How To Grow A Champion

Dear chess friend,

Today I’d like to provide some advice on chess training for kids. This will be especially important for both the chess coaches and for the parents of chess playing children.

If you don’t correspond to either of these groups – do not despair. Thankfully, the general principles of chess training are the same for everyone.

Below I’ll highlight typical mistakes, and the ways to overcome them.

1)    Mistake #1: Providing too much information at a time.

Do you know how to eat an elephant? :) You should eat 1 piece at a time. This advice is totally applicable for chess lessons.

For example, how many rules or pieces of advice should be provided in a good lesson? The more information you have the better? Correct? NO!

Most likely you will not be able to remember more than 1-3 major ideas at a time. If you are given more than that – most likely you will digest nothing. This is reality, and we must face it.

2)   Mistake #2: Pushing a child (or yourself) into studying chess.

We all know that if you want to get good results, you should train intensively. Thus if you have some goals in chess, you may start forcing yourself to make an intensive study.

This attitude doesn’t work, however. Chess is a game and we should have joy while studying/playing. Otherwise you got bored (tired, stuck), lose motivation, your results go down and … you will have to force yourself again.

If a child wants to have fun instead of a serious training – that’s totally OK. You may tell him/her some fairytales about 2 kingdoms (white and black). You might even invent some funny tasks (let’s say a knight should chase opponent’s king, and if it reaches the king, the monarch shouts “Ouch!”). The main thing here is to keep the child’s INTEREST. Then all future training will be highly productive.

If as an adult you find that you don’t have too much enthusiasm today, or if you see that your chess studying/playing doesn’t go so well – just take a pause.

M. Botvinnik (3-time World Chess Champion) suggested that one should NOT study chess at all during the week before a tournament. That’s how Botvinnik raised his ‘appetite’ for chess to maximum!

3)    Mistake #3: Not allowing WINS regularly.

Winning is cool! It makes us feel excited, raises our motivation and therefore favors our future positive results.

While this is true for adults, it is especially important for children. Give a child a chance to win and to feel good :) You can help make this happen by assigning him/her tasks that you know he/she can handle.

Also, it’s a good idea to give PRIZES, even for relatively small achievements. Such prizes do not have to be large, of course. The point here is not the prize itself, but the far more import recognition of success.

For adults, I recommend that you make a separate database of Your Best Winning Games. This is a very powerful tool indeed!

You may go over these games before you are going to play chess. This will tune yourself on the right wave, on the winner’s wave! You will feel more confident, will play bolder and will get better results.

Also, you will notice what kind of positions you play the best. Thus you will strive for such positions in your next games.

In view of the fact that I’ve suggested not studying more than 3 ideas at a time, let’s stop here. :)

You may grow a champion from your child or from yourself – I wish you success in either situation!

 

Note: We are the Remote Chess Academy Official Affiliate Partner. This article is from GM Igor Smirnov.

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