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Karel van Delft and Merijn van Delft

Developing Chess Talent

2010 Karel van Delft, Merijn van Delft
First Dutch edition 2008
First English edition 2010
ISBN 978-90-79760-02-2
'Developing Chess Talent' is a translation of the Dutch book
'Schaaktalent ontwikkelen', a publication by KVDC
KVDC is situated in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, and can be reached
Cover photo: Training session Youth Meets Masters by grandmaster
Artur Yusupov. Photo Fred Lucas:
Translation: Peter Boel
Layout: Henk Vinkes
Printing: Wbhrmann Print Service, Zutphen
Foreword by Artur Yusupov
Al Top-class sport
Al.1 Educational value
Al.2 Time investment
Al.3 Performance ability
A1.4 Talent
Al. 5 Motivation
A2 Social environment
A2.1 Psychology
A2.2 Personal development
A2.3 Coach
A2.4 Role of parents
A3 Techniques
A3.1 Goal setting
A3.2 Training programme
A3.3 Chess diary
A3.4 Analysis questionnaire
A3.5 A cunning plan!
A3.6 Experiments
A3.7 Insights through games
A3.8 Rules of thumb and mnemonics
A4 Skills
A4.1 Self-management
A4.2 Mental training
A4.3 Physical factors
A4.4 Chess thinking
A4.5 Creativity
A4.6 Concentration
A4.7 Flow
A4.8 Tension
A4.9 Time management
A4.10 Objectivity
A4.11 Psychological tricks
A4.12 Development process
A4.13 Avoiding blunders
A4.14 Non-verbal behaviour
AS Miscellaneous
A5.1 Chess as a subject in primary school
A5.2 Youth with adults
A5.3 Women's chess
A5.4 Biographies and interviews
B1 Organizing trainings
Bl.l Structure and culture
Blo2 Computers and the Internet
Blo3 Individual trainer
Bl.4 Mentor
Bl.5 Guest trainers
Blo6 Self-fulfilling prophecy and selection
Bl.7 Youth player as a trainer
Blo8 Training partners
Blo9 Team training
B2 Didactics
B2.1 Introduction
B2.2 Training group
B2.3 Trainer
B2.4 Training plan
B2.5 Motivation to learn
B2.6 Contents
B2.7 Methods
B2.8 Study environment
B2.9 Duration and frequency
B2.10 Keeping order
B2.11 Supporting activities and tools
B3 Training components
B3.1 Tactics
B3.2 Strategy
B3.3 Opening
B3.4 Middlegame
B3.5 Endgame
B3.6 Annotated games
B3.7 Variation calculation
B3.8 Endgame studies
B4 Practical play
B4.1 Visiting tournaments
B4.2 Time-controls
B4.3 Supervision during tournaments
B4.4 Preparation
B4.5 Playing games
B4.6 Analysis 75
B4.7 Analysis examples 79
85 Training tools
B5.1 Computer programs 89
B5.2 Building up databases with own games and positions 89
B5.3 Dangers of computer usage 92
B5.4 Chess magazines 92
B5.5 Chess books
B5.6 Browsing 93
B5.7 Chess movies 93
B5.8 Chess CD-ROMs and DVD's 93
B5.9 Internet sites
B5.10 Chess on the Internet 94
86 Training procedures
B6.1 Pawn structure 94
B6.2 Seven-column notation 95
B6.3 Correspondence chess 95
B6.4 Visualization of move sequences 96
B6.5 Theme tournament 97
B6.6 Game quiz 97
B6.7 Training decathlon 97
B6.8 Chess puzzles 100
B6.9 Psychological tips 100
B6.10 Simultaneous display 100
B6.11 Tactical exercises contest 102
B6.12 Talent day
B6.13 Chess variants 105
B6.14 Fairy tale books
B6.15 Winner stays on
87 Miscellaneous
B7.1 Monday-evening training
B7.3 Two- or three-dimensional training
B7.4 Training with Dvoretsky
B7.5 Chess and autism
Cl Organization
C1.1 Top-class sport and recreational sport
C1.2 Chess club or foundation
C1.3 Policy plan
C1.4 Costs
C1.5 Volunteers
C1.6 Calendar
C1. 7 Evaluation, second opinion
C2 Communication
C2.1 The importance of communication
C2.2 Inquiry
C2.3 Contacts with the media
C2.4 Press release
C2.5 Email newsletters
C2.6 Internet site
C2.7 Flyer, poster
C2.8 Making a CD-ROM or a DVD
C2.9 Club bulletin
C2.10 Sponsors
C2.11 Live commentary
C2.12 Chess newspaper
C2.13 Chess stand on a market or a festival
C3 Tournaments and events
C3.1 Weekend tournament
C3.2 Blitz tournament and rapid tournament
C3.3 Tournament scenario
C3.4 Chess festival
C3.5 Chess party
C4 Youth chess
C4.1 School chess club
C4.2 School competition
C4.3 Youth chess tournaments
C4.4 Chess camp
CS Miscellaneous
C5.1 Creative Tournament
C5.2 The Chess Experience
C5.3 Three-day chess event in Apeldoorn
C5.4 Youth Meets Masters
C5.5 Match of Champions with live commentary
C5.6 Lightning Chess Foundation
D1 David Bronstein
D2 Loek van Wely
D3 Artur Yusupov
D4 Jan Timman
D5 Rob Hartoch
E1 Anal ysis questionnaire 175
E2 Score form Youth Meets Masters 180
E3 Points of attention for a consultation about (self-)training 182
E4 List of psychological tips
E5 Keywords tournament planning
E6 Scenario weekend tournament
E7 Subjects for a parents meeting
E8 Study guide SBSA youth training
E9 The SBSA Youth Academy project in Apeldoorn
E10 Training with diagrams or board positions
Ell Tasks of a team captain
E12 Inquiry youth section De Schaakmaat

Foreword by Artur Yusupov
The first time I heard about Karel van Delft and his chess activities in Apeldoorn
was from my chess mentor Mark Dvoretsky. He recommended me to visit the
place. In 1999 I received a phone call from Karel, who invited me to give some
chess l essons in Apeldoorn. It would be the frst time, but not the last, that I
stayed in Karel's house. Of course his son Merijn, now an international master,
also attended the workshops. I slept in the so called Bronstein suite, a small
bedroom in which David Ionovich Bronstein once spent a few nights.
The chess atmosphere in the house was very impressive. Somehow I had the
feeling that there was a chess player in each corner of the house, because many
young chess players who attented trainings also stayed in Karel's home. I was
very impressed by the chess concept in Apeldoorn: the young players were not
only learning some chess ideas from a grandmaster, they were also asked by
Karel to give chess lessons to local kids themselves!
I liked the atmosphere so much that I tried to visit Apeldoorn every year. The
next opportunity was the so-called 'Chess Experience' week, in which youth
teams from Germany and Israel and two teams from the Netherlands pl ayed
each other and took lessons together from Mark Dvoretsky, Yochanan Afek and
me. Later I even started to play for the local team, Schaakstad Apeldoorn.
Recently, after almost ten years of our friendship, we were looking at old
pictures in a photo album. I was very pleased to see that many of our students
from the first training sessions had become strong players. Some are even
strong grandmasters now. Just to mention some names: Jan Gustafsson, Daniel
Stellwagen and Sipke Ernst.
