Part 1: Basic Psychology & Chess Skills for Students!
by John Bain
Three Psychological Practices for Strong Chess
Many parents, teachers, coaches and students ask, “How do chess players grow stronger?”
Surprisingly, a player may increase strength significantly by simply developing Three Psychological Practices–also known as GOOD HABITS!
WARNING – Without mastering these simple Three Psychological Practices, students will suffer unnecessary frustration, disappointment and defeat over the chess board and in life.
How do I grow stronger in chess?
1. Improve Strength 20% – Respect Opponent! What is my opponent threatening? Defend!
What is my opponent’s last move threatening? Most threats in scholastic chess are easy-to-see and simple to defend—if…
If a student asks what the opponent is threatening, a student’s strength will increase 20% or more—winning 20% more games by simply considering, seeing and defending against easy-to-see threats!
2. Improve Strength 10% – Respect Self! Safe Squares! Is my next move safe?
Is my next move safe? Reduce blunders! Simply put, students ask questions like these. “Am I moving my Queen to a safe square where my opponent CAN NOT capture it for free?”
Or, “Am I moving my Queen to a square where my opponent CAN “fork” it, “skewer” it or capture it for free?”
Of course, these questions apply to all pieces under consideration to move—Rooks, Bishops, Knights and Pawns!
The student’s strength will increase 10% or more—losing easily 10% fewer games by simply NOT giving away free pieces!
3. Improve Strength 10% – Prepare for the Future! What will my opponent’s next move be?
What will my opponent’s next move be? Asking this simple question is a psychological practice—a good habit that needs strengthening.
What are students doing while waiting for their opponent’s next move? Fidgeting? Daydreaming? Looking at the games on the boards next to them? Obsessing over their plan and their next move with no regard for their opponent’s next move?
In a chess game with Standard Time Controls of 30-minutes each or more, students have time to jot down their guesses while waiting for their opponent’s move.
Students gain confidence and strength when they guess their opponents’ moves successfully! The student’s strength will increase 10% or more—losing easily 10% fewer games by simply predicting their opponent’s next move!
What are the Basic Chess Skills for Strong Chess?
BASIC SKILLS. In a well-run, successful school chess club:
Students know the chess rules.
Students know how a chess game ends–in a checkmate or a draw.
From the very beginning–after learning the rules–students learn and use Three Psychological Practices for stronger chess.