A Master Chess Step 1 class started yesterday, with a lesson on the chessboard and pieces. Our students learned about ranks, files, diagonals, names of squares, all the pieces except for the pawn, and their ranking order! Until learning more, what should students do to consolidate their knowledge?
They play mini-games! Remember: A mini-game is a short game with a clearly defined goal, using only a small number of pieces. These help students practice moving the pieces until their movements are internalized. This sets them up to automate this skill in the future, which prepares them to learn and apply bigger and better things. One of the hallmarks of our approach is that what our students learn has to reach their long term memory.
In a previous entry, I discussed a mini-game where each side’s knight tries to capture all of the opponent’s pawns. Today I want to offer two more games and explain their rules.
The first game is called ‘Making circles’. Each player has to move their pieces clockwise around the board, eventually bringing them back where they started! Capturing is not allowed, and the pawns in the middle of the board serve as a barrier. Here is the starting position:
Our next game is simple to play, but tricky for students to master - ‘Knight Moves’. Whichever player successfully reaches the diagonally opposite corner with their knight first wins. That means the white knight has to go to h8, and the black knight has to go to h1. If both players play correctly, the white knight gets there first. Start from here:
Come back tomorrow for more games, including one of my favorites!