In this book you will fnd a lot of ideas about the development of chess talent
and about the creation and stimulation of a local chess culture. Karel and Merijn
explain their views and share their experiences in the area of training young
talents, coaching pupils, organizing chess events, and communicating and
transmitting information to the chess audience.
The reader will fnd many useful topics and answers to many practical questions:
what is the role of the parents, how to stimulate creativity, how to develop self
management, how to analyse your own games, and even: how to organize a
weekend tournament ...
Karel has worked with young kids for many years. In this book he gives a lot
of tips for coaches. I like the part of the book where Karel interviews several
grandmasters and trainers about ways to develop chess talent. Karel and
Merijn look not only at technical aspects of the training, they also study the
psychological aspects of coaching.
The quite unique thing in the Apeldoorn chess culture is that everbody gets
involved in the chess activities: from beginner to grandmaster! This is reflected
in the weekly SBSA email messages, which are sent to more than 600 recipients.

There are several good traditional events in Apeldoorn, such as Youth Meets
Masters, which contribute to the special popularity of chess here. Karel is the
motor behind the Apeldoorn chess culture and his practical advice can be very
useful for chess organizers.
Being a chess parent himself, Karel knows about all the problems that parents
can have in trying to help their talented kids along the difficult road of self
improvement. This book is strongly recommended for chess trainers, chess
parents and chess organizers. And of course for the chess talents themselves!
Grandmaster and FIDE Senior Trainer Artur Yusupov
How do you develop chess talent, and how do you go about developing a chess
culture locally? In this book we discuss subjects in the areas of coaching, training,
organization and communication. It is the story of a voyage of discovery,
a journey riddled with successes, failures, and, time and again, fascinating
encounters with a multitude of chess players.
This journey began in 1990, when 11-year-old Merijn van Delft was allowed
to join a school team at the school chess championships of Apeldoorn. At the
age of 6, he had learned the rules of the game from his father Karel. This took
place on Saturdays in a cafe, after a morning of shopping on the market. At the
school championship, the battle with Marijn Visschedijk, who was three years
younger, was blood-curdling. Merijn managed to draw a rook ending with a
pawn less. At that time we could not suspect that both players would become
national youth champions later on.
This was an experience worth repeating. Merijn wanted to learn to play better,
and Karel broadened his knowledge of sport psychology and the organization
of training sessions. Merijn became a member of the club De Schaakmaat
('The Chess Mate' ) in Apeldoorn, but the club's youth competition, which was
held on Saturday mornings, could not be combined with his soccer activities.
At home, Merijn exercised tactics from books of the Step-by-Step Method by
Dutch 1M Cor van Wijgerden and Rob Brunia. Karel formed a training group,
which consisted of Merijn and a couple of friends. One of the first subjects of
study was the book 'Judgement and Planning in Chess' by Dr Max Euwe. With
multiple Dutch junior champion Marc Jonker, Merijn analysed his own games in
one-hour sessions once a week. They kept this up for several years. Merijn also
visited many tournaments.
Since there were more young players in Apeldoorn who wanted to be trained,
Marc Jonker, Renate Limbach (who, sadly, would later on pass away at a very
young age) and Karel van Delft set up a youth training system which would last
for about 5 years.
Contacts were established with (grand)masters and other strong players, who
gave training sessions in Apeldoorn and often stayed the night. Guests came
from Belorussia, China, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Israel, Uzbekistan, Engl and,
Germany, Georgia, Poland, and a few other countries. Those contacts were
easily made. During a world championship in Groningen, a brief conversation
with Mark Dvoretsky led to an exchange of emails, and during the annual
Liberation tournament in the nearby town of Wageningen, Baruch Kolthoff had
struck up a conversation with David Bronstein. Many top-class chess players
turned out to be normal human beings who had a telephone number and an
email address.
With, among others, David Bronstein, Loek van Wely, Mark Dvoretsky and
Artur Yusupov, the development of chess talent was discussed. A number of talks
were done in the shape of interviews. Karel had the idea that those interviews
might contribute to the development of a multi-faceted chess culture, and that
young players would be stimulated by contacts with top-class players. There
were many talks with many chess players. For example with Yochanan Afek,
who gave many trainings and gladly shared his rich experience with Apeldoorn
trainers and organizers. It didn't take long before Merijn achieved his first
results. At 16, he became Dutch champion in his age category, and in 2003 he
became an International master.
In 1998, Cees Visser, Merijn van Delft and Karel van Delft started the SBSA,
which is short for 'Stichting Bevorderen Schaken Apeldoorn' ('Foundation for
the Promotion of Chess in Apeldoorn'). This gave rise to numerous initiatives.
A number of those activities will be mentioned in this book. The foundation
cooperates closely with chess clubs and school chess clubs in Apeldoorn.
SBSA supported the initiatives by the local clubs SVA and ASG to merge into
Schaakstad Apeldoorn (i.e. 'Chess City Apeldoorn'). This concentration of forces,
together with the attraction of sponsors, resulted in the recruitment of a team
that now competes on the highest level in the Dutch national club competition.
Karel was the team captain for six years, then Merijn took over for four years.
The bottom line is that approximately half of the players must originate from
Apeldoorn, and that players 'from outside' should also participate in local
tournaments and give youth trainings. Today, a handful of youth players from
Apeldoorn have made it to the first or second team of Schaakstad Apeldoorn,
and various national youth titles have been won.
In this book, with 'the development of chess talent' we mean: reaching the
height of your powers. Performance ability is a resultant of talent, training
circumstances, motivation, physical condition and mental skills. This book is
aimed at trainers, coaches, organizers, youth players and their parents, and
others who may be interested. Many of our readers may be standing at the
beginning of a journey that is similar to the one we started all those years ago.
Our coaching philosophy presupposes a considerable sense of responsibility
with young players for their own development and results. We believe that good
training contributes to a successful personal development. At the board, chess
is an individual sport. But in a broader sense, chess is teamwork, and it offers
the possibility to meet many people and acquire new insights.
Chess players differ in talent, age, gender, character, motivation, style of
learning, available possibilities, experiences, etcetera. The chess player does
not exist. Certain pOints of advice in this book may be more relevant in certain
phases of development or for certain individuals, and less for others. If we
give novice chess players the advice to apply certain verbal rules of thumb,
we realize at the same time that a grandmaster's thinking is less verbal, and
more space-oriented. However, sometimes you have to be taught something
explicitly in words in order to make progress, whereas at a later stage you will
learn less verbal and more differentiated.
This book does not hand the reader recipes, but it does provide ingredients
for talent development and the creation of a chess culture. You can apply the
contents to your own situation, and use what is useful for you. Many aspects
of chess development intertwine. To dissect them is, in our opinion, the
best way to make these aspects easier to grasp. This approach will now and
then lead to repetition, but this will make for easier reading. You cannot be
conscious of an abundance of advice all the time, and you don't have to. You
can incorporate your insights into your daily routines, and then you will start
using them automatically after a while. The information in this book serves as a
springboard and a signpost for young players who want to develop further. With
the help of their trainer, their coach or their parents they can solve their own
puzzle with this information. In this book we will often use the terms 'trainer'
and 'coach' alternately. These duties overlap, and they are often performed by
one and the same person. We will always choose the term which best suits the
subject under discussion.
