Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

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TomChivers
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Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by TomChivers » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:04 pm

I've been helping out at a local junior club.

I showed a few of the kids Morphy versus the Count & The Duke. It was about the right level and went down well.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for games of a similar length and level?

David Sedgwick
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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:11 pm

Teaching juniors is not my field, but about 25 years ago I used to teach some adult beginners.

Morphy v the Duke and the Count was one of two games which I used to teach them chess notation, with the game's entertainment as a bonus.

My other game, exactly the same length and somewhat similar in nature, was Larsen v Spassky, Belgrade 1970.

Richard Bates
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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by Richard Bates » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:23 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:Teaching juniors is not my field, but about 25 years ago I used to teach some adult beginners.

Morphy v the Duke and the Count was one of two games which I used to teach them chess notation, with the game's entertainment as a bonus.

My other game, exactly the same length and somewhat similar in nature, was Larsen v Spassky, Belgrade 1970.
I hope you kept Larsen's strength a secret, lest juniors should be tempted to emulate his play! ;)

Richard James
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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by Richard James » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:09 pm

Hi Tom

Before trying to answer your question, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

What sort of club is this? A junior chess club like Richmond or Barnet Knights, or a school club? How old are the children? How many are there? What is the range of playing strength? How long are the sessions? How are the sessions split between teaching time and playing time?

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure that going through a master game on a demo board is the best use of time in a junior chess club of any sort. Occasionally, perhaps, but it's not something we ever did very much when I was involved with Richmond Juniors.

As you say, if you're good at communicating with children it 'goes down well', but I tend to think that the lessons to be learnt, even from a very instructive game like Morph v Aristocratic Allies, are too abstract for young children much below about 100 strength to be able to pick up and use in their own games in any meaningful way.

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:18 pm

I recently bought up a copy of "Quick Chess Knockouts" by Julian Hodgson on eBay. This has loads (about fifty) short games which end in mate or heavy material advantage and a very wide range of openings covered.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quick-Chess-Kno ... roduct_top

TomChivers
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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by TomChivers » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:19 pm

Thanks Jon & David for the suggestions.
Richard James wrote: What sort of club is this? A junior chess club like Richmond or Barnet Knights, or a school club? How old are the children? How many are there? What is the range of playing strength? How long are the sessions? How are the sessions split between teaching time and playing time?

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure that going through a master game on a demo board is the best use of time in a junior chess club of any sort. Occasionally, perhaps, but it's not something we ever did very much when I was involved with Richmond Juniors.

As you say, if you're good at communicating with children it 'goes down well', but I tend to think that the lessons to be learnt, even from a very instructive game like Morph v Aristocratic Allies, are too abstract for young children much below about 100 strength to be able to pick up and use in their own games in any meaningful way.
The club is held weekly for two hours in the basement room of a council block in Charlton. I think there are about ten juniors usually, no-one older than twelve, sessions last two hours and are normally split by a break for orange juice half-way. There is no formal organization although the fellow who runs it does have puzzle sheets and so forth at his disposal.

I didn't use a demonstration board although there is one there. I showed the three strongest juniors the game, sitting them behind the white pieces and asking them to guess the moves. When I did it again at the end of the session they remembered some of the ideas, it seemed to me, although far from all. I don't know what their estimated strength is. None have grades as far as I know.

The reason I think it's a good idea is that from the two sessions I've been to, it's clear their concentration and enthusiasm starts to wain in the second hour. I thought it would be a good idea to try something different in that session for this reason. I am certainly open to suggestions other than guess the moves...

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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by Richard James » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:31 pm

Hi Tom

Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I think doing these games as 'guess the move' with a small group of 3 like you have there is a good idea. I don't see the point of doing it for large groups in school clubs, though. By and large, older games are more useful because they're easier to understand. Chris Briscoe sometimes uses Greco games. Older books like the two du Mont collections of miniatures are useful sources of suitable games.

Presumably they spend most of the time playing. Two hours is a long time for children of that age so you're quite right to break the session up into different activities.

