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HELP - Books for Beginner??
I should start to train a group of kids age 8 to 12 at the beginning of September. Playing strength is almost equal. I would summarize their playing strength with "Few mistakes in the first half-move, understanding of very basic chess principles (development), no calculation of moves after their own first half-move.
I do have very, very few books for this level (for me as trainer and also for self-studies), so I would gladly appreciate any recommendations.
Thanks a lot,
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Zhuravliov "First steps" is a classic. Thought, probably not translated in english. Rarity in Russian and Latvian.
Anyway, when posting about books, one should mention what language is prior for you. As far as I see from your profile, German might be the first. But that's just a guess.
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.. no priority at all
regarding language. German, French, Englisch, Italien all is fine.
Russian is indeed a problem. With an alphanumeric notation I could at least understand diagramms and matches. I do know some great Russian books, translated in German for chess books from the former GDR.
I was planning to translate parts of the books for the kids anyway.
Thank you for your help, I will have a look for Zhuravliov.
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"A Guide to Good Chess" C.J.S.Purdy
"Winning Chess Stragety" - Seirawam
"Winning Chess Tactics" Seirawan
"Winning Chess Openings" Seirawan
"Winning Chess Endings" Seirawan
"Simple Winning Chess" Chris Baker
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Chess material for teachers
there are a couple of books for teachers - in german -
maybe you have a look, there might be some interesting material for you.
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I teach chess to kids in that age range, and I honestly think you're wasting time and money if you have them read whole books on chess, with the exception that a few 11 or 12 year olds might get through one. Their attention spans are *very* short, and you're right that they don't calculate their moves very much, if at all. Just getting kids not to hang pieces is a major acheivement. Consequently, if you're teaching them about space advantages or isolated pawns, you're going way over their heads. I suggest instead that you give them worksheets with 1 move checkmates, material gains and pins, forks, double attacks, etc. You're also going to have to spend a lot of time getting them to recognize the difference between checkmate and stalemate; and it can be quite a struggle to explain to some of them why you never take the king. So, keep your goals small and modest:
Teach checkmate with the following progression:
1. Two Rooks and a King vs King.
2. Queen and King vs King.
3. Rook and King vs King.
Teaching your kids those three things (along with how to recongize hanging pieces) should occupy you for a *very* long time.
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the books I recommended are no books for children to read, its only giving ideas to the teacher and building up a programm. I can't admit from my experiance with the checkmate-teaching that it occupy the kids for long. My son is 6 and he is going in a kids-group (25 kids) and the teachers did excatly what you recommanded anaxagoras - each one was excatly good enough for one week !
All kids new how to do it the next lesson so the teachers had to find new goals.
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Thank you ...
all for your input so far. The link was indeed helpfull Jörg. I have had two lessons with the kids for a test allready before I've posted the thread here. I recognized that I do need a plan for myself how to build up deeper chess knowledge. All of them were for example able to learn to mate with Q + K against K "quickly", but I for myself am not 100% sure were to localize this progress/ability on a long-term chess-strength-planning and how to build onto this. Do you have a long-term strategy with your training plan anaxagoras?
Do kids learn to play better chess in gaining a motive-repertoire (pins, forks, etc.)? I am doubtful on this, you won't also be a good therapist in just knowing all possible therapy-tools.
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Just wrote a long reply, but unfortunately, it was all lost. I'll try to reconstruct most of it:
I agree that if you are actually trying to get them to read books, you are wasting your time. You can have them solve puzzles from books, but don't go overboard. If you are looking for books for mentors, then I suggest "Chess Fundamentals" by J.R. Capablanca, "The Amateur's Mind" by Jeremy Silman, "My System" by Nimzowitsch and Lasker's "Manual of Chess". These are all good for reference.
Personally, I wouldn't spend too much time at all on the KQ vs. K mate. The KQ cuts off the K in a manner which is not immediately intuitive to most beginners. I would begin with KRR vs. K and move to KR vs. K, and not really dwell on KQ vs. K until they had mastered both KR vs. K and KBB vs. K (which is awhile off from KR vs. K). At this point, KQ vs. K should be intuitive.
Most importantly, you want them to become familiar wiith the board and how the pieces move. For example, if a king and queen are on b3 and e6, then a player should instantly recognize that the only squares a knight can fork them from are c5 and d4. Seems simple, but many players go through their chess progression without ever getting a real understanding of the chessboard and the pieces. IMHO a player should be able to play blindfold chess fairly well before building their opening repertoire.