We have been able to consult a great number of youth players, parents,
trainers, coaches and strong players. We are very grateful to them for their
cooperation. We thank Willy Hendriks for his permission to include his article
on the SBSA Youth Academy here, and also Dharma Tjiam for his contribution
to the Apeldoorn Analysis Questionnaire. We thank Yochanan Afek and Harold
van der Heijden for their permission to publish their endgame studies, Arne Moll
and Roeland Pruijssers for their game analyses, Peter Boel for the translation,
Henk Vinkes for doing the layout, and Sipke Ernst for his contribution as editor.
We also thank Fred Lucas, Cocky van Delft, Cobie Joustra and Ferdi Kuipers
for their pictures and Trix Meurs for her drawing. Pictures without credits are
mostly by Karel van Delft. Above all we thank Artur Yusupov, with whom we
have had many inspiring conversations about the contents of this book.
We invite you to visit our site
Reactions are welcome via email to
Karel van Delft
Merijn van Delft
Rcdactie: !1arijn Visst:hc
dijk en Merijl1 vun Delft
Reda(ticadrcs: Elcgust
gaarde 15. 7329 AJ Apel
I Jk z&1 mlj en'" voor5tellen lk
ben Marijn VlsschedlJk ('n ik
ben flf ]u1.In d7t' rllbll(k v('r-
tellk uverhl't ]vHgtlt1KtD hJt
twaallja31. Zf'lft)11 ik dnekccr
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dc OoslehJke Schulikbcmc\ OS
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komplcn InJulibcnlknaurht't
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la:lr mag lk W\ 'r mH
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I 11


T _
I Jeugdschaak rubriek i
, Apeldoorns Stadsblad
Vanaf vandaag verschljnt er elke lwee weken n schaakru
briek in het Apeldoors Stadsblad, Deze rubriek wordt ge
schreven dor MariJn Visschedijk (:)en Merljn van Delft (14),
Detitelluidt 'ApeldoorngJeugd,<haak', Derubrl ekwordtaf
gewisseld met 'Soia Ie verieuwing en ouderen'.
Marijn Visschdijk bespreekt partljen van ApeJdoomse jeugd
spelers van de baslsschooleeftjd e Merljn van Delft he
spreekt schaaartijen van de oudere jeugr. Zowel Marijn als
Merljn spelen bij de jeugdafdellng van De Schaakmaat, Ma
li;n tra intregelmatig met ex-Nederlands dameskampioen Re
nate Limbach en MerlJn met ex-NederJands jeugdkampioen
Ma rc Jonker. Merijn speeJt ook nog in de volwassenen-compe
titie van het Apeldooms Schaakgenootshap ASG,
Van schaken hebben ze aHebci weI enig.zins verstand: Marijn
is Nederland.
s meisjekampioen tot twaa If ]aren Medjn ein
digde ongeslagen als vierde op het Open Neuet|ancs kam
pioenschap tot en met vrtien jaar.
In hun eersle bljdrage tonen ze ter introuctle een partij van
zlchzelf, Marjn lut een partij zien legen Dirk-Jan ter Hort
van De Tuwladder en Merijn tegen de voonnaHg (drievoudig)
Apeldorns kamploen W Sanders, I aile bscheidenheid i
t?h maarvor gewonnen
partijengekozen.ln vervolgafleve
rmgen besprek
en ze parti)en van andere Apeldor jeugd
s. Dat ZJn er n8

schattmg zon duizend. Als 'toetje'


e regelmahg JeugdtoeroOlen en wedstriJden aan

dledemoelte van het bekijken waardzij n. Wleeen interessante
partlj wU laten bespreken. kan dezesturn nasr het ractie
adreg; Apeldooms Jeugdschaak, Elegastgaarde 15, 7329 AH
lN lCU-KHQ1tD6I1u[. In
dht t.l lll zl1tcn \'crder ,Ianku
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Mer|n van 0elftas a member oIaschooI's

A1 Top-class sport
A1.l Educational value
Top-cl ass sport can offer many good thi ngs: experi ences, fri endshi ps, pri zes,
soci al recogn i ti on and surpri si ng, someti mes even paradoxi cal i nsi ghts. To
devel op a speci al i sm at a young age has many advantages. Chess contri butes
posi ti vel y to the educati on of peopl e. Cogni ti ve ski l l s l i ke research, cal cul ati on
and reasoni ng are i mportant i n other areas of l i fe as wel l . Al so, soci al ski l l s are
devel oped, such as resi l i ence, perseverance, self- respect and respect for the
opponent, the abi l i ty to formul ate thoughts and exchange thoughts wi th others.
Trai ni ng i n groups and vi si ti ng touna ments together i s fun, and i t sti mul ates the
devel opment of cogni ti ve and soci al ski l l s.
A1.2 Time investment
Wel l - moti vated young pl ayers can pl ay chess for ten to more than twenty hours
a week wi thout any probl em. Especi al l y i f thi s is i nstead of the twenty hours that
many youths spend i n front of the tel evi si on or a game computer. Thi s i s true
for teenagers, and someti mes al so for chi l dren from ei ght years ol d or so. Four
year-ol ds can al ready l earn the moves and then pl ay a game where both si des
have one pi ece, when the tri ck i s to capture the opponent's pawns. If chi l dren
take pl easure i n thi s game, they wi l l l ater automati cal l y pl ay chess more often .
Chi l dren a n d teenagers are capabl e of much more than i s often expected from
them, and most of the ti me they are perfectl y capabl e of i ndi cati ng themsel ves
how much ti me they can - and want to - spend on trai ni ngs and sel f-study.
Chess study i s i nspi ri ng i f trai ni ngs are vari ed, i f they yi el d new i nsi ghts and
ski l l s, i f there i s room for creati ve thi nki ng and fun, and i f researchi ng ski l l s are
devel oped . Thi s appl i es to trai ni ngs i n group sessi ons, but al so to i ndi vi dual
study. One condi ti on i s that the study materi al and the exerci ses are i n l i ne wi th
the i nterests and the devel opment l evel of the parti ci pants. For any form of top
cl ass sport, twenty hours per week i s a normal ti me i nvestment. Some peopl e
see thi s as monomani acal . But thi s i s not necessari l y the case, as l ong as there
is a wel l -thought-out scheme for trai ni ngs and competi ti ons. If you want to
reach to the top, you're goi ng to have to i nvest ti me. If we cal cul ate properly,
we see that most grandmasters, l i ke other top-cl ass sporters, have i nvested at
l east 10,000 hours i n thei r careers : ten years ti mes ffty weeks ti mes twenty
1 7
A1.3 Performance ability
Performance abi l i ty i s a resu l tant of tal ent, trai ni ng ci rcumstances, moti vati on,
physi cal condi ti on and mental ski l l s. Coi nci dence al so pl ays a rol e. The worl d
i s ful l of tal ent, but i t makes a l ot of di fference i f a young pl ayer grows up
i n an envi ronment where there i s much scope for devel opment. Wi th onl y
performance abi l i ty you won't get there. Tal ent devel opment al so means hard
work - putti ng i n hours. The good news i s that thi s can be fun if you go about
i t i n a wel l -thought-out way.
