Thursday, January 27, 2011


There are many cases I have encountered in Singapore when I am hired to give chess lessons weekly but the students see no improvement. Though I have strongly recommended that the student plays 1 game a day or if possible, 4 games a week (15 mins per side). Months passed, but progress is slow. Why is this so?

Ironically, many of the parents whose children are learning chess do not play chess themselves. Hence, they are not aware of what it would take for one to progress. That's practice. Without constant practice, whatever is learnt will soon be forgotten. So far, most of the students that have dropped out of my radar have not been playing regularly and their interest waned in due course.

So I hereby urge parents, before they sign their kids for chess, to first examine the child's timetable: Does the child have time for practice? Can this be enforced? If not, it would be a waste of time and resources to expect any form of progress or understanding. The same goes for learning a language like Chinese. Extra hours are required to get the child to speak, write because of the lack of the environment for it. Chess is no different, its a language too, although the demands are rather small. Unless we can't even find 30 minutes a day for our kids ( because of Learning Lab, CCA, tuition, speech and drama, music lessons etc)? Something has to give. I shudder to give homework sometimes out of compassionate grounds, for I would hestitate to add to the student's academic homework which may just break the camel's back.

I seriously wonder if parents have actually lived through their kids's life for a day and experience for themselves how strenuous it would be, let alone do it for weeks on end? Then perhaps they will think twice about signing their children for more classes.

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