Here we are not talking about percentages where 99% is considered as almost too good, to be true. In Chess even 99% is a fail mark as chess results largely depend on either checkmating your opponent or getting checkmated yourself. So how to strengthen your win-switch to 100% result? It all depends on your inner store of willpower. Here are 7 Willpower tips to Maximize winning chances in chess – When Close enough is not Good enough
The other scenario is where you can draw the game either by reaching a draw position – or agreeing to a draw. But we are not talking about that here.
The APA defines willpower this way:
- Willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.
- Willpower allows us to ignore unwanted thoughts, feelings or desires.
1. Commit to a goal at the outset.
Tightrope yourself with a shoestring so that you cannot have a free way with your temptations. Make sure that you are plugging all those temptation-pulls so that you are riding with your brakes released. In other words temptations and diversions are like a brake applied constantly while driving your car. Get the picture?
It won’t stop you completely, but it will make it harder to move away from your goals.
For example, buy a book instead of downloading it online. That way your conscience will not allow you to give it a pass. You will sit down to read it since you paid for it with your heard-earned cash.
Or carry only a fixed amount of cash with you when you’re on a tight rope budget, and leave your credit cards at home, thereby preventing you from making ‘that impulsive purchase’.
in my own experience as example, a relative of mine felt she was going to the movies too frequently. To counter that, I told her to calculate all the money spent on the tickets and popcorn and when she saw that they amounted to a lot she stopped going to the movies that frequently. By showing the total picture she saw the absurdity of her habits and now she is spending the saved money on useful books that are much needed to increase her expertise.
2. Meditate every day.
Preferably in the morning. It is one of the most difficult-to-start regimen, but once started it will help you so much that you begin to wonder – ‘what was I doing all these years without this essential habit’?
I know that it may seem like a waste of time which could have been spent reading the newspaper or going to sleep an extra 15 minutes but that is just your mind trying to avoid anything that tames it.
Read this tip from Headspace – an U.S. study found that people who meditated daily experienced improved willpower and focus. The researchers found that “those who practiced meditation on a daily basis persisted on tasks longer and made fewer task pullouts, as well as reducing negative feedback after task completion.”
So instead of reaching for your mobile phone or tablet, first thing in the morning and checking all your chats or messages, try spending 15 minutes meditating and reap the benefits of willpower training.
Although it looks simple, sitting still in a yogic posture like Padmasana or Sukhasana, and watching your thoughts in motion is difficult. But the benefits of meditating extend beyond the 15 minutes of quiet every morning. Meditating keeps the mind calm and focused.
3. Exercise regularly.
Cesar Milan training with a dog
If you watched Ceaser Milan’s ‘Dog Whisperer‘ where he documents his dog-training techniques (if you haven’t watched yet shame on you 🙂 ) you must have seen that he first removes all the negative pent up energy in a ferocious dog by taking him/her to a brisk walk or a run.
I remember how he even used one particular dog as a skateboard puller) and the dogs seemed to like it every bit.
What happened after that was that the dogs became calm and obedient after the exercise.
Now what transpired in this effort was that all the energy overflow was tamed by that run and the dog became submissive and calm after that exercise.
Its the same with the human mind.
Going to the gym not only strengthens your body muscles but also your willpower.
4. Get a good night’s sleep.
I use a fitness tracker that comes cheap at amazon. It is called Mi fit (or Mi Band in some countries). What it does is to measure your sleep pattern and tell you how much of deep sleep and light sleep you have had every night. This helps in determining what you are missing.
A deep sleep of more than 1 hour is recommended and if you are falling short try improving it.
A good night’s sleep* provides you with the much-needed mental and physical energy to make it through the upcoming day’s events. If you miss out on your regular dosage of sleep, you’ll feel lethargic and your willpower would become weak. In fact, a lack of sleep can result in impaired reflex action speed and an inability to think clearly.
One study found that this fatigue-impaired state is equivalent to being drunk. So imagine what it can do to your chess!
