Joe Learns Chess The Outlaw Way
Zoltan Boros ©

Joe Learns Chess The Outlaw Way


How to Teach Chess Unconventionally at Square One

My company had the 1st Annual Cookout this last Thursday. We all were happy to spend the whole afternoon away from the office. Of course, hot dogs, burgers, veggie options and refreshments were all there. But there were also games!

As some were playing domino, corn-hole and bocce, I was promoting chess (just reminded them that the second book ever printed out in English language, back in 1474, was on chess).

Outlaw Rook by Zoltan Boros

We all had good time. At one point, one of my coworkers wanted me to teach him how to play chess from scratch. Here is how it went with an unconventional method that goes against what all teachers and primers have been doing since time eternal.

First, I asked him whether he can visualize four lines going through each square on the board, a vertical, a horizontal and two diagonals.

Rook and its lines of fire

I put Rook on the board swiping along the lines of force it is firing down its vertical and horizontal.

Rook attacks Pawn

Pawn is put on e7 now. I asked Joe if Pawn is in Rook's lines of fire? Yes, he confirms it (Re4 is attacking, Pe7 is under attack, it is a Relationship, the basic building block of power structure network chessmen build on the board).

Rook threatens to attack Pawn in one move

Next, Pawn put on b6. Is the Pawn under fire, that is, under Attack? Joe says no.

Hey ma, look, no hands! erm moves yet!

Without explaining how Rook moves, I ask Joe how Rook could possibly attack Pawn? (this is intent/purpose)

No hesitation from Joe, he moves Rook to b4 (quite naturally, he assumes Rook moves along the lines of fire). I ask him if there may be another way to attack? He plays Re4-e6.

The basic dynamics of chess has already set in place: threat of attack, attack, capture.

Now it is time to introduce Bishop. The pretty much same steps as explained above for the Rook follow.

And that is it. It takes 10 minutes for the simplest possible intro to chess. Joe is now ready to play a mini game, 2 Bishops against 2 Rooks. Whoever takes an opponent's piece first, wins.

2 Bishops vs 2 Rooks mini game

Next time, I am going to consider the merits of this mini game and what it teaches the beginner to set his blank slate chess mind right from the start!

tags: chess education, chess teaching, chess learning