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Subject: Training for Beginners/Intermediate

I'm about to start a chees traing club for the U19 team at my school - all the players are beginners/intermediate standard (approx. 1100-1400 rating) with little tournament experience or basic opening/endgame knowledge. Are there any other players who have done this kind of thing before? If so, some tips would be really useful.

Thanks, Matt



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Let's see....

Well, I have never actually done a great deal of coaching of new players, but there are a few basics which I always think are vital to beginners of this game:

1) Pawn structure - if you get this right, endgames are more often won. I find that looking at a position with all the pieces removed often highlights the weaknesses in the opposing position.

2) Don't rush. many players when they are learning think that you must always be attacking the opponents king - as we all know, this isn't the case.

There are really too many important aspects to this game to be able to give much advise.

I think the main thing is to get them playing as much as possible and get them enjoying playing. If they enjoy it, then they will be keen to learn and your job gets much easy.

Best of luck



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I did this several years ago

when my son was still in school. Be prepared to invest a lot of energy!
First thing, make sure everybody understands ALL the rules of chess. It saves a lot of hassles later on if everybody knows how to castle and when it can be done. Same with capturing en passant.
Second, have a clear understanding of what the in-house rules are going to be for the club. If you're aiming to take these kids to tournaments, you might as well enforce the touch-move rule from the first. Same with writing down moves. If you get too much grief about these, you might back down at times, but the rules should apply most of the time.
I had good luck trying to teach one tactical or endgame idea each club meeting, showing a couple of examples. Anymore than that and the noise level got out of control (these were pretty young kids). I always had some hand-outs for them to take home and try out on their own, but only if they wanted to. No tests or homework they had to hand back in. And then I let them play at whatever time limit they wanted. We did a very informal three or four round tournament at the end of each semester.
Oh, and I always tried to have another adult in the room with me to help monitor the noise, aggression, silliness, rules explanation, flying pawns, etc. Good luck! ws



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A good online resource is...




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offering my assistance

I might add that there are likely many higher-rated players here on GK, including myself, that would be more than willing to play a game with some of your trainees and offer insight into their play and our own.

Additionally, you might post some of the games here, and have GK players comment upon them. I can almost guarantee that we as a whole can give some good thought into key moves, good or bad, and what moves might be better. Or general tactics, strategy, etc., etc., etc., as has been clearly demonstrated on other threads where GK members have commented on.

Good luck, and though I don't know you I appreciate your efforts in educating others in this fascinating and beautiful game we play.

p.s. Pretty sure I speak for most of us, welcome to GameKnot!



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Keep it Simple

I have also tried to train some of the less experienced kids on my high school team. Echoing what has been said before. You should start by making sure everyone understands the rules and chess notation. The latter is especially helpful because it makes going over games with students much easier than having to say "move the knight two squares to the left of the bishop" or "move that rook one square to left". Once that's done, you want to keep things slow and simple. There may be a few who will learn quickly and can be fed more advanced ideas. But you want to look at opening principles (development, castling), hanging pieces, and checkmate to start with. You don't want to start exposing these kids to things like pawn structure or endgame technique until they have mastered the basics. Then, start with some basic openings (I find that for students with no previous experience, 1. d4 is the easiest to play because there is less opening theory and, because play tends to be less tactical, they can play more by the principles they have been taught. This allows them to explore concepts like control of the center or quick development) and basic endgames (K+P vs K).

In addition, playing over both their own games (which is why iit is important to teach them notation) and annotated GM games is another great way to help them early on. They can see where they went wrong and can start to examine the ideas of stronger players.

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