“Proper rest improves our self-control power and provides a good environment for the brain to function,”
Ryan Clements writes. “Rest reduces the body’s need for glucose, and it allows the body to make better use of what we have.”
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, I suggest moving away from laptop/PC/Mobile screens and reading a paperback book. I do something different – I listen to some heavy meta-physical lectures that make me go to sleep in no time 🙂 But before doing anything make sure you are in bed and almost ready to doze off!
The light from these screens disturbs our body’s circadian rhythm, making our sub-conscious think that it’s daytime when in reality it is time for the sleep.
*A good night’s rest normally means getting seven to eight hours of shut-eye for an adult.
And if this is not sufficient here is one additional benefit from Chess point of view – Good night’s sleep strengthens memory.
5. Eat a healthy nutritious meal
Low glucose levels = weaker willpower. A study revealed that participants who were not fed or did not eat well prior to starting a project gave it up halfway, much earlier than their fully-fed compatriots.
“To keep (your willpower) high, eat regular meals that are full of protein and good carbohydrates, like a sandwich of lean meat and cheese packed between two slices of whole-wheat bread,” Stephanie Booth writes in Real Simple. “And never start a challenging task on an empty stomach.”
Starting each morning with a hearty meal gives your willpower a much needed boost. Small ideas help like the consumption of dry fruit snack such as almonds, walnuts and cashews, and yogurt to maintain high energy levels. Have them either one hour before or after your meals.
Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at Florida State University, in Tallahassee, and the author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength ($28, amazon.com).
6. Anticipate bottlenecks
It is a given that in all pursuits there will be bottlenecks with your plans. We must assume that roadblocks and diversions will come up and that your motivation may go for a toss when they do. So if you’re having such experiences remember to keep your cool and prepare for them way ahead in advance. Having a fallback makes it more likely that you’ll accomplish your aims.
Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist based in Northern California and a coauthor of Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows From Conception to College (~ $26, amazon.com).
7. Read books on the mind and its secrets – (especially for parents of chess playing children)
One of the most influential books about children ever published, Nurture Shock offers a radical perspective on children that tosses a library’s worth of conventional wisdom. Why are kids – even those from the best of homes – still undisciplined and aggressive? The answer is found in a rethinking of parental conflict, discipline, television’s unexpected influence, and social dominance.
The authors of Nurture Shock – Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman‘s New York Magazine articles on the science of children won the magazine journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications. Their articles for Time Magazine won the award for outstanding journalism from the Council on Contemporary Families. Bronson has authored five books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller What Should I Do With My Life?
The author Anshu Jain is a chess coach at Golden Chess Centre, Nanganallur, Chennai. He is available for Chess training and is an expert in Digital Chess training techniques. When he is not teaching Chess he likes to learn computer languages.
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Recently I came across a two year old child and after observing his daily activities, I was amazed what we can learn from him. Here is the list of practical tips, that I learnt from him – the 6 Things Chess players can learn from 2 year old baby! Chess playing is a habit which once made will not be easy to quit. Because, apart from playing in tournaments you can also play online with the other players, not only from your own country, but also can the whole World.
Being a chess player is in itself a big achievement, because very few people in the world have the playing acumen and skill needed for Chess.
You can learn the tactics of Chess from your daily life activities like, say while watching TV or watching movies; all it needs is just a keen sense of observation, that is all!
6 Things Chess players can learn from 2 year old baby
1. Never ever complain.
Have you ever observed a two-year-old child going about his daily routines? If anything, he’ll never complain. Wait… you’ll say that he can cry, but that is not complaining! He is only expressing his emotions by either laughing or crying. The same thing we can do in our chess growth process – that is we can take all our responsibilities for our losses (and wins) on our shoulders. So that we never complain about any shortcomings or bad luck, for lack of success in Chess. Friends, no one is going to spoon-feed you, even a good coach will not want to do this – he will and must, guide you. The rest is your own work. So be a responsible person and keep concentrating on your goal of better chess.
