Minichess

Just a note this week to explain that I’m now running two blogs.

The more important one, from your point of view is at my (fairly) new site www.minichess.uk.

You’ll find the blog here. My articles specifically concerning junior chess are now being posted on this site.

Some explanation: I’m promoting a method of introducing chess in primary schools using minichess: games, puzzles and activities using subsets of chess. There’s a download pack available as well as online resources. Regular readers of this column will be aware of my views that ‘big chess’ is too hard for most young children who are not receiving proactive parental support. If we want to encourage younger children to get involved in chess we should certainly provide tuition, clubs and tournaments for parents wishing to fast track their children. The majority of children, however, will benefit more from a slower approach. Minichess doesn’t require specialist teachers: each activity can be learnt in a few minutes. It doesn’t need to be on the curriculum: any spare 5-10 minute slots during the day can be used to introduce a new game. It is open to everyone: all children, not just the very bright kids, will enjoy working with their friends to solve the puzzles and taking part in minichess competitions. It doesn’t even require specialist equipment: although it’s better if schools have chess sets, many of the games can be played using different coloured counters if sets are not available. It’s cheap (or, if you want, free), easy, fun and appropriate to the age and cognitive development of primary school children. There’s also a Twitter account: @minichessuk. If you have any interest at all in junior chess please visit the blog and follow on Twitter.

Meanwhile, my Chess Heroes books are still being developed. The Chess Heroes site was relaunched over the summer. A revised version of Checkmates for Heroes with corrections to puzzle solutions is now available, and the equivalent revision of Chess Tactics for Heroes will be available shortly. The first drafts of Chess Openings for Heroes and Chess Endings for Heroes are also available. General thoughts on this project will also be included in the Minichess blog, but I may also post extracts from the books here. I’m still open to offers from anyone who wants to publish them or otherwise develop them commercially.

I’m also now running the Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club website. The blog there features club news as well as weekly puzzles and historical articles with local connections. Other historical pieces will, on occasion, be posted here.

Richard James

Author: Richard James

Richard James is a professional chess teacher and writer living in Twickenham, and working mostly with younger children and beginners. He was the co-founder of Richmond Junior Chess Club in 1975 and its director until 2005. He is the webmaster of chessKIDS academy (www.chesskids.org.uk or www.chesskids.me.uk) and, most recently, the author of Chess for Kids and The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids, both published by Right Way Books. Richard has been a member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club since 1966. Richard is a published author and his books can be found at Amazon. Richard is currently promoting minichess (games and puzzles using subsets of chess) for younger children through his website www.minichess.uk, and writing coaching materials for children (and adults) who want to start playing serious competitive chess, through www.chessheroes.uk.