Posts Tagged ‘chess lessons for kids’

Learning Chess The “Right Way” Has Never Been Easier!

December 8, 2018

I am in a unique situation as a chess coach due to my proximity to Silicon Valley. The average parents of my chess students are highly skilled professionals, including Ph.D.s and college professors, doctors, attorneys, physicists , CEOs, and of course computer engineers. These parents tend to be very involved in their child’s chess development and expect the best curricula and training methodology from their coaches. This is why, I always rely heavily on Susan Polgar’s, “Learn Chess the Right Way” book series. In over two decades as a professional chess coach, I have never seen a better system for helping young players achieve rapid chess improvement than what Susan presents with this program. Since their release, these books have played a huge role in my successes as a chess coach.

Live in the Bay Area or surrounding areas? Send me an email ( and I will be happy to supply you with your own copies of this important book series.

Fork Trick or Treat

February 17, 2014

“One way to find food for thought is to use the fork in the road, the bifurcation that marks the place of emergence in which a new line of development begins to branch off.”William Irwin Thompson

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”Yogi Berra

Had it not been for the President’s Day holiday, I would have shown this game to my chess students at Mission San Jose Elementary School. I am posting this to my blog as a bonus lesson for my students and as a resource to other chess coaches. Enjoy!

[Event “Lesson”]
[Site “Woodside”]
[Date “2014.2.16”]
[White “student”]
[Black “Torres, Chris”]
[Result “0-1”]
[Eco “C50”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4
Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.Nxe5 {?} {Trying for an ill-advised “fork trick.”}

{The other choices were plentiful:}

( 5.c3 O-O 6.Bb3 d5 7.Qe2 Re8 8.Bg5 dxe4 9.dxe4 h6 10.Bh4 Be7
11.Nbd2 Nh5 12.Bg3 Bf8 13.O-O-O Qf6 14.Nc4 Nf4 15.Bxf4 Qxf4+
16.Kb1 Bg4 17.h3 Bxf3 18.gxf3 Bc5 19.Rd5 Bb6 20.a4 Rad8 21.Rhd1
Rxd5 22.exd5 Ne7 23.d6 cxd6 24.Nxd6 Rf8 {…1-0, Carlsen Magnus (NOR) 2837  – Bacrot Etienne (FRA) 2713 , Biel  7/22/2012 It “Exhibition Blitz”})

( 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Bb6 7.Bb3 Be6 8.O-O O-O 9.h3 Re8 10.Bxb6 axb6
11.Ne2 h6 12.Ng3 d5 13.c3 b5 14.Re1 d4 15.Qc2 dxc3 16.bxc3 Qd7
17.Rad1 Na5 18.d4 exd4 19.cxd4 Nxb3 20.axb3 c6 21.d5 cxd5 22.e5
Nh7 23.Nd4 f6 24.Qd3 fxe5 {…1/2-1/2, Short Nigel D (ENG) 2698  – Carlsen Magnus (NOR) 2826 , London 12/12/2011 It (cat.20)})

( 5.O-O O-O ( 5…d6 6.a3 O-O 7.b4 Bb6 8.Be3 Be6 {+0.07 CAP} )
6.Nbd2 a6 7.c3 d6 8.Bb3 Ba7 9.h3 h6 10.Re1 Be6 11.Nf1 Re8 12.Bc2
d5 13.exd5 Qxd5 14.Ng3 Rad8 15.Qe2 Qd7 16.Be3 Bxe3 17.fxe3 Nd5
18.d4 exd4 19.exd4 Bf5 20.Ne5 Nf4 21.Qf2 Nxe5 22.Bxf5 Ned3 23.Rxe8+
Qxe8 24.Qd2 Qb5 {…1-0, Radjabov Teimour (AZE) 2788  – Naiditsch Arkadij (GER) 2700 , Istanbul  8/31/2012 Olympiad})

( 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 d6 7.Nc3 Be6 8.Nd2 a6 9.Nd5 g5 10.Bg3 Bxd5
11.exd5 Ne7 12.h4 g4 13.h5 Nf5 14.c3 Rg8 15.Qe2 Qe7 16.O-O-O
O-O-O 17.Rde1 Rde8 18.Bh2 Nxh5 19.Bxa6 g3 20.Qxh5 Rg5 21.Qh3
gxf2 22.Re2 bxa6 23.d4 exd4 24.Rxe7 Rxe7 {…1-0, Vlassov Nikolai (RUS) 2445  – Korneev Oleg (RUS) 2605 , Moscow 1995 It (cat.10)})