2. Just One Target.
A two-year-old child has just one target – once he/she asks for anything, then come-what-may, that ‘thing’ is the most wanted object for him. When you started playing chess, what was your target and what was your dream? Remember that, all the time. There is an Indian mythological tale in the Mahabharata (a revered lore in Indian tradition), when the famous teacher Guru Dronacharaya asked his best desciple Arjuna, what he was seeing when he ordered him to attack the target with his arrow. Arjuna answered coolly – “the only thing I am seeing is the sparrow’s eye”. The same thing is also applicable for our chess pursuits. Single minded focus.
3. Addicted to the Mother.
A child has the greatest bonding with his/her Mother, if he/she can feel her touch or her voice, then he is at peace. The same affection will have to be there for your Chess training! Yes, you will have to love the game if you want to succeed in your Chess. Chess is all about dedication and passion and the only person to succeed in this, is one who has the passion, minus the stress.
4. Fixed Time schedule.
A child has fixed timing for getting up early in the morning, taking food at a fixed time and then sleeping at the fixed time. If you don’t have time for your chess training, then you are not going to make any progress, which you were thinking at the start of learning chess. This is all about doing the same thing daily – and – finally one day you become the expert in any field. There is one good saying – “to become an expert in any field you need to put in just 10000 hours of intense practice”. Do it daily and see the leap in your performance after 6 months.
5. One baby-step at a time.
Have you noticed how a child is always living in the present moment? The child only takes one small baby step at a time, and does not crave for immediate success in whatever he wants. If he observes a toy in the far end of the room, he does not run. He takes whatever is possible in small steps towards that toy, and goes with a one-minded focus. That is how we must be in our chess preparation and training. Small steps are needed daily. Science has proved that anything done on a daily basis for 3 days in a row becomes a habit and if you start small it is easier to create a habit.
6. No Worries, no Tensions.
A small child doesn’t have any worries, like when to eat or how to eat etc. You should also not have any worries whether you can achieve mastery or not. At Golden Chess Centre, we ask parents and the students, not to look at the results. The game quality is what the coach looks into, not the game points. In Chess, results depend on just the one last mistake and if the student keeps training persistently in a disciplined way, even that mistake will be removed by sheer dint of hard work. Let not success excite you, or failure pull you down.
When the players see that they are not able to win a particular opponent then they go into a QUITTING mindset. Quitting is a very easy thing. But my principal of life says – “WINNERS NEVER QUIT AND QUITTERS NEVER WIN.”
By Ashok Jain
Ashok Jain is a life coach at Golden Chess Centre, Nanganallur, in his spare time when he finds his work needs a time off.
Golden Chess Centre conducts regular training sessions for dedicated and upcoming chess players in Nanganallur, Madipakkam, Adambakkam, Moovarasampet, Kilkattalai, Kovilambakkam, Puzhuthivakkam, Ullagaram and Pazhavanthangal – Chennai, as well as online sessions for those players who live out of Chennai.
When Priorities and Desires Change.
Have you ever wanted something really bad and after some time, not so much?
When we were just children we had many small desires like buying a comic, a doll or a toy, and we nagged our parents really bad. As teenagers, we wanted to be highly popular and admired by all, an intensity that you may all still retrieve when you see your child doing the same or see your old school pics. Sure enough this desire to be popular, starts to ebb by the beginning of college years. So my thoughts started on what to do When Priorities and Desires Change. How to understand yourself ? How best to aim our desires in a positive direction and focus especially in the game we all love so much – Chess?
So yeah, our desires and their importance fade with time. For example, I am sure as teens, we day-dreamed about a fabulous looking partner. Then came the desire for passionate and intense partners. Even this disappears, albeit to muffled tones at times. Isn’t it a funny thing to talk about when we discuss the way our desires shift or diminish with time?
Flash News – Empire Chess is offering a huge discount on digital and hard copies! Make sure you get the deals while they last.
When Priorities and Desires Change.
Desire may be hugely interpreted as the push and pull of hormones and that is a conception that many of us have been having for a long time. However in due course of time, people understand that their lives are defined by striving for excellence, when we see other successful people and wish we had done something worthwhile when there was still time. Not that we have any shortage of time now but then at age 30 or 40 the enthusiasm fades off for the majority of us.