You don't want to dwell on advanced concepts like space or calculation a la Kotov, but you do want them to look at least a half-move, if not a move, ahead. They should understand the material values of the pieces and be aware that they are playing against someone who will take their pieces if they leave them en prise. You SHOULD talk about piece activity and centralization. Point out, for example, that a knight in the corner can only move to 2 squares (and be trapped by a lone king!), whereas a knight in the center of the board can move to 8 squares. The moral: knights in the center of the board are more powerful than knights on the edge.
"Do kids learn to play better chess in gaining a motive-repertoire (pins, forks, etc.)? I am doubtful on this, you won't also be a good therapist in just knowing all possible therapy-tools."
Sure, but imagine going through medical school and becoming a therapist without learning what a cell is and how cells interact. A player must first learn what a pin is, then identify pins and be able to create pins, and then be able to exploit pins for material gain and such, before incorporating pins into an actual chess game. Pins, forks, deflections, interpositions, double attacks, etc., are the basic elements of chess, and players need to be able to isolate each component before they can incorporate them into their game. Focusing on these elements is very helpful to development.
Again, most importantly, you want them to become familiar with the board and how the pieces move. Most people don't stress this enough. Try to get them to set up pins and forks, etc., and then work on exercises as to how to exploit them.
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that to let the kids to play blitz with eachother and have fun so it just wont be theoretical studies all of the time cause the most important is that they think it's fun isn't it??? and if they find it fun they will probably be motivated to continue. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do practices with them to learn important tactics strategy etc. But I do believe that it's really important that the kids have a chance to just play as well and just enjoy the game. Of course you could give them advise after the games they play for fun and give them things that they have the practice on by themselves when they're not at the club. Playing games are also a way to be a better chess player.
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I have no long term strategy. As an instructor for Academic Chess, I give the students a series of workbooks that range from very easy to the very beginnings of positional chess (e.g. capture the hanging piece all the way to a lesson on Knight outposts for the very advanced students). I teach lessons on the puzzles that are in the workbooks so that what the students learn in the classroom is linked to what they study at home (with their parents hopefully). Students progress from "egg" to "snake" "lizard" "gator" and finally "chess monster." Kids generally enjoy these goofy titles and the prestige that comes with advancing to the next rank. Each workbook has a series of practice puzzles with answers in the back, and then a test for the next level. If they can complete the test with near 100% accuracy, I promote them to the next book and give them a new reptilian name.
Yes, I do think that pins, forks and other such tricks are a *very* important part of the curriculum because it is through these tactics that kids win material and therefore win games. Knowing how to checkmate with bare material like KR vs K and KQ vs K is very important too, because I have been to many kids tournaments where children are unable to deliver obvious checkmates or even just blunder all of their material away for a stalemate. A lot of atrifix's advice is correct, though I do insist that KQ vs K is important because of the risk of stalemates.
Lastly, show them a lot of quick games where one side loses in less than ten moves. Short games like that hold their attention and demonstrate with absolute clarity the folly of ignoring opening principles. Good luck and try to have fun with your students. Be a goofball and tell them wacky stories. An instructor I know has a story he tells when a student asks him when he learned to play chess. It goes like this: (with pathos) "Back when the primordial fire still burned in the sky from the cosmic explosion that created this world, I carved my first chess set out of the bones of my ancestors! etc." Apparently a little girl simply retorted "na-ah!"
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I don't know whether you allready tried this one, but if you want a soft beginning, why don't you do the "Bauerndimplon" with them, I'm not sure if it still exists but I think it's worth a try, and it's not that difficult to achieve.
I agree partly with anaxagoras, fork and pins are important parts for the learning progress, but I think that some of the other "elements of combination" (don't know whether this the correct English Terms) like "Hineinziehung" or "Ablenkung" might be a little bit too difficult.
show them simple endgames like K+R vs. K and explain by showing them the importance of the opposition and let them try it. K+P vs. K would be the next step
hum, one may argue about my next suggestion, ask them to bring a small excersise book to the lessons, into which they can stick some diagrams and take some notes.
On the one hand they have something at hand they can refer to and look certain things up on the other hand this might remind them of school and that isn't always a good thing at all.
I personally like the idea with stories, I think I even know a german book that works with this concept: "Schach für Igel" (deals with the so called Igel aufbau against the English opening), but that one might be a little too advanced for them.
DON'T FORGET TO LET THEM PLAY (sorry for the capital letters but I wanted to stress it). now and then small prizes like kit-kat or mars or snickers or something like that might be useful (for the best excersise book or as a prize for a small tourney).
and always remember you're working with kids, so don't demand too much.
viel glück und viel spaß mit den kleinen