The Rebellious Rooks
This post comes after a really long time. This is because school has been busy and so have the kids, who were engaged in exams.
Over this time though, a lot has occurred. Two of the kids played a zonal tournament and returned with surprising results. One of them made it to the top of West Zone in the Boy's category before losing out in the finals and finally finishing third. The student competing in the girl's category finished second overall. Even thought the results were encouraging, some good practices weren't followed, this included noting down their moves. As a result, the class was informed about the importance of noting down games and analysing them. They were also warned that such practices won't be tolerated next time.
The two kids have set a good example for their class mates to pursue, but this comes at a time when people in their school are opposing their increasing devotion to chess. On one side, the kids exclaim with joy that we spend our free time playing chess (I need to curb this habit, playing itself doesn't amount to much) and on the other hand they complain that the school tries to stop them. I guess the school is right in the aspect that simply playing doesn't serve much purpose.
Things in the class have moved forward. I have now provided them with a very basic algorithm to find the right move(based on the book Imagination in Chess). Some of you might pounce on me, but I think it is appropriate given the level of understanding they are at. The algorithm is as follows:
1) Study the position:
This includes counting material and seeing where your pieces are placed. They just follow the general rule of thumbs for this part. Rook on open files, knights in the center, castled king.
2) Think about candidate moves and find atleast 3 moves you think would work.
3) Evaluate each move and remove those which spoils your position.
4) Play the move which finally remains.
I am pretty sure that this process still has gaps in it. But I want to inculcate a habit of following a process in them. That way they can have much more structured and organized thoughts. In the past two classes, I had given them a couple of problem positions to practice this algorithm. Some kids grasped onto it immediately while some struggled. After a few more sessions, I am planning on giving them a timed test of 40 positions to solve that involve simple 2-3 moves tactical sequences. Hopefully, that will jog things a bit.
Until next time. Adieu.