Everything happens in auto pilot mode and we enter the cocoon of routine.
Additionally, there is another problem that we as chess players, face. We have always wanted to be skillful at many things. We climb up the rating ladder. And after working hard to achieve some chess expertise, we have something called ‘stagnation’ creeping in. We now stop engaging in the activities as such, and this makes me wonder if we would have loved the process as much equally, as if the success we found, was easier to attain. I am also guilty of such stagnations in my life and it takes a great effort to come out of it alone.
Does desire equals a love for the process, for the journey or the attainment of the goal?
With things we never had, it’s harder to find out whether the desire will reduce with time, but core desires are much akin to the desire for love and happiness than the desire to master a skill, which is less of the heart and more of the mind matter – controlled by conscious thinking.
When asked during an interview how he managed to reach the top as a professional Chess Grandmaster, Botvinnik replied with a single word, “Desire!”
All great success ultimately begins with just a small idea, a seed, so to speak, but what makes ideas become reality, is the fuel of human desire. Just an idea alone can give you a temporary feeling of inspiration, but a burning wanting desire is what gets you through all the perspiration necessary to overcome the numerous obstacles along the path.
One secret to overcome stagnation is Clarity – or – refinement of desires. This comes from contrasting experiences, so if you want more clarity, invite more of the new by embracing and accepting new experiences. This is especially crucial for people in their teens and 20s. Your brain learns a lot from experience. If you lack any new experience, then how can your brain know its most important calling? Of course it cannot — you need to train it more.
How are you supposed to discover your favorite hobbies if you do the equivalent of doing just one chore every day? How are you going to discover your favorite food(s) if you are eating the same diet, every single day?
So my suggestion to you when Priorities and Desires change is – do anything and everything if it’s totally new to you.
Like playing a blitz game if you have never played it before or playing a slow time control if you not done it earlier.
The benefit is that you’ll give your brain a lot of experiences to compare and contrast. This will help you choose and fix your tastes.
Then the desire to learn will be long lasting and new everyday, every time.
Rethink about the ambitions/goals you’ve set for yourself. (You have set goals, haven’t you? If not, then do set them first). Before fixing your priorities and goals answer the following and act accordingly:
- How committed are you to achieving these targets?
- Under what conditions would you call it quits?
- What if you could significantly increase your desire to achieve these targets?
- What if you wanted them so badly that you would never ever give up chasing those targets?
When you are truly 100% committed to attaining your targets/goals, you move from doubt to knowing for sure. If you want something really bad, then quitting is simply out of your mind.
You either discover a way or make your own path to reach there. You are ready to pay the price, whatever it takes to reach your destination.
Some hugely inspiring books that have motivated me on my path –
The author Kish Kumar is a trainer and Coach at Golden Chess Centre. He can be contacted via his Facebook page.
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Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Genrikh Kasparyan is a power-packed tome of chess positions in the endgame that show us what real chess ability is all about. A statutory word of caution to readers – this book is for serious chess players only – not for beginners or those who have a cursory interest in chess. That aside, welcome to the land of mysticism in the chess planet.
Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Ghenrikh Kasparyan
is a true treasure trove of many of the greatest chess compositions by various authors, including Kasparyan himself. – well organized and presented. No other book even comes close to its level of organization by topics such as ‘two minor pieces trap a Rook’ or ‘two Rooks trapping a Queen’ so that you can look up specific scenarios according to which game play is involved.
I remember as a kid I was forced by my coach to go through some fancy endgame positions (later I came to know that they were called as ‘studies’. He would ask me to look at the positions for 3-5 minutes and eventually (impatient as he was to ignite my interest) he showed the answers to me. It did a lot to boost my imagination and I was hooked thereafter to Chess studies.
Each one of the 2545 positions is packed with chess wisdom and offers valuable tips on how to force your opponent to lose material. Many positions that would be considered a draw in tournament play by average players, are shown as winning, with stunning calculated moves leading to a win (or a draw in hopeless positions) with the dramatic sequence of moves to capture of one or more of the opponent’s pieces.