Al.4 Talent
Tal ent means havi ng the capaci ty to devel op certai n necessary ski l l s - havi ng
devel opi ng potenti al . Wi th onl y tal ent you cannot achi eve anythi ng. A pl ant that
does not get any water, wi l l wi ther. You have to devel op these ski l l s. Thi s takes
quite some effort . You have to trai n, gai n experi ence i n competi ti ons, and you
have to i nternal i ze these experi ences. In chess, i mportant cogni ti ve ski l l s are
cal cul ati on, pattern recogni ti on, creati ve thi nki ng and systemati c reasoni ng . A
good memory is al so i mportant. Besi des these, a real i sti c sel f- i mage and good
sel f-management pl ay a l arge rol e too. They form the basi s for sel f-confi dence,
the abi l i ty to assess si tuati ons objecti vel y, concentrati on, the courage to take
i ni ti ati ves, deci si veness and resi l i ence.
You can devel op tal ent i f ci rcumstances al l ow thi s. You need, for exampl e, a
chessboard and a good trai ner. For devel opment, i ntri nsi c moti vati on is al so of
i nfl uence, whi ch means that you do somethi ng because you yoursel f want to do
i t. Intri nsi cal l y moti vated chess pl ayers can be recogni zed by the twi nkl i ng i n
thei r eyes i f they see a beauti ful chess posi ti on. I n order to devel op tal ent, you
must start at a young age. There are so-cal l ed ' sensi ti ve peri ods' whi ch are best
sui ted for devel opi ng certai n qual i ti es. From the age of about four, chi l dren can
start pl ayi ng chess. That i s certai nl y not too earl y. At that age they have al ready
compl eted as compl i cated a task as l earni ng a l anguage.
Just l i ke a l anguage, chess consi sts of a compl ex body of i nformati on, wi th
i ts own characteri sti cs and rul es. Chess i s comparabl e to a l anguage. Opi ni ons
di ffer as regards the extent to whi ch tal ent i s i nnate ( nature) or acqui red
( nurture) . However, i t i s cl ear that the brai n potenti al of peopl e i s al most al ways
devel oped far from opti mal l y, and that anyone who wants to can devel op hi s
own tal ent further. The a mount of tal ent i s a gi ven - maki ng opti mum use of i t
i s a chal l enge.
A1.S Motivation
Bei ng moti vated means that you want to achi eve somethi ng . We di fferenti ate
between i ntri nsi c and extri nsi c moti vati on . I ntri nsi c moti vati on means that
you l i ke to occupy yoursel f wi th an acti vi ty because of that acti vi ty i tsel f; wi th
extri nsi c moti vati on we mean that you do somethi ng for an external reward.
One i mportant task of a trai ner i s to create a fasci nati on for the game by
demonstrati ng the beauty of i t, and by a l l owi ng hi s pupi l to experi ence hi s
own devel opi ng opportuni ti es. Trai ni ngs and competi ti ons shoul d be fun and
they shoul d be a chal l enge. I f a young pl ayer i s not enj oyi ng trai ni ngs and
1 8
competi ti ons, somethi ng i s wrong .
Young pl ayers need to be taught sel f-di sci pl i ne; they shoul d understand
that i t i s i mportant that they study regul arl y, exerci se thei r ski l l s and acqui re
knowl edge. For exampl e, you must exerci se tacti cs on a dai l y basi s, j ust l i ke
you brush your teeth dai l y. ' I don't feel l i ke i t' is not a good reason . You can
expl ai n to chi l dren that they themsel ves wi l l not accept it if thei r parents ' don't
feel l i ke' dri vi ng them to tournaments by car. A deal i s a deal - ei ther you want
to pl ay chess on a certai n l evel or you don't, and i f you do want i t, you wi l l
have to make some sacrifices for i t. Of course, these thi ngs are negoti abl e - for
exampl e, the ti me of day when tacti cal exerci ses are made. What is conveni ent?
Immedi atel y after school or earl y i n the morni ng? If a chi l d can make choi ces
for i tsel f and is partl y responsi bl e for its own trai ni ng schedul e, i t wi l l be much
better moti vated to fol l ow thi s up than i f someone el se deci des thi s for the
chi l d. Whi ch i s j ust as wel l , si nce a good chess pl ayer i s a sel f- wi l l ed ( young)
i ndi vi dual .
The way i n whi ch chess trai ni ngs are gi ven and the course of tournaments
can ei ther i ncrease or destroy moti vati on . Good ci rcumstances for trai ni ngs are
a sti mul ati ng soci al and physi cal envi ronment, cl ear feedback on achi evements,
i nteresti ng study materi al , attai nabl e ( i ntermedi ate) goa l s, vari ety, i nteracti ve
procedures and responsi bi l i ty. I n competi ti ons a suffi ci ent a mount of success
experi ences i s necessary. A sti mul ati ng soci al envi ronment consi sts of emphati c
parents, fri ends to trai n wi th, a cl ub wi th a good atmosphere and an enthusi asti c
trai ner. A sti mul ati ng physi cal envi ronment consi sts of, a mong others, a qui et
pl ayi ng venue and a trai ni ng room where it i s easy to concentrate.
It i s a good thi ng for coaches, trai ners a nd parents to real i ze what the
moti ves of a youth pl ayer are to practi se a sport at a certai n l evel . Adul ts may
make out for thei r chi l dren that pl ayi ng chess, or, for i nstance, badmi nton,
i s good for them, but i t i s better to ask them what they themsel ves thi nk.
Chi l dren can have a n u mber of moti ves for pl ayi ng chess : curi osi ty t o di scover
a new game, enjoyment of the game, stri vi ng for a certai n competence l evel
(the wi l l to wi n) and soci al contacts . Several of these moti ves can pl ay a rol e
si mul taneousl y. Intri nsi c moti vati on i s a much better motor for devel opment
than extri nsi c moti vati on. I nteresti ng posi ti ons can conti nue to fasci nate, but
at a certai n poi nt wi nni ng a medal i sn't worth the i nvestment of several hours'
study any more. When you gi ve rewards, i t i s usefu l to ask yoursel f i f you
are feedi ng i ntri nsi c or extri nsi c moti vati on. Young chi l dren l ove trophi es and
medal s, but promi si ng them an i ce cream or a chocol ate bar i f they wi n i s al so
fi ne. Ol der youth pl ayers prefer to pl ay for money pri zes . No probl em. However,
i f the beauty of the game i tsel f is not the chi ef moti vator, thei r moti vati on wi l l
fade away i n t he l ong run .
A2 Social environment
A2.1 Psychology
Psychol ogy is the sci ence that studi es the way peopl e thi nk, feel and behave.
By studyi ng thi nki ng, feel i ng and behavi our you wi l l get better at descri bi ng,
expl ai ni ng, predi cti ng and i nfl uenci ng these phenomena. I nsi ghts deri ved from
psychol ogy can be appl i ed i n chess vi a :
more effci ent and effecti ve trai ni ng
more effi ci ent and effecti ve behavi our duri ng games
the devel opment of a sti mul ati ng chess cul tu re.
Trai ners and coaches can pass on psychol ogi cal i nsi ghts t o young chess pl ayers.
