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When the Student Learns!!

Apr 24, 2014, 3:54 AM 1

I had chess practice yesterday with the elementary school children. Only three of them showed up, as the rest had other activities. We brought out two boards and I committed to a change in the lectures.

For the first several weeks we had looked at the Russian Defense (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6) as 'our' opening. They learned that things can get nasty very quickly in this opening, as the tension on the e pawns is so immediate. Yesterday I switched to the more classical response 2... Nc6, which of course opens the floodgates to all sorts of openings, including Ruy Lopez, Italian Game, Four Knights, etc etc. Their eyes opened up slightly at this point, when I showed them 2... Nc6. I said, "unlike the Russian Defense this move protects the e5 pawn..." That was enough for them to play their next game (which we always begin with the opening set) and discover new attacking possibilities. Already I could tell that new ideas were beginning to fill their minds.

While two of the players had it out over the board, I took the third aside to work on some exercises. He struggled for the first tries, but then his confidence grew and he began to 'plan ahead'.

If you edit the position of the dark square bishop by one diagonal the same idea isn't possible unless the black square bishop begins elsewhere...

Then I showed him another exercise, where the idea is to simply parry away an enemy knight using a bishop, then a rook, and then a knight. I showed him some key 'maneuvers' that these pieces use to deflect a knight, meaning that they take away the knight's advancing squares (which are four of the eight squares a knight can access).

Now the Rooks. Operating the same as bishops (moving in straight lines) but now on files and ranks, the rook requires a similar, but distinct manuever to parry a knight. Enjoy. The sweet perk about the Rooks here is that they don't really need to move from the back rank in order to stop the knight from reaching the 8th rank; they will just capture.

Now came the notorious Knight vs Knight, which proved difficult for him. And for good reason - the knights are the hardest piece to master, in my opinion, because they have such an awkward motion over the board. Moments after this I showed him the Knight's Tour, which shows how the knight can touch every square on the board in one pass. His mind was blown to say the least.

I hope you enjoyed our chess practice miniatures! Please comment or pose a question; we want our chess team to always learn.