Some hopelessly lost positions will be shown as drawn or winning! Armed with this knowledge you will gain many new insights. You will realize that chess is not all about rules or mathematics. It is also an art of the highest order.
This book will throw your self-limiting beliefs out of your mind.
geometry of the chess board
If one analyses deeply the best works of outstanding ‘studies’ composers such as Troitsky, Reti, Averbakh, Platov, Kubbel, Rinck and others, one will deepen the knowledge of the geometry of the chess board. This is what is also known as ‘board vision. The greater the familiarity of each square’s correlation with other squares (and the effect of a piece on that square) the better will your strategy be.
If you have never seen a chess study you will be dazzled by one. Get ready to see Chess positions in a new light! So let’s start with one of my favorites:
Interference, in anything but chess, is considered impolite.
White to play.
I know that the above position may appear to be simple for most of you but that was for the starters!
I remember being entranced as a kid by a few Reti studies in this book, especially a few of those where a Knight dominated a Bishop on a somewhat empty board – funnily the bishop could not find a good square to move! Take a good look at the Reti studies if you choose to buy it.
You might wonder – why are endgame studies important for calculation training? Can we not learn the art of calculation by solving Mate in 2 or 3 movers? The answer lies here: In my personal experience – I myself have never got to like many problems as mate in two or mate in three – what difference does it make whether you mate your opponent in two moves or three? But endgame studies are another matter.
Not only do they create a sense of curiosity, but they are also useful in training you to think along different lines that might come up in your games and honing your calculating abilities by making you think about your opponent’s resources and more importantly making you think out of the box.
An IM who is a good friend of mine told me that he rose in the elo ladder after finishing the Domination book not once but twice! And most of his opponents fell into his traps that he learnt from this very same book!
My mileage was different. Domination will not make you a better player overnight. I was able to implement a few lessons only after a few months of looking up the Domination book. It takes some time as this is not your run-of-the-mill stuff. This one will embed in your chess psyche slowly but surely.
No wonder many books refer to Kasparian as as the greatest Russian composer!
Next article in this regard will be my review of Dvoretsky’s Studies for Practical Players – a hidden gem that needs to be brought to the limelight and which will be a worthy companion to the Domination book.
Check out this book Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies here!
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Chess Informant – the esoteric art of learning chess – hacking your chess brain. Why esoteric? Because it was not known publicly till now. And why hacking? Because we are using action instead of passive knowledge. And why are using this book to hack our chess training? Read more…
For whom is this article useful: For aspiring chess players with a penchant to learn new techniques. Not for the beginners and children below 7 years. Also for coaches who believe in trying new techniques.
Why only Chess Informant books: Any good book will do but my experience with the Informant was first-hand so I can speak with confidence and honesty. Also I believe that they have an edge as they have only the fresh and latest games for every quarter publication.
What will you gain: You will save a lot of time. You will hack your learning technique to climb faster in the ELO ladder. These may not have been mentioned in any book, atleast none that I know of.
So let’s get started with the esoteric art of learning chess
If you are here reading my blog post, you are a chess player on the path of improvement (atleast not a non-chess player, since all chess, players like to learn to improve their game). In addition, if you have been in the chess field for some time, you must have come to know or heard about the word ‘Informant’ or ‘Informator’ in the Chess book scene. Chances are you might have even glanced at the book in a tournament stall and either took a few minutes to go through it by flipping a few pages, or looked at the pictures and thought that it was a niche book for a thoroughbred professional – who was up there in the 2500 rating range which you were/are not. You might have even thought of quitting chess, if this was what you were going to be taught when you became stronger.
How wrong and misinformed you could be, (or I was…) !?
However, I won’t blame you for this. That is the initial impression that I had too, when I saw it, some 18 years ago. So I must start with a revelation here.
My actual chess improvement started only after I had included the informant in my regular chess discussions and coaching classes, some 15 years ago – when I was aspiring to come to terms with not just the opening stages of the game, but almost everything that was problematic: my repertoire, my Strategy, my tactical skills and my endgames.