Peter Sowray
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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by Peter Sowray » Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:13 pm

I really like the Alterman Gambit Guide. Lots of instructive and short games.

TomChivers
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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by TomChivers » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:20 am

Thanks Peter.

I'm not really looking to buy chess books atm though - in fact I'm slowly getting rid of mine.

So I still would appreciate any games anyone else can think of...

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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by Ljubica Lazarevic » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:09 am

If you're not too picky about the opponents, I'm sure you can find a vast array of amusing games (no offence intended, mine tend to be the disaster zones, usually self-inflicted!) from FIDE-rated tournaments on TWIC. Southend and 4NCL are two that spring to mind, and search for lower-rated opponents. You could always search for games that end in a specific number of moves.

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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by TomChivers » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:32 pm

Thanks. That reminds me - I'll probably show them this little gem:

Manfred Krueger - Hera Schoeffler, Bad Woerishofen Seniors, 2000.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Nc6 4. Nf3 Nge7 5. c3 g6 6. Bg5 a6 7. Bf6 Rg8 8. Ng5 h6 9. Nh7 b5 10. Qc1 Qd7 11. Bh8 Nf5 12. Nf6+ Kd8 1-0

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:37 pm

I think From's Gambit is a good introduction to show how weaknesses on the e1-h4 diagonal can result in an early night. Show them Fool's Mate first and then see if they can work out the win after 4.b3??

Mogusar vs Trippe, St. Louis 1984
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.b3 Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxg3+ 6.hxg3 Bxg3#

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:51 am

I'm not sure how instructive it would be for juniors, but I won a game in 9 moves once. Richard will remember it because he published it in his column in CHESS. About short games in general, I find that club players tend to overlook killer moves in the opening if they are on autopilot. I find it worthwhile, if the opening moves look like they are in the wrong order, or things look a bit loose, to invest a bit of time checking for non-obvious moves that might finish the game quickly (it's either that or the computer shows you later).

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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by Richard James » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:47 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:I'm not sure how instructive it would be for juniors, but I won a game in 9 moves once. Richard will remember it because he published it in his column in CHESS. About short games in general, I find that club players tend to overlook killer moves in the opening if they are on autopilot. I find it worthwhile, if the opening moves look like they are in the wrong order, or things look a bit loose, to invest a bit of time checking for non-obvious moves that might finish the game quickly (it's either that or the computer shows you later).
[Event "EDCA APA"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2001.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Kreuzer, Christopher"]
[Black "David, Barry"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C55"]
[PlyCount "17"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. e5 Ng4 6. Bxf7+ Kxf7 7. Ng5+ Kg8
8. Qf3 Ngxe5 9. Qd5+ 1-0

It would be interesting to ask your students what they would play for Black on move 8. My computer tells me that Bb4+ is the only move to refute White's combination.

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Re: Instructive, Entertaining Miniatures for Juniors

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:34 am

Richard James wrote:
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. e5 Ng4 6. Bxf7+ Kxf7 7. Ng5+ Kg8
8. Qf3 Ngxe5 9. Qd5+ 1-0

It would be interesting to ask your students what they would play for Black on move 8. My computer tells me that Bb4+ is the only move to refute White's combination.
Thanks, Richard! :) I have some other wins in under 20 moves from more recently (one of them involved a knight going to g4 as well), but that is probably the shortest game I've ever played. Today (can't remember what I was thinking back then) I looked at the position after 8... Bb4+ 9. c3 (without a computer) and it was interesting. The line I looked at was 9... Qe7 10. O-O dxc3 11. Qxg4 cxb2 12. Bxb2 Nxe5 13. Bxe5 Qxe5 14. Qxb4 Qxg5 15. Re1 c5 16. Qe4 g6 17. h4 Qd8

I'm sure a computer would rip that line to shreds. There are plenty of lines where White can regain a pawn (rather than be two pawns down) and still have an attack, but I'm sure Black can improve on plenty of those moves as well. In the game itself, I'd never seen 5... Ng4 before, and when 7... Kg8 was played I thought it might be worth trying to see if there was any way to take advantage of the position of Black's king.

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