Member Mailbag Submissions: Bruce Pandolfini


Post questions for NM Pandolfini's mailbag column here.


Various opening repertoires that can eventually be played at very high levels.


When you come across someone who is just terrible who asks for some "pointers" what do you point to first?


Which time control is preferable to check & learn openings? I get the feeling bullet is too fast to learn anything but when would you recommend blitz games?


Many tactics books, suggest that you must solve the puzzles directly from the book, others that you must use a board, without moving the pieces. What method do you suggest to your students? Thanks


i understand the topic is "chess teaching".  what are your thoughts on the subject?  (you're welcome  ;-)


MKO_44 My thoughts on chess teaching? I'd be much more interested in hearing yours.


My comment above is actually pretty commonplace. I run a small chess club and at least every few months someone comes in who says something like "I've been playing chess since high school (looks about 10 years ago) and I can't seem to make any progress." So I ask them to play so I can see what they're doing and the game goes most often like this: 1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 h6....and in ten moves they are either down tons of material or mated. I start going over the game from  memory and by the time I get to the position above, they think I'm some kind of brainiac genius who can repeat moves from memory. I usually just go over some pointers on development, weak squares and such but they look completely overwhelmed. What does one do with someone this in the dark?


Mr. Pandolfini,


I have two questions:

How does one teach children (or any student) to formulate plans in chess?

How does one get a chess program started in local schools?


Correction... I have three questions.

What methods have you found most effective at increasing children's stamina so they can endure longer chess games without losing focus.


Hi Bruce,

I often try to get friends and family into chess, and I've found that resignation is very uncommon with beginners, they end up getting frustrated which often leads to lack of interest.

Do you have any tips of how to play with much lower skilled players to encourage interest? I don't want to mock them with dumb moves or switch the board around when I start winning.

Also, with an absolute beginner how do you start? Just telling them the pieces and beginning a game?



Hello, Bruce.   We knew each other at the Manhattan Chess club.  I just wanted to say hello and hope you are doing well.  I also wanted to mention that your character was horribly miscast in Searching for Bobby Fischer and they would have done much better letting you play yourself.