On hindsight, I am wondering why I did not look at this book when I started seriously researching about innovative chess training!
Here are my suggestions – Chess Informant – the esoteric art of learning chess :
1. People learn from mistakes and smart people learn from others’ mistakes.
Don’t make the same mistake as I did. Therefore, if you are a 1200 – 1500 player, I suggest you to look at these informant books with your trainer, in a way that suits your playing strength as outlined below.
I will be detailing my experiences with these informants and if you follow me you may be able to save some time and remove some misconceptions in the way.
2. Myth – Too many variations and diagrams that look like a PhD thesis submission.
First, take a deep breath. And do as I say.
Look at the diagrams one by one. Now look at the move printed below it. Usually this move would be given a symbol of either a ‘!!’ or a ‘!’ or in rare cases a ‘!?’. That is where the fun starts. Go to a real chessboard and stick up the position as you see it in the diagram. DO NOT worry about the game or annotations for now. Fire your brain’s neurons and understand why that move was considered GM class. This is where a good coach comes in.
Warning: When I first did so, I made the mistake of looking at the diagrams and then blindly looked at the continuation given in the book. And I thought that was enough. I was partially right – since I was initially learning at a rapid pace. Then when I hit a wall I came back and chewed the positions again, this time slowly.
3. The secret on how to really juice up the esoteric chess knowledge from such diagrams:
They will measure your understanding over a period of time. I found that these diagrams were there for a purpose, but not all the explanations given in the book will help you.
It depends on your chess understanding or rating range.
In fact, there are no verbal explanations; only moves and these moves only skimmed the surface of the chess ocean. They were/are like a guidepost for the reader – to help him when he re-visited the book, after a period of time. In my case, I remember I found one strange fact EVERY single time I revisited the diagram:
I was able to see NEW layers of Chess wisdom each time I saw these diagrams.
The secret was that I got to see a new facet of chess knowledge every time I saw these diagrams. It was as though, whenever I added knowledge to my brain my eyes were endowed with special vision lenses. I could see a new layer of hitherto hidden information portrayed in these diagrams, whenever my brain absorbed stuff and my knowledge increased.
Words will not be able to describe this phenomenon, but you will understand where I am coming from, when you sit down and do as I did. In your case, I suggest a revisit after 2-4 months. You will notice that the diagrams speak a new language after such hiatus.
4. Listen to the book and the positions, at first. Each position is a story by itself.
Now when you do read the moves succeeding the diagram you will notice that they do not always mention what you discovered on your second sitting or third sitting. At best, they will tell you what is obvious initially, atleast for an approximately 1900 + rated player to see. And that, is because if they catered to all rating ranges then they would miss the quality of analysis.
5. One size cannot fit all. It is up to us to choose what we want from the ocean of chess treasure.
In other words if you are a 2000 ELO player reading these Informants you will not see the diagrams similar to the way a 1500 rated player sees. To explain it further – If you are rated say 1500, just ask a 1200 player what he sees in any diagram. Almost invariably, he will say something that is elementary for you.
If you are stagnating in chess I suggest you to read my previous article – Secrets of Positional Chess
And if you need a dose of motivation for chess training – Separating the wood from the trees.
If you are interested in shoring up some hidden techniques, practice the Chess Informant – the esoteric art of learning chess method.
And dig deep.
Any informant will do; for that matter, the more recent ones are better for many other purposes that will be outlined in the later articles. It depends on your chess understanding or rating range. Whatever be your strength or class you will get something of value.
The trick is to innovate your learning. So – hack your learning process with the Informant.
Order your copy of Chess Informant 126 here
Order your copy of Chess Informant 125 here
Order your copy of Chess Informant 124 here.
Order your copy of Chess Informant 123 here.
Order your copy of Chess Informant 122 here.
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or any experience to share, I am always willing to hear them. My email is ‘chessgolden’ at the rate of Gmail dot com.
