NEW: MAY 2012. Why everything you thought you knew about junior chess is wrong. A hard-hitting critique of what's happening in junior chess in the UK (much of which is applicable in the USA, Canada etc.) first published on the Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog which has already attracted much interest.
A new series of essays (2011) on various aspects of chess teaching and children's chess.
I have written two articles on chess and children, both of which were first published in the English magazine CHESS in 2003. An article based on them was published in The Chess Instructor 2009 (Ed. Bosch & Giddins) published by New In Chess.
They are available here in pdf format (you need Acrobat Reader to read them) and will be of interest to parents and teachers.
CHESS, PIAGET AND POLGAR When is the best age for children to start chess? How do children learn chess, and how should they be taught? Why do so many children fail to make progress after the first year or two? Why do so many children give up chess so soon? What are the REAL benefits of chess for children? These are just some of the questions addressed in this influential paper.
CHESS THINKING SKILLS IN CHILDREN Every move of every game of chess you have to make a decision. To choose between maybe 30, 40 or more different moves. You success at chess depends on how good you are at making these decisions. More than 70 children of different ages and playing strengths were asked how they would decide on their move in eight positions. The results indicate the different methods of thinking used by children of different ages and levels of experience, and point towards how we can improve our methods of teaching and presenting chess to young children.
Back in 1998 I wrote another article which is reproduced here. Much has changed - including my views - since then, but it is still worth considering. I am planning further articles to bring my views up to date. Watch this space!
Please note that these papers relate to my experiences teaching in England. The situation is different in the United States, and, no doubt, in other countries as well.
For those of you unfamiliar with the English education system, Primary Schools cater for children from 5 to 11, and are split into Infant Schools (5-7) and Junior Schools (7-11). Secondary Schools usually cover ages 11-18. (This is how the state system works. There are some differences in the private sector.) Year 1 is roughly the equivalent of K Grade, Year 2 of 1st Grade, Year 3 of 2nd Grade and so on. So children in Year 3 will be aged between 7 and 8.
You can download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader for free HERE.