Mini Plans for Kids

I have observed a common mistake made by coaches whilst monitoring kids, they emphasize finding series of moves rather than just one and insist they search for candidates moves first,analyse them and then go for the best one. This is not bad if you are teaching to adult or a player with some experience and knowledge about chess but kids demand different treatment. First of all they play chess for fun and not for brain storming, so it is necessary for coaches to teach chess jargon free if possible.

For kids, it is difficult to find series of moves but it become very easy if you first find the causes for the same. Why are they not able to find tiny plans? Because they are not aware of what are advantages or disadvantages in chess. So our first task is to explain some advantages and how they can use them, but please do not use heavy words.

1. The obvious advantage is when you are ahead in material. I have observed that kids with a material advantage losing their game so many times because of a lack of knowledge in how to use it. We need just to tell them when you are having material advantage, try to trade off pieces with a similar value.

2. It is good to double your opponent’s pawns but avoid yours, then explaining to them why it is good with the help of simple example:

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See now that Black effectively has an extra pawn. Kids get very surprised by this and I have observed it works very well as they are calling me very loudly after doubling their opponent’s pawns. They feel that this is an advantage so they can win the game, and though it is far from the truth it still works very well for kids.

3. To have active pieces is also an advantage, for example here White’s rook is on the open file therefore it is active while Black’s is passive:

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Here White has better chances to win the game even if material is equal, simply because of his active rook. Similarly you can set different examples for other pieces.

I have experienced the fact that after having knowledge of these tiny advantages kids are able to formulate plans automatically which are not that great but sufficient at their level.

Ashvin Chauhan