January 4, 2011

Chess with My Son: 8 Steps to Beating Dad

photo by Jose Daniel Martinez (CC3.0)
My ten-year-old son beat me at chess today for the first time. Not to make excuses, but the sun was in my eyes, not to mention that annoying hangnail I've been nursing. Kidding aside, I knew the time would come; I just didn't think it would be so soon!

Here is how he learned to play chess and beat me. Some things I taught him, and some he learned on his own.
  1. I first taught him how to set up the chess board and all the ways that pieces can move and take opposing pieces.

  2. I talked him through our first several games as we played, telling him what I was doing and why. I also asked him to explain his moves to me, and I gave him feedback on his strategy.

  3. When we first started playing, I allowed him to turn the board around at any point in the game (as long as he wasn't in check) and for us to finish the game playing each other's original pieces.

  4. I started playing with just half of my pieces, then increased the number of pieces I used as he improved.

  5. I let him take back moves if I hadn't yet touched a piece.

  6. I never lost on purpose; I handicapped myself, but always played to win. This kept things fun for both of us.

  7. Recently, he read this beginning chess book and did the exercises in it.

  8. He played a chess game on my ipod touch on the way to Kyoto and back.
And today he beat me with both of us playing at full strength! I'm proud of him. Pretty soon he'll be spotting me pieces just to keep our games interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Jeremy,

    This sounds like good general principles for parenting. I would probably have to pick something that would be a little more challenging for my daughter to be me at.