Teaching Chess

Sep 24, 2016, 2:22 PM |

This summer, I had the pleasure to tutor a middle schooler (grade 7) not in Math or Science but in Chess! He knows the rules of chess but has never played competitively. Therefore it was my job to not only teach him strategy but also to convince him to continue playing. I also realized that teaching chess helps improve in the long run- I feel more confidence in my chess games.




Here are the overview of my lessons. (14 weeks long, an hour each)




1.      Week 1 (May 25) Introduction, reminder of how pieces move (especially en passant), We also went over Basic Checkmates:

  •   Back-rank checkmates
  •   Blackburne’s checkmates
  •   Lolli’s mate
  • Qd3+Bb1 attacking h7 against Castled King checkmate

Basic Endgames

  •   K + Q vs K
  •   K + R vs K


2.      Week 2 (June 1)

Worked on more checkmates

  • Boden’s Mate
  •  Andersson’s Mate
  •   Harder Back-rank checkmates including those on the Queenside


Simple Chess Openings – explained why it is good to start with King pawn openings.

Endgames – how to promote the basic winning position in K+P vs K

Got my student to make an account on chess.com (so I can view games and give feedback), chesskid.com and introduced chesstempo for tactics.



3.      Week 3 (June 8) Victor Korchinoi tribute (a legendary chess grandmaster that passed away recently)

 Instructive Game analysis and commentary on Tatai – Korchinoi (1978, French Defense Exchange)

Tactic of the day: Alekhine – Reshevsky (1937). Motif: Back rank mate + Luring the King to an unpleasant square.

Introduced chesstempo.com as a website that allows unlimited tactics for free.



4.      Week 4 (June 15)

Relative Value of Pieces

Overview of number of Attackers vs Defenders. Rule taught: If number of Attackers > Defenders, then Attacker wins. If Attackers <= Defenders, then Defenders win.

Game Analysis from chess.com, went over mistakes and general gameplay.

Concept: the power of having 2 Rooks on the 7th rank.


5.      Week 5 (June 22)

Review of Value of Pieces, as well as number of Attackers vs Defenders.

Introduced Pins, Forks, Skewers, Discovered Checks.

We discussed about entering a chess tournament (Time control was Rapid 15|5, single day, unrated, 5 rounds)


  •   Bxf7/…Bxf2 ideas in the opening (where it is only protected by King)
  •   Greek Gift Bxh7/…Bxh2 ideas against Castled King.



6.      Week 6 (June 29)

Personal Game Analysis from 2 of the games played in Chess.com. Special focus on Missed Opportunities, Tactics and overall game plan. 



7.      Week 7  (July 6)

Personal Game Analysis from 2 of the games played in Chess.com. Special focus on Missed Opportunities, Tactics and overall game plan.(Again, with 2 different games)



8.      Week 8 (July 13)

Instructive Game analysis and commentary on one of my favorite games of all time: Louis Paulsen – Paul Morphy (1858). Concepts taught include:

  • l  Develop all your pieces before attacking
  •  Develop Knights before Bishops (general rule)
  •   Centre fork trick
  • Restrictive moves (12…Qd3 gives bind to the whole Queenside)
  • To Calculate before a sacrifice
  •  Create a mating net on exposed King instead of relentlessly checking




9.      Week 9 (July 23)

Solving Tactics from a chessbook.

Personal Game Analysis from a game played in Chess.com. Special focus on Missed Opportunities, Tactics and overall game plan.




10.   Week 10 (July 30)

Chess Openings to prepare for tournament (held later that day). Focus on 1.e4

  •   Against 1.e4 e5, play 2.Nf3, 3.Nc3
  •   Advance French (good thing we went over, one opponent played the French)
  •   Advance Caro-Kann
  •   Open Sicilian, with Bc4 (Fischer-Sozin setup)


As Black, my student chose to play 1.e4 e5, 1.d4 d5 (Queen’s Gambit Accepted), 1.Nf3 d5, and 1.c4 e5 (Hoping for reversed Sicilian)




11.   Week 11 (Aug 5)

Solved Tactics from a chess book.

Learned to critically analyze a position that my student composed! i.e. Plans to attack, which pieces are targets etc.

Understands what it means to take the initiative (to make a move that forces opponent to react in a certain way) in a chess game. This includes understanding the importance of checks, captures and checkmate threats.


12.   Week 12 (Aug 12)

Solved Tactics from a chess book.

Introduced Zugzwang, the art of forcing opponent to unwillingly move. Examples include pawn endgames, and Morphy’s composition on this concept (1.Ra6!!)



13.   Week 13 (Aug 17)

Solved Tactics from a chess book.

Introduced Zwischenzug, the in-between move/check. Examples are combined with knowledge from Pins/Skewers/Forks/Discovery Checks.

  Albin Counter Gambit example that uses in-between check.

Student also learned underpromotion as a way to get better position/ avoid stalemating opponent.


14.   Week 14 (Aug 24)

Student learned how to write chess moves. I dictated Robert James Fischer – Samuel Reshevsky (1958, Open Sicilian, Accelerated Dragon) and student wrote down the moves.

Now student should be ready to read any modern chessbook/ receive chess instructions online.


 The games are copy-pasted from chessgames, so they are not my analysis. Thank you for time. Also, I am planning to make myself available for Coaching/Game Analysis for both Online or Offline(must live locally), so please let me know if interested.