Friday, July 30, 2010


I like to share some tips for coaching primary (under-12 category) or secondary (under-15 and under-18) school students. There are several fun ways to coach them. Many of these training devices I revise from what I took from this interesting website.

1. Use time odds.
I give them 10 minutes to my 1 minute. There are many times where I lose on time, but mostly, I manage to survive. Nevertheless, some of them really use the given time wisely and think hard in order to beat me (I used their thinking time also for my replies). The merits of this device - using time wisely and handling the clock correctly.

2. Play pawn games.
I set up all the white and black pawns on their original squares, minus all the other pieces. Using a simple rule of those who manage to get a passed pawn first wins, I let them play against each other. The merits - learn to get passed pawns with correct handling of pawn formations.

3. Checkmate me.
I set up basic checkmate materials such as Queen and King vs lonely King, Rook and King vs lonely King etc. and ask them to checkmate me in only one minute. Of course most of them manage to checkmate me using the Queen, but many stumble when using a Rook. The merits - learn checkmate patterns, and most importantly, learn to think fast.

4. Puzzles.
I give them positions containing certain lessons learned earlier, e.g. pin, double check, double attack, en passant, and ask them to solve it. This device should be done in groups, so that they will try to beat the other groups for the solution. The merits - learn the fundamental tactics in chess.

5. Simuls.
All the students play against me simultaneously. Students must keep score of their game, and must not consult anybody throughout. Touch move only applies to the students, not me. During 2008 centralised training with the Gua Musang team, I played against all 36 students from all the age categories, winning all but 1 when I lost to a form 5 student from Sungai Asap. The merits - use all that have been learned in a competitive game.

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