Thi s works best i f i t i s connected t o t hei r own experi ence, i f i t i s presented
transparentl y and concretel y, i f i t i s appl i cabl e and taught i n doses. Young
pl ayers often fi nd psychol ogi cal i nsi ghts i nteresti ng . If these are di scussed i n
group trai ni ngs, they wi l l qui ckl y regard i t as normal , and then young pl ayers
wi l l not be ashamed of thei r psychol ogi cal shortcomi ngs. Just l i ke you can tal k
about shortcomi ngs i n your openi ng repertoi re, you can al so di scuss fai l ure i n
sel f-management together ( see al so t he paragraph on sel f-management) .
Here i s a ni ce game: menti on a proverb and expl ai n what it has to do wi th
chess. For exampl e : Don't sel l the ski n ti l l you've caught the bear. We can
transl ate thi s i nto chess terms as: keep concentrati ng, even i f your posi ti on i s
objecti vel y wi nni ng . A trai ner can wri te down new i nsi ghts i n trai ni ng reports.
Thi s wi l l eventual l y provi de the trai nees wi th a checkl i st wi th whi ch they can
assess thei r performance.
A2.2 Personal development
It is good for young pl ayers to devel op i ntrospecti on and to have responsi bi l i ti es.
Thi s contri butes to thei r personal devel opment and thei r abi l i ty to perform on
the chessboard. It i s i mportant for ambi ti ous young pl ayers to bear as much
as possi bl e responsi bi l i ty for thei r own devel opment. Thi s i nvol ves di al ogues
wi th trai ners and trai ni ng partners, but al so acti vi ti es l i ke trai ni ng begi nners
themsel ves, or wri ti ng arti cl es for the cl ub bul l eti n or for a websi te. By gi vi ng
l essons yoursel f, or publ i shi ng a game anal ysi s, you force yoursel f to thi nk
careful l y about your i nsi ghts and to put them i nto words. Thi s wi l l i ncrease
your understandi ng and, consequentl y, your performance abi l i ty. Moreover,
teachi ng chess at a l ower l evel is a useful way to repeat al l ki nds of themes.
Teachi ng i s i mportant for the devel opment of your soci al and communi cati ve
ski l l s, and it contri butes to a real i sti c and posi ti ve sel f- i mage. Thi s wi l l i mprove
your sel f-management duri ng games and is al so i mportant for bei ng successful
i n everyday l i fe.
The Hungari an psychol ogi st/pedagogue and chess trai ner Laszl o Pol gar, the
father of three successful daughters, al so stresses that i t i s i mportant for an
ambi ti ous young pl ayer to be partl y responsi bl e for hi s own devel opment. In
thi s context he uses the term ' co-author of your own upbri ngi ng'.
A2.3 Coach
Coachi ng is supervi si on . There are vari ous coachi ng styl es. A coach or a trai ner
can assi gn tasks to a pupi l , but i t i s much more producti ve i f a coach cooperates
wi th a young sportsman on the same l evel . Thi s i s al ready possi bl e at a qui te
young age. The sportsman i s responsi bl e for hi s own acti ons, and the coach
has an advi sory rol e. Thi s contri butes to an opti mum sel f-awareness and a
posi ti ve sel f- i mage. The sporter i s the di rector of hi s own performance. Thi s
sti mul ates hi s i ntri nsi c moti vati on . Vi a di al ogues, the coach can sti mul ate the
sporter to devel op hi msel f, usi ng hi s own knowl edge, i nsi ghts and experi ence.
Thi s i nvol ves both techni cal ski l l s and personal ski l l s l i ke i ntrospecti on, sel f
control , creati vi ty, communi cati ve abi l i ti es and a sense of responsi bi l i ty.
A good coach i s empathi c, i . e. he i s abl e to empathi ze wi th the sportsman and
feel s i nvol ved . The coach and the sportsman can, by mutual agreement, draw
up a trai ni ng programme together. Experi ence shows that strong pl ayers who
have not had a di dacti c educati on but are empathi c can sti l l be good trai ners
and coaches. Thi s i s certai nl y the case wi th i ndi vi dual trai ni ng and supervi si on .
If trai ners and coaches communi cate thei r own i nsi ghts and experi ences i n
a cl ear manner, i f they are i nterested i n thei r pupi l s and confront them wi th
criti cal questi ons ( whi ch l ead to self- refecti on) , then they can pass on a great
deal of knowl edge and i nsi ghts about the game and about sel f- management
duri ng game analysi s.
Trai ners and coaches have thei r own i nterests. For i nstance, a trai ner
enjoys shari ng hi s fasci nati on for the sport wi th others, passi ng on knowl edge,
understandi ng and experi ence, and researchi ng posi ti ons wi th wel l - moti vated
young pl ayers. Trai ners and coaches may al so be i nterested i n gai ni ng access
to the worl d of top-cl ass sports vi a thei r pupi l s. However, a coach or trai ner's
competi ti ve spi ri t shoul d never stand i n the way of the pl ayi ng pl easure and
the devel opment of youth pl ayers. Herman Grooten, an experi enced chess
trai ner and former top-cl ass sport coordi nator for the Dutch Chess Federati on
KNSB, observes that i n The Netherl ands he i s seei ng an i ncreasi ng number of
youth trai ners who l i nk the successes of thei r pupi l s wi th thei r own ego. 'It i s
a wel l - known pi tfal l to l i nk the resul ts of your own pupi l to the sel f- esteem of
trai ner and pupi l ', he cl ai ms. 'I al ways warn agai nst thi s phenomenon duri ng my
trai ners' courses, but my advi ce seems to fall on deaf ears. A l i ttl e more sel f
refecti on woul d be i n order here. '
It is i mportant for a trai ner to al l ow hi s pupi l s some room to devel op thei r
own styl e. He can hel p them di scover the weaknesses i n thei r pl ay and offer
them trai ni ng materi al that focuses on those weaknesses, he can gi ve hi nts
about thei r pl ay, but i t is al together wrong to strai tj acket them i ntel l ectual l y.
Moreover, i n the l ong run thi s wi l l have a contra producti ve effect, si nce aspi ri ng
youth players shoul d take the directi on of thei r development i nto thei r own
Obvi ousl y, youth pl ayers have their weak moments. For example, they may
not feel l i ke maki ng thei r homework someti mes. A trai ner shoul d speak to them
about thi s : promi ses must be kept. On the other hand, i t i s useful to establ i sh a
'smal l change' rul e: for i nstance, you can agree that a sportsman is al l owed to
miss ten percent of the trai ni ngs or the homework. You cannot burn the candl e
at both ends, and there wi l l al ways be practi cal probl ems at certai n moments.
Such arrangements contri bute to the abi l i ty of youth pl ayers to bear thei r own
responsi bi I i ti es.
A2.4 Role of parents
The worl d is ful l of young tal ents . Onl y few of them reach the top; i n puberty,
the effort and moti vati on of at l east fve out of si x sel ected tal ents decreases.
Thi s i s how i t works i n many sports. Of i nfuence a re the qual i ty of trai ni ng
ci rcumstances, the rol e of parents and soci al i nfl uences ( for i nstance, fri ends
2 1
who may or may not practi se the same sport ) . Al so, a l ack of good resul ts
can pl ay a rol e. Some exampl es of good trai ni ng faci l i ti es are : good trai ners,
suffci ent ti me for trai ni ng, trai ni ng partners of the same age and/or l evel , and
the avai l abi l i ty of good study materi al .
