Children’s Chess After The Opening

Chess is much more than just making moves, your move must be aimed for something. But for kids chess is a game, just a game. I have seen so many students at the institute where I am a coach complaining that they do not know what to do after the opening (they have memorized it). So they are making a move for the sake of playing chess.

Here a coach’s task become more demanding as you cannot give them game for study because of lack of knowledge. So I have undergone one experiment where I am hammering the following points to the kids. The results are not extraordinary but they are satisfactory.

The points are:
1. Observe opponent’s last move.
2. Don’t miss chance to double your opponent’s pawns. It is quite strategical but kids are grasping this particular point very easily when you show them that a) one pawn can stop two pawns easily b) that pawn cannot hassle your piece anymore (introducing the concept of outposts).
3. Asking yourself whether piece is safe or not before making a move (tremendously reducing errors).
4. Look for unsupported pieces.
5. Try to find checks, weak pawns.

I am editing the list as situation demands. You can make a wish list depending upon the level of the children you are teaching. Please note that hammering points home is much more important as it can be transformed into habit. My students are making good moves because they are not brilliant but they are in the habit to making good moves!!

Ashvin Chauhan