Monday, March 21, 2011


As Siegbert Tarrasch used to say, " It is not enough just to be a good player. One must also play well". Therefore it does not suffice that if one enters the national elite, one is automatically a good player. It is also important to apply oneself into executing the processes that make up a good move or plan.

Perhaps parents should often ask what is the road ahead for a child that is interested in chess - should they equip him with the trainers to help him in his game, sign the child up for as many tournaments as possible in the hopes of improving his/her play, hoping to clinch the 4 points required to enter the National Junior Squad??  

What is not clear perhaps is the heavy investment in terms of  5 hours a week or 20 hours a month, notwithstanding the hours spent in tournaments? Yet there is often the lament that there's simply not enough time for tuition, assignments and what not? What about the fees of approximately $300 a quarter or $1200 a year? That is the basic package. If the child goes for regional tournaments, the expenses are equivalent to  an overseas field trip. All this just for DSA into a good school?

I hold the view that generally chess-interested students have the intellect that grows when they grow with the game. Any serious student of the game will do the necessary research into the various aspects of the game, spending time into learning and memorising the opening weapons that will steer the player into advantagous positions. Then pick selected tournaments to shine. This discipline of preparing and performing for tournament results will ultimately be a major part on his study routine (which he/she will then understand) which should make him/her a better student. Surely this is a much more meaningful benefit of encouraging a child to take up chess?

Similarly coaches in my opinion should inculcate good thinking skills to their students. It would not be sufficient to expect the child to pick up good thinking habits simply by playing game after game with them. Much has to be explained apart from reiterating the facts. It has come to my attention that some school CCA Chess sessions are nothing more than just sparring sessions with students. I doubt very much of the efficacy of this approach. Coaches should expound knowledge and demonstrate the knowledge well with good examples and tests to ensure comprehension. Without which, no training scheme, however illustrious, can achieve results.

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