Learning to Play Chess from Square One
The Chess Tutor 1 by Shredder Computer Chess is a good platform to teach or learn the fundamentals of chess with a computer and it based on the Stappenmethode by Brunia and van Wijgerden. Chess Tutor 1 will help players with limited access to a chess coach, homeschool students to learn the fundamentals of the royal game on their own. The program combines systematic instruction with a well selected set of examples and puzzles to help the student progress quickly or at their own pace. The program is divided in two section, basic and advance.
- The board and the pieces.
- The way the pieces move.
- Attacking and capturing.
- The Pawn.
- Checking and getting out of check.
- Checkmate in one move.
- The Advantageous Exchange.
- The Two Fold Attack.
- Matting with the Queen.
- Capturing En Passant.
- Winning Material
- Route Planer.
- Defending Against Mate.
- Planning Mate.
- The Passed Pawn.
I consider that Chess Tutor 1 gives the user a favorable benefit/cost ratio. The main benefit from using the program is the systematic way the material is presented. The course evolves from simple to complex. Importantly, after the student learn the key aspects of “the material phase” characterized by the thrill of winning material, Chess Tutor 1 delivers more refined topics to the user such as, the nominal value of the pieces followed by capturing an unprotected piece ,coordination between pieces. Next, the student is introduced to “basic planning and calculation” with the concept attackers versus defenders and the correct sequence to capture. Introduction of draw and planning mate with Queen and King (involves more calculation and planning. The only suggestion I have to the potential user is to go over the lesson on notation (chapter 14) right after chapter 2. In summary, Chess Tutor 1 is an excellent resource to chess coaches and players to teach or learn the fundamentals of chess with a computer. Recommended.
As a coach, a recurrent question from parents and players is how I can improve my chess? I suggest to do the following
- Think about a chess goal you want to achieve. For example, I want to break 1000 USCF, win my section at the local Grand Prix.
- How much time a week are you willing to set aside to work on your chess goal.
- Find a local place to play equal or stronger opposition on a regular basis. Slow time controls are recommended. Record your games on paper.
- Ask a chess coach or high rated player to review the games with you (especially the games you lose) and come up with an improvement plan that fits your schedule.
- Play slow games( 20 to 30) applying the suggestions from the high rated player or chess coach.
- Evaluate if your chess is progressing or not. Adjust you chess training accordingly.
- After you reach your initial goal is time to set a new one.
How to Train to Play a New Chess Opening Successfully
The key question when a player wants to play a new opening is how much theory he/she needs to know before trying the opening over the board. As a coach I recommend to my trainees to go over two or three model games with me. Next, the player must play ten to fifteen practice games online and/or over the board to develop a better sense for the middlegame positions resulting from his new opening. As a rule some of the practice games will be short loses after the player falls into and opening trap. Opening traps aim to obtain a positional concession, extra material or check mate. A player should learn the matting traps first and then the others because as Nigel Short pointed out “Check mate ends the game”. In other words, you may comeback after falling into a positional trap, but a comeback from a matting trap is very unlikely.
How to prevent losing games with your new opening?
I recommend to use chess software to learn the matting combinations in your new chess opening first. Next, you should deal with the winning material combinations. Good materials to accomplish this opening training are Mating Combinations in the Opening and Tactics in the Chess Openings, both are available at Convetka http://chessok.com/