Wi thout parents o r other adul ts to support the chi l dren, youth pl ayers wi l l not
be abl e to reach the top. Parents determi ne to a l arge extent whether possi bi l i ti es
wi l l be wi thi n the reach of thei r chi l dren . Their rol e is to pay for trai ni ngs and
tournaments, to bring the chi l dren there, to remi nd them of arrangements,
to sti mul ate the chi l dren to study i ndependentl y, to react enthusi asti cal l y to
successes, and to l i sten to thei r accounts of their experi ences.
Top-cl ass sport demands at l east ten to fi fteen hours of trai ni ng and pl ayi ng
per week for under-ten-year-ol ds, and even more ti me for teenagers. In a pl an
for tal ent devel opment, the Dutch Ol ympi c umbrel l a organi zati on NOC*NSF
outl i nes three hours a day for physi cal sports. Experi ence teaches us that
ambi ti ous young chess pl ayers can al so easi l y work two to three hours on a
dai l y basis. It is true that now and then an 8-year-ol d becomes a nati onal
champi on in hi s category on the sol e basi s of tal ent and a few trai ni ngs. But
such successes wi l l be short- l i ved if he does not work systemati cal l y wi th
a good trai ner from then on. Besi des trai ni ngs, there are competi ti ons and
practi cal matters that need to be taken care of. Many parents ( who themsel ves
often spend hours before the tel evi si on every day) are worri ed about the ti me
i nvestment. Ofen they do not real i ze how much surpl us val ue top-cl ass sport
can have for the personal devel opment of thei r chi l dren, provi ded it i s practi sed
i n the ri ght way.
Parents of tal ented or at l east ambi ti ous youth pl ayers shoul d contempl ate thei r
rol e sel f-cri ti cal l y. Demandi ng too much of a chi l d wi l l hamper i ts performance.
On the other hand, they wi l l not be doi ng thei r chi l dren a favour i f they al l ow
them to treat thei r sport non-committal l y, for exampl e by not keepi ng thei r
appoi ntments wi th trai ners, trai ni ng partners or tournament organi zers . I t i s
fine i f parents are spectators at thei r chi l dren's games. However, they shoul d
not hang around the board of thei r chi l d al l the ti me, and they shoul d watch out
for getti ng i nvol ved i n the di scussi on about the game content afterwards. Thei r
i ntenti ons may be si ncere, but thei r chi l d wi l l feel awkward and the devel opment
of i ts own sense of responsi bi l i ty wi l l be hampered . Aski ng questi ons about a
game is fi ne, but gi vi ng comments shoul d be l eft to trai ners and other pl ayers
- unl ess the youth pl ayer asks for it hi msel f. Actual l y, young pl ayers wi l l hardl y
ever take any techni cal advi ce from thei r parents anyway, so the l atter can save
themsel ves the troubl e.
The behavi our of some parents can be frustrati ng for trai ners . They do not
mi nd paying extra subscri pti ons, expecti ng top ranki ngs ( preferabl y on the
worl d stage) , but thei r chi l d shoul d not put too much effort i n chess study
(' much too busy wi th hi s homework, he's onl y a chi l d') . I n such cases a trai ner
can j ust as wel l tel l the parents ri ght away that thei r chi l d wi l l never fnd the
way to the top. Al so, he shoul d seri ousl y consi der termi nati ng the cooperati on.
I t i s i mportant that trai ners and coaches i nvol ves parents wi th thei r chi l dren's
competi ti ve devel opment. Parents often have questi ons about top-cl ass sport
- out of i nterest or out of i gnorance. There are even some parents who cl ai m
to know i t al l . I f trai ners and coaches gi ve them wel l -thought-out answers, thi s
wi l l enabl e the parents to contri bute constructivel y to thei r chi l d's devel opment.
On competi ti on days, a trai ner or coach can have i nformal chats wi th them. Thi s
wi l l resul t i n a rel ati onshi p based on mutual trust, whi ch may someti mes l ead to
surpri si ng i nsi ghts on both si des. Trai ners and coaches can tel l the parents that
they can phone or mai l them i f they have any questi ons. Trai ners and coaches
are wel l -advi sed to poi nt out the own responsi bi l i ty of the parents to them. If
necessary, the parents shoul d contact the trai ner or coach themsel ves.
Contacts wi th parents can provi de the coach and trai ner wi th a l ot of useful
i nformati on about thei r pupi l s. Nobody knows al l the answers, not even an
expert trai ner or coach . I t i s i mportant that they are capabl e of l i steni ng wel l !
Chi l dren may be usi ng certai n medi ci ns, they may have personal probl ems,
or they may be ( sl i ghtl y) auti sti c; thei r parents may be getti ng a di vorce,
or somethi ng unpl easant may have happened at school . Al l of these factors
may i nfl uence the soci al functi oni ng of chi l dren and, consequentl y, al so thei r
concentrati on duri ng trai ni ngs and thei r performance i n competi ti ons. Many
practi cal probl ems requi re ' a cunni ng pl an' ( see a l so the paragraph under the
same ti tl e) . There i s no general reci pe for any probl em, but often a creati ve
sol uti on i s possi bl e. If parents thi nk al ong wi th the trai ner or coach, the l atter
can take proft from thi s i n many ways.
At tournaments, certai nl y events wi th young chess pl ayers, parents tal k a l ot
to each other. Here and there a ' grapevi ne' may grow, whi ch i s contra producti ve.
It is wi ser to stay away from such ' gra pevi nes'. Matters that concern al so other
parents, youth pl ayers or the sports organi zati on, can be di scussed at parents
meeti ngs, or i n a cl ub bul l eti n, i n a newsl etter or on a websi te. Duri ng a parents
meeti ng a trai ner can speak to many parents at once, whi ch saves ti me. Another
advantage i s that parents are al so confronted wi th each other's questi ons,
i deas and opi ni ons. Especi al l y i n a cl ub setti ng, such meeti ngs can contri bute
posi ti vel y to the devel opment of a sti mul ati ng chess cul ture. In 2007, SBSA
held a parents meeti ng i n Apel doorn, where Artur Yusupov was i ntervi ewed
by Karel van Del ft about tal ent devel opment. Parents of SBSA youth trai ni ng
parti Ci pants were al l owed t o ask questi ons. Of thi s meeti ng a vi deo has been
made, whi ch youth trai ni ng parti Ci pants and thei r parents l ater recei ved on
DVD. I n one of the weekl y SBSA emai l newsl etters, a summary of the i ntervi ew
has been publ i shed.
The agenda of a parents meeti ng may feature the fol l owi ng i tems: reports on
acti vi ti es, the i ntroducti on of new i ni ti ati ves, an i nventari zati on of suggesti ons,
questi ons, or an appeal for hel p wi th organi zati onal matters. I n the appendi ces
we gi ve a more extensi ve l i st of subjects. If parents make acti ve contri buti ons
to al l ki nds of organi zati onal matters, thi s wi l l ease the organi zers' task and
contri bute to a sti mul ati ng chess cul ture.
