bye for now!

George Howard

FM_Bill
27-03-2006, 03:47 PM
Openings are the easiest phase for the student to study on their own. Coaches are better off concentrating on the middlegame and endgame.

Also a lot of average players have fallen into the trap of studying lots of opening theory when the rest of the game needs work.

Having said that, I find a good way of teaching openings is to combine them with tactics, i.e. opening traps.

qpawn
27-03-2006, 04:01 PM
I am no chess coach and never will be.

But I will put it this way. It is very, very easy to get a repertoire in the opening that at club level will avoid getting into trouble. Now, it might not include the best moves and it won't be anything near GM level :eek: Anyone who has read a few books over the years could teach someone who knew absolutely nothing about the openings, and the process would take 15 minutes at most. If I were, god forbid, ever a coach of anyone I would spend the first 15 minutes teaching the openings. Then that would be all the opening teaching I ever did with them. The middlegame and endgame are far, far more important. I think coaching anyone should be 75% endgame, 20% middlegame and 5% opening. But that's a very unfashionable ratio of either coaching or self-teaching. :(

Carl Gorka
27-03-2006, 10:38 PM
I would agree with the majority who have already said in one form or another that tactical study is of most benefit to students, of all ages. Besides that, general principles of chess can be taught in a number of ways such as looking at endgames to see the specific nature of an individual piece's power, or looking at middlegame positions which may demonstrate a certain pawn formation etc. Studying certain positions from openings and a little theory from those openings can also demonstrate some general principles. For example, you could look at some lines in the French Advanced to demonstrate pawn chain theory, or look at the Tarrasch to demonstrate how to play with/against an isolated queen's pawn. Or even use the Exchange Spanish to see how 2 bishops compensate for a worse pawn structure. These are fairly advanced things, but the point is that using certain openings can develop a students ideas in general chess terms.

Disclaimer: beginners should learn a few basic opening principles and get their game generally up to scratch before getting onto this.

Spiny Norman
28-03-2006, 06:39 AM
Openings are the easiest phase for the student to study on their own. Coaches are better off concentrating on the middlegame and endgame.
I agree. I have had a year's worth of coaching now and have improved my skills/performance considerably as a result. My coach has not talked at all about the opening, other than to point out that I should be aiming to control the centre and develop my pieces. His entire focus has been on middle game and end game: tactical themes mostly early on (different checkmate patterns and so on), pins, skewers, etc etc ... then some endgame stuff (pawn structures, opposition, rook endings ... then some positional play (knight vs bishop, the two bishops, more pawn structure, etc).