*****Empire Chess is offering a huge discount on digital and hard copies! Make sure you get the deals while they last.
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What I have experienced as a Chess coach observing the process of ‘UNDERSTANDOING’
Yes you read it right. It is not a typo and it stands for doing things right by understanding them first. I would like to share my experience from the Chess Coach’s perspective in coaching juniors, who are improving rapidly. They are also getting positively addicted to the game. I have been varying my training methods to ensure that the interest levels are sustained for a long time and compared to when I started some 8 years back, made some observations and corrections vis-a-vis my coaching/training regimen.
I believe that at present I there is a good amount of involvement and drive in the children, and that is due to the different approach to remolding their thinking.
Let me hear from you if you have had any similar experience so that we may learn from it and benefit.
Here are my observations on what I think are important factors to be considered when coaching children:
Difference between children and adults:
What I have found is that there is a difference between juniors and adults in terms of interest areas.
Juniors are way too interested in competition and thrill, while adults like to arm themselves with concepts and have a learning approach to the game.
I have also found that children who do not have any thing forcibly thrust on them tend to do weaker than the children who have a fixed homework schedule. Not only fixed but studiously followed.
Some discipline is usually expected here.
From the Chess Coach’s perspective – Learning by teaching.
The Master and the student.
The meeting point when children sit with me is also not trivial (for me), in my experience. I have achieved a fulfillment when the entire class sits and contributes, rather than just the bright kids. In order to avoid this disparity I usually break down the position to make it digestible to the weaker or younger kids after having given everyone some time to think about a tactical position.
I make it a point to get a written answer rather than a verbal one as it helps maintain track of each and every kid while keeping the answer hidden as long as possible. And in the rarest cases when everyone falters in getting the right answer I follow the pattern of mental imaging and visual guiding.
There are a few kids who I consider as the brighter ones but they too sometimes fail to get the right answers after 10 minutes or so. In such cases two things happen.
- I take this opportunity to pamper a weaker player to perfect his answer if he somehow intuits the correct move but fails to see the follow-up continuation properly.
- My analogy is to see the chessboard like an eagle flying over it and approach any middlegame position after getting a grip on what actually is the problem in that position. This helps in understanding. I will divulge more about this method later.
Some books are great a must-read and learn to improve your chess.
At present I have a few good books going. To generate interest I usually start with 1000 Checkmate Combinations that brings the stronger players’ forward and also is not that difficult for the weaker players to rub shoulders. I do around 10-12 positions at most to kick-start the momentum.
Then I move into the Chess School Series by Ivaschenko that is quite a handful for the entire group.
It makes everyone sweat!
After 4-5 positions of great difficulty the weaker players get the hang of it and they start chipping in with their intuition guiding them now rather than brute force calculation.
The internal dialog starts and then understanding sinks in after the warm-up session, by solving 6-8 positions. It’s akin to the people with defective eyesight getting a sudden burst of clarity by using some corrective lenses.
My job here is to make them see the position in its entirety.
Tip for fellow chess coaches: –
Sometimes I have to get my thoughts in focus and need some warm-up myself to answer or refute the wrong variations. It is fun to see children catching my ruse; the stronger ones need to have proper visualization skills to see my ruse while the weaker ones don’t see it coming for a long time till they play it out manually!
Mistakes by stronger students:
I usually frown upon the ‘silly’ mistakes made by stronger players as it shows their weakest link in the chain. This area is where they will falter while in a tournament. In this regard girls are better than boys as they have a better discipline and understand the importance of good thinking habits. The books may vary – the orientation may vary but the mental self- discipline is something that I stress all students right from day one.
Then comes the playing part:
I make them play blitz and if the class strength is good they play a mini tourney. That way the session is lively and interesting. While they play I also remind them of the the “viewing from a higher vantage point” to separate the woods from the trees (‘see the chessboard like an eagle’ and ‘approach any middlegame position as a human’). That way they have a sense of satisfaction when they implement the tactics they have just recently learnt and it brings a big smile on my face.
My question to you is –
Should I allow take-backs and not enforce touch-piece rules while they are training? Also should there be a difference in this according to the strength of students?
Your comments are always welcome…
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