I like to brag a lot about my mother. She has accomplished many amazing feats in her life, and she possesses more talent than one person should.
One of her skills is chess. She used to tour the world playing games with the brightest minds, and she was notably ranked 6th best female chess player in the U.S. in 1984.
However, despite all her years of teaching me how to play and sponsoring chess events at my schools, I never achieved the level of sophistication in the game that she did. My daughter, on the other hand, has always been fascinated by chess, and enjoys tromping the boys that dare to play her.
While driving to pick up our beloved monsters from Nature Day Camp this week, Mystyrica and I were talking about games. Thanks to her inspiration, I came up with one that might help get children started on a path to better understanding how the best and brightest got there.
Now, there are only so many opening moves, but the first several plays can make or break the game. In some ways this, could also be called “Quick Start Chess,” instead.
Here’s what you do:
- Find a famous game from any book or website (Chess Maniac has a huge list of games played by some of the most famous masters.
- Locate the first 5-8 moves of each player, depending on the length of the game.
- Separate the moves of both players, and write them down or type them out on a sheet.
- Give the opening moves of one player to one child, and the opening moves of the second player to the second child.
- The children must play their fixed moves as they are set out from the original game, but once they reach the end of their sheets, they have to figure out where to move next.
We believe that by doing this, it will give greater insight into how masters play. For additional fun, keep track of each child’s moves, and compare with the original game from which you selected your fixed openings. Where did they make the same moves? Where did they deviate? Did deviation change the outcome of the game? Did deviation make the game shorter or longer?
If you’re not familiar with chess notation, Wikipedia has some details on how to read Algebraic Chess Notation, and you can print off your own score sheets here.
Give it a try and let us know how it worked out for your group!