It is very important to learn patterns but how should we teach patterns and related combinations?
Well, I tried an experiment with my students. I started to show them three basic checkmate patterns every week on the condition that whenever they come to class they first have to show me the previous positions. If they fail then no problem, I will show them again but in a week’s time only. Normally they come three times in a week. If they fail after a week, there will be a punishment (sometimes putting pressure on kids is necessary). The punishment is to do puzzles rather than playing. 🙂
So in the first week I started with:
1. A queen & bishop battery mate
2. A back rank mate
3. Anastasia’s mate
In order to motivate them, I choose two simple patterns and hard one.
In the second week, I showed them three new positions and combinations for the first week’s positions, and to my surprise a few of the students were able to identify the combination without any explanation!
These examples have been taken from Build Up Your Chess by Artur Yusupov:
It is also very difficult for intermediate players to solve these perfectly. They often spot the right idea while some of them have faced difficulty in finding right move order. They went for Qxg4 first, so our role is to show the difference between playing 1. ..Ne2+ and 1… Qxg4.
Here too it is somewhat difficult to find 1. Qa6 but most of them have found the first move but failed to see Black’s response. But I think that their journey has been started.
1. Kids have mind-blowing memories compare to adults as most of them were able to memorize the positions. This is one of the reasons that kids learns faster than adults.
2. We should not underestimate their strength in playing tactical positions.