( 5.Ng5 O-O 6.Nc3 h6 7.h4 d6 8.Nf3 Bg4 9.Qd2 Nd4 10.Nxd4 exd4
11.Na4 Bb6 12.Nxb6 axb6 13.f3 Be6 14.g4 Kh8 15.g5 Ng8 16.gxh6
Nxh6 17.Qg5 Bxc4 18.dxc4 Qd7 19.Rg1 f5 20.Qh5 Qe6 21.Rg6 Rf6
22.Rxf6 Qxf6 23.Bxh6 gxh6 24.a3 Rg8 {…1/2-1/2, Andrejczuk Beata (POL) 2138  – Majdan Joanna (POL) 2386 , Krynica 1998 Ch Poland (juniors) (under 10) (g)})

( 5.h3 d6 6.a3 h6 7.Nc3 Bb6 8.Be3 Be6 9.Qd2 Nd4 10.Bxd4 exd4
11.Nd5 Nxd5 12.Bxd5 Bxd5 13.exd5 Qf6 14.O-O O-O 15.Qb4 a5 16.Qa4
Rfe8 17.Rae1 Kf8 18.Qd7 Rad8 19.Qb5 Qf4 20.a4 Qf5 21.Nd2 Re5
22.Rxe5 dxe5 23.Nc4 Qd7 24.d6 Qxb5 {…1-0, Nepomniachtchi Ian (RUS) 2632  – Khismatullin Denis (RUS) 2604 , St. Petersburg 11/ 7/2009 Cup Russia})

( 5.Bb3 O-O 6.Nbd2 a5 7.c3 d5 8.O-O Bg4 9.h3 Bh5 10.a3 b5 11.Qe2
a4 12.Ba2 d4 13.g4 Bg6 14.Rd1 Kh8 15.Nf1 Nd7 16.Ng3 f6 {1/2-1/2, Mamedov Rauf (AZE) 2631  – Adams Michael (ENG) 2734 , Cala Mayor  9/ 5/2008 Ch Spain (team) (Honor gr.1)})

( 5.Nbd2 O-O 6.O-O d6 7.c3 Ne7 8.Re1 Ng6 9.Nf1 c6 10.Bb3 Bb6
11.Ng3 h6 12.h3 Re8 13.d4 Be6 14.Bc2 Qc7 15.Be3 Rad8 16.Qc1 Bc8
17.a4 a5 18.Ra3 c5 19.Rb3 Ba7 20.d5 c4 21.Rb5 Bxe3 22.Qxe3 Bd7
23.Qb6 Qc8 24.Nf5 Bxb5 {…1/2-1/2, Bauer Christian (FRA) 2681  – Bacrot Etienne (FRA) 2713 , Pau  8/17/2012 Ch France})

{Please do not have your kids waste their time memorizing all of the above lines. I included them for completeness, not as suggested learning material. A child’s time is much better spent focusing on their tactics.}

Bxf2+ {!?} {I could have also played along with his “fork trick” and came out smelling like roses.}
( 5…Nxe5 6.d4 {The “fork trick” doesn’t work here because black can move the bishop with check.}Bb4+ {Again, this variation is objectively better but I purposefully chose a more enjoyable and challenging variation.})

"I purposefully chose a more enjoyable and challenging variation."

“I purposefully chose a more enjoyable and challenging variation.”

6.Kxf2 Nxe5 {Imbalances are fun. White has the advantage in space and I in force.}

7.Re1 {?} {My opponent’s first mistake. Obviously better was bringing out a knight and thus equalizing on development.}
( 7.Nc3 O-O )

Nfg4+ {!} {Punishment has been served.}

"Punishment has been served."

“Punishment has been served.”

8.Kg1 {?}
{When your king is under attack, accuracy is a mere matter of survival.}
( 8.Ke2 Qh4 9.Kd2 )

Qh4 {Develop with threats.}

"Develop with threats."

“Develop with threats.”

9.h3 Qf2+ 10.Kh1 Qg3 {!} {IMHO, the best move of the game.}
( 10…Qh4 {?} 11.Be3 Nxc4 12.dxc4 d6 13.Nc3 {and white is fine.} )

"IMHO, the best move of the game."

“IMHO, the best move of the game.”

11.Kg1 {??} {Can you spot the mate in three?} ( 11.hxg4 Nxg4
12.Qxg4 Qxg4 )

"Can you spot the mate in three?"

“Can you spot the mate in three?”

Qh2+ 12.Kf1 Qh1+ 13.Ke2 Qxg2# 0-1

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