When I Become Frustrated

Recently I got an enquiry about personal coaching and the first question was how useful chess is for brain development? I got very annoyed and replied that you should Google it and you will find many other tools for answering. I understand and agree that chess is useful for brain development but this is just a byproduct of chess and not the only reason that you should find a chess coach for your kids. The basic and key thing is kids’ interest in chess, otherwise it will become like more school homework for them.

I usually teach kids a particular topic and give notes about it for them to revise. Once they’ve revised it I give some additional test positions for homework and advise them to play chess games. Many of them don’t follow this path because they don’t have enough time.

I’ve also observed that some of them are genuine while many are doing large numbers of other activities like swimming, dancing, cricket, football etc., the kids are very busy but without particularly investing themselves in anything. They are therefore not able to focus on anything in particular and become jacks of all but masters of none. Well who is responsible for this? Of course it’s the parents, as they want to keep their kids busy.

Some parents know how to play chess and ask me to teach their kids tactics, though this can often be before they know how to move the pieces. What would your reaction be? Parhaps to ask why they hired a chess coach. I say that you should let the expert work without interfering. And give him enough time as chess is not a game that you can become expert overnight.

What about complaints that a kid has been learning chess at your academy for a year and not made any significant progress? I show them attendance where more than 50% of the time the kids were just physically absent. You can’t expect to improve when you are not consistent at your work. And maybe suggest reading the story about the Hare and the tortoise!

Ashvin Chauhan