I n the end, parents are onl y human bei ngs. A chess father once tol d us that
he never vi si ts cruci al matches of hi s chi l d, as he tends to get too nervous on
such occasi ons. Another parent cl ai med that i t made hi m i l l . ' Bei ng a chess
parent i s heavy stuff', a novi ce chess father concl uded . A school chess trai ner
recounts: ' Duri ng chess matches and tournaments of my chi l dren I am often
standi ng on the si del i ne, and I noti ce the parents' negati ve i nfuences on thei r
chi l dren. I n the past few years I have watched pl enty of tal ent go down the
drai n. ' He i s a supporter of parents meeti ngs: 'After al l a parent i s the thi rd
pl ayer on the chessboard .'
A3 Techniques
A3.1 Goal setting
An ambi ti ous chess pl ayer wants to achi eve an ai m - he wants to pl ay at the
hi ghest possi bl e l evel . Onl y very few peopl e manage to become worl d champi on,
but i t can a l so be an acceptabl e ai m to end up i n the top ran ki ngs of a regi onal
champi onshi p. Everyone sets thei r own goal s. Ambi ti ons and pl easure i n pl ay
can perfectl y go hand i n hand - they can even strengthen each other. It i s
i mportant to set goal s that are real i sti c. If a youth pl ayer, hi s parents or hi s
trai ner or coach set thei r goal s too hi gh, thi s can have a very frustrati ng and
contraproducti ve effect .
At tournaments, competi ti ons and trai ni ngs, i t i s best for a youth pl ayer to
focus on performance goal s. These are real i sti cal l y chosen goal s where you
stri ve for an achi evement that i s opti mal l y attai nabl e. You take yoursel f as
a poi nt of compari son - not someone el se - and, for exampl e, you want to
i mprove your ti me management. Fear of fai l ure i s unnecessary. You have every
reason to be sel f-confdent and concentrated . If the opponent is better at thi s
poi nt, then so be i t. It's not i mportant. You want to use your own qual i ti es to
the ful l and perform opti mal l y. You want to l earn from your experi ences and
perform even better next ti me. I f young chess pl ayers focus on resul t goal s ( 1-
0) , they wi l l feel compel l ed to wi n at al l cost . Thi s can easi l y l ead to constrai ned
pl ay and fear of fai l ure. For the same reason, pep tal k ai med at resul t goal s by
a parent, trai ner or coach i s usel ess. 'You' l l wi n thi s, won't you?' i s an advi ce
gi ven wi th good i ntenti ons, but it i s empty tal k.
I t i s better to create opti mum performi ng condi ti ons, l i ke good preparati on
and a good rest before pl ay, and to gi ve practi cal ti ps . These may be about ti me
management, the choi ce of openi ng, or about taki ng a wal k before a game.
Goal setti ng i mproves your resul ts. I n order to be effecti ve, goal s must meet
the fol l owi ng cri teri a :
ai med at performance i nstead of resul t
hi gh but attai nabl e, real i sti c
chal l engi ng, resul ti ng i n an enjoyment of your sport
speci fi c, concrete
ai med at a not too di stant future
measurabl e
shoul d be fol l owed by feedback, the trai ner/coach must eval uate the
resul ts wi th the pl ayer
Havi ng sai d al l thi s, of course a pl ayer sti l l wants to become a champi on . The
fi el d of tensi on between resul t ori entati on and achi evement ori entati on can be
sol ved in a si mpl e way : at every turn your thoughts shoul d be ai med excl usi vel y
at fi ndi ng the best possi bl e move.
Experi ence teaches that a score of 7, 5 out of 9 often suffi ces for fi rst pl ace i n
a tournament. Then why shoul d you want to wi n every game? As you see, there
is even room for three draws!
If we put thi s i nto perspecti ve, a l i ttl e rel ati vi zati on is in order. A chess tal ent
devel ops by jumps. Now and then an i ncubati on peri od occurs, when newl y-
gai ned i nsi ghts are i nternal i zed, and it takes ti me before thi s is expressed i n
achi evements. I t i s i mportant to be purposi ve, but i t shoul d not be a probl em i f
thi s i s not i mmedi atel y expressed i n a hi gher rati ng. Most tal ents wi l l even fnd
that thei r rati ng remai ns l evel for a number of months.
A3.2 Training programme
Young pl ayers wi th ambi ti ons must trai n a l ot and pl ay many games. Room for
spontanei ty is i mportant: studyi ng games that you fi nd i nteresti ng can be done
at any poi nt i n ti me. However, i n order to achi eve resul ts i t i s al so necessary
to work systemati cal l y vi a a trai ni ng programme. I n such a programme the
fol l owi ng thi ngs are determi ned :
goal s ( whi ch books, col l ecti on of tacti cal exerci ses, etc. )
ti mi ng ( e. g. tacti cs before school , game anal ysi s i n the eveni ngs)
acti vi ti es (tacti cal exerci ses, annotated games, etc. )
tool s ( books, computer, etc. )
procedures ( sel f-study, wi th partner, wi th trai ner, etc. )
l ocati on ( study, cl ub venue, etc. )
It is i mportant to real i ze why you trai n l i ke you do, and to di vi de your ti me
wel l over the vari ous components. For exampl e, a trai ni ng progra mme can
be put together by drawi ng up a matri x where you wri te the week days i n
hori zontal col umns, and i n verti cal col umns you can i ndi cate subject, procedure,
ti mi ng and the a mount of ti me spent; whi ch l i terature, l ocati on, and addi ti onal
comments. Drawi ng up a trai ni ng programme is a form of goal -setti ng. It i s
advi sabl e for a youth pl ayer and hi s trai ner to draw up a trai ni ng programme
together. The trai ner has experti se and the youth pl ayer is the one for whom
the programme i s desi gned. One-way traffc from the trai ner to the pl ayer i s a
waste of ti me. A programme and a week schedul e wi l l onl y be effecti ve if the
youth pl ayer real i zes i ts use and hel ps desi gni ng i t. He shoul d feel responsi bl e
for i t and deci de for hi msel f what he wants to achi eve, and i f he wants to make
an effort for thi s. Parents must be i nvol ved i n these matters. They transport
thei r chi l dren, pay for trai ni ngs, arrange vari ous thi ngs, and they are al so a
soundi ng board for thei r chi l d. Someti mes it i s also necessary for them to
remi nd a chi l d of certai n appoi ntments it has made whi ch, consequentl y, have
to be met. If parents do not support the programme, the whol e thi ng wi l l be a
guaranteed fai l ure.
A trai ni ng programme covers a certai n peri od . Approxi mate season's
programmes and tri mester programmes can be drawn up. I n a week schedul e
thi s can be l ai d down very concretel y. Wi th i ndi vi dual trai ni ngs, the trai ner and
the pupi l can check duri ng weekl y meeti ngs if the schedul e of the past week
has been compl eted . The youth pl ayer may keep a di ary where he records
hi s l earni ng experi ences. The trai ner can l ook at these and gi ve comments.
Feedback by a trai ner on sel f-study i s i mportant: it is sti mul ati ng, and it al l ows
for an opti mum processi ng of experi ences and acqui red i nsi ghts. Al so, the way
i n whi ch the pupi l studi es and makes exerci ses can be di scussed . Next, a new
week schedul e i s drawn up.
The programme must be eval uated regul arl y and adjusted accordi ng to
experi ences, progress and new possi bi l i ti es croppi ng up. The drawi ng up of a
trai ni ng programme does not take a l ot of ti me if it is devel oped i nto a routi ne.
Besi des, i t i s useful and enj oyabl e to refl ect on experi ences. If a trai ner and hi s
pupi l eval uate experi ences and make new appoi ntments i n good consul tati on,
thi s wi l l contri bute to the pupi l 's posi ti ve sel f-i mage and to hi s devel opment
of sel f-management. It i s possi bl e that these tasks are ful fi l l ed by di fferent
peopl e. For exampl e, a parent can supervi se the week schedul e. One trai ner
can anal yse games and another strong pl ayer can fol l ow the process and gi ve
advi ce, for exampl e about the choi ce of whi ch tournaments to pl ay.
It i s i mportant that the programme i s fl exi bl e and that i t l eaves room for
spontanei ty. An opportunity to pl ay a n extra tournament may present i tsel f.
Or maybe there are enjoyabl e acti vi ti es at school , someti mes preventi ng a
youth pl ayer to pl ay chess. A chess fri end may, i n hi s enthusi asm, borrow an
i nteresti ng magazi ne or book that he wants to have a l ook at. A search on the
I nternet may yi el d i nteresti ng games, posi ti ons or stori es . A good chess pl ayer
i s a researcher, and therefore the trai ni ng programme must l eave room for
research of al l ki nds of i nteresti ng themes that crop up spontaneousl y. A good
i dea i s, for i nstance, to sol ve ten di agram posi ti ons wi th tacti c exerci ses five
ti mes a week. Thi s gi ves you two extra days to make those exerci ses if you
cannot make i t at one ti me or another. Another i dea i s to outl i ne three-quarters
of the trai ni ng ti me beforehand, and l eave one quarter for browsi ng. Browsi ng
means to spontaneousl y get goi ng wi th certai n subj ects, thi nk about them,
search on the I nternet for i nformati on, tal k about them wi th a trai ni ng partner,
etcetera .
There are no uni versal reci pes. Age, ambi ti on, l earni ng styl e and al l ki nds
of i ndi vi dual possi bi l i ti es and restri cti ons have to be taken i nto account. A
trai ner and hi s pupi l can devel op an i nspi ri ng and effecti ve trai ni ng programme
i n consul tati on, and they can adj ust t he content where necessary. A trai ni ng
programme hel ps you t o structure your acti vi ti es. I t makes i t easi er t o summon
sel f-di sci pl i ne, as the programme cl earl y i ndi cates what must be done on each
day. Someti mes a pl ayer does not feel l i ke doi ng anythi ng for an enti re day.
Someti mes, then, he has to be ' made to feel l i ke i t', but at other ti mes he can
be al l owed to take a day off. If the weather i s good for swi mmi ng, sel f-study can
be postponed for a coupl e of hours or for a ful l day. If the programme i ndi cates
an appoi ntment wi th the trai ner, the trai ni ng wi l l take pl ace. A week schedul e
al so enabl es you to swi tch acti vi ti es, for i nstance, by maki ng more than your
dai l y porti on of tacti cs on one day and spendi ng more ti me on another theme
on the next.
The trai ni ng programme shoul d consi st of varyi ng procedures. Some thi ngs
are better done al one, others preferabl y wi th a trai ner and/or a trai ni ng partner.
It is al so useful to al ternate tacti cs wi th posi ti onal subjects; for exampl e, by
spendi ng 1 5 mi nutes a day on tacti cal exerci ses and hal f on hour on posi ti onal
subjects. If you want to get resul ts, you shoul d work methodi cal l y. A pl an
consi sts of a goal , tool s, procedures, obstacl es and a ti me schedul e. Wi th
trai ni ng pl ans as wel l as chess exerci ses it i s useful for a trai ner to ask hi s pupi l
to cl assi fy these five el ements systemati cal l y. By aski ng questi ons, the trai ner
can adj ust the di scovery and the cl assi fi cati on of the vari ous aspects.
A3.3 Chess diary
'The weakest i nk is stronger than the best memory', Confuci us sai d.
I f you want to become a better pl ayer, a chess di ary i s useful . You can l earn
somethi ng from every si ngl e game you pl ay by anal ysi ng i t. You can record your
concl usi ons i n your di ary. These notes may be qui te short, as l ong as you write
down the most i mportant thi ngs. You wi l l go a l ong way even if you l earn j ust
one si ngl e thi ng from every game. Thi s di ary can be i n the shape of a notebook,
a text document on a computer, or a l oose-l eaf fi l e. In i t, a chess student
can record notes from trai ni ng sessi ons, and al so remarks on games he has
studi ed, or on chess l i terature. You can al so i ncl ude observati ons about your
own behavi our. For i nstance, you may have been gi ven a ti p about concentrati on
exerci ses, or your trai ner has expl ai ned to you that i t i s very unsportsmanl i ke
to cal l other chess pl ayers ' patzers' ( how good are you anyway?) . Otherwi se,
a di ary can contai n pi ctures, newspaper cl i ppings, a rti cl es from cl ub bul l eti ns,
ranki ng l i sts of tournaments you've pl ayed, reports on trai ni ngs, etcetera.
Keepi ng a chess di ary has four advantages:
whi l e you wri te, you contempl ate what you have l earned and
experi enced . Thi s hel ps you to understand thi ngs better and to
memori ze new i nsi ghts.
you col l ect a l i st of thi ngs that you know and are capabl e of. By re
readi ng the di ary you wi l l refresh your memory.
you can wri te down rul es of thumb i n i t. These are general rul es that
you take i nto consi derati on duri ng a game.
i t i s fun t o browse backwards now and then .
In the di ary you wi l l work mai nl y wi th texts. Apart from that, it i s useful to
col l ect i nteresti ng posi ti ons i n a separate database of a computer programme
l i ke Fri tz or Chessbase.
A3.4 Analysis Questionnaire
If you want to become a good chess pl ayer, you must anal yse your own games.
It i s a tough job to make a good game anal ysi s. The Apel doorn Anal ysi s
Questi onnai re (see Appendi x 1) hel ps you to pl umb the depths of your own
games and to study the way pl ayers perform duri ng a game. The answers
to the questi ons provi de you wi th a techni cal and psychol ogi cal anal ysi s of
strengths and weaknesses, whi ch wi l l provi de you wi th starti ng- poi nts for
i mprovi ng your pl ay. The Anal ysi s Questi onnai re i s useful for youth pl ayers
as wel l as adul t pl ayers and trai ners. Usi ng an anal ysi s questi onnai re, a chess
pl ayer and hi s trai ner wi l l concentrate on certai n aspects of the game, and on
the former's performance at the board . Thi s i s di fferent from the cl assi cal way
of anal ysi ng, where a chess pl ayer cri ti cal l y assesses hi s pl ay move by move
(see the paragraph on anal ysi s) .
A tri ed-and-tested method i s when a parti ci pant of a trai ni ng group anal yses
one of hi s own games and fil l s i n the questi onnai re. Before the trai ni ng, he
hands i n the compl eted questi onnai re to hi s trai ner and the other pl ayers from
hi s trai ni ng group. Duri ng the trai ni ng they di scuss the game, whi l e studyi ng the
answers i n the questi onnai re. