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I have been a member of chess.com off and on fpr about 3 yrs. now. I have a problem I hope the community can help me with, I need to get better! Not just for me mind you, but for my oldest daughter, who was just diagnosed with Apperger's Syndrome. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it is a high functionong form of Autism. And she has fell in love with the game. And I want to be a worthy opponent for her. I don't have the time or money for a formal chess coach, but if someone was willing to maybe help with tactics, analyze a few games. Just generally be a mentor to this floundering Dad I and my Daughter would greatly appreciate it.
Here's a great reference: http://www.amazon.com/Chess-5334-Problems-Combinations-Games/dp/1884822312
Here's my background for what I'm advising you: I taught both my son and daughter to play chess from about the age of 2 1/2 and also coached them in track and field, soccer, basketball, skiing and tennis and they did quite well at this things and enjoyed them a lot while winning many kids awards for excellence. Also early experience with reading using the Freddie the pig children's novels. Both got sport scholarships and my son got an academic scholarship to an engineering school.
OK, the main thing is to always keep your sessions together brief and positive and to be as CONCRETE (rather than abstract) as possible. Use language to reinforce and highlight what's going on. For example: you're showing your daughter a game that ends in a smothered mate. So you set up the position with just the final move needing to be made by the knight. Then you move the position back a full move so now the queen check-sacrifice must be made; the opponent must capture the queen and then the knight smothered move is made . . . etc. etc.
If you find yourself getting tired or frustrated . . . give her a hug and quit the session immediately. What NOT to teach: don't teach "dead things" like memorizing moves . . . but rather fun things that carry a lesson. The Polgar Book linked above is probably the only resource you'd ever need (Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games)
Until much, much, much later Blitz and Bullet chess and all chess memorization such as "learning chess openings" is meaningless and hurts the beginner dramatically. Do the opposite. Study simple endgames and every possible checkmate pattern; pawn endgames; chess puzzles; chess tactics and get a book of short games such as those Brian Wall writes or Chernev's The 1,000 Best Short Games of Chess. For the two of you, learning to love the beauty of the game and your time together is the truly important thing and accomplishing that anything is possible.
General Intelligence is very helpful at chess. However, pattern recognition is equally so. PATIENCE and CURIOSITY are the two main chess virtues. Within those limiting parameters, like anything else the eventual result of one's attempts at chess mastery ultimately comes down to dedication and character . . . .
However, remember, it's just a game after all. So the enjoyment of chess is probably every bit as important as one's accomplishments at the game. Good luck
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