Friday, April 29, 2011


When examining games of junior players, I see that many do not know what to do when the position in front of them is without any captures or threats to make. They are then left to think of a move, often one that takes a piece backwards into their own territory.  Can anyone blame them?

Indeed, it is hardest to teach a junior player strategy when their grasp of tactics is still not strong. To bridge this gap, it is not pertinent to introduce the materials from Nimzowitsch's MY SYSTEM. I would consider using a simpler book, Bruce Pandolfini's WEAPONS OF CHESS.

What I like about this book is that Mr Pandolfini outlines the basic elements of positional chess like the open file, passed pawns, pawn structure weaknesses etc in simple language for the child to understand, then gives explanations on how to play with these elements. He has also given fairly good advice on how one should think when quiet positions with no tactics is reached. Most P3-4 students should have no problems understanding the material in this book. I am sure it will help their chess greatly.    

Often I see notes on positional chess concepts  introduced with examples cut out from grandmaster games played over the last 10 years. This is not useful at all for a child who has yet to understand the complex thinking behind the players today. It will be far better to introduce the positional elements with games played by the old masters of the 1900-1930's, as many of these games show clear-cut moves on how to implement the methods of using the elements. Playing over the old classics  is like a step-by-step lesson on how to make the elements work without the opponent's interference. There is a lot that can be learned from the old games, but sadly today's children have not had access to the books like 

Where Chernev (not a master) explains the fine points of chess strategy to budding players. I learnt a lot from reading these 2 books which spurred my chess strength to new heights before tackling harder books like

 If trainers take examples from these books instead of the present games, I am sure that students will get to grasp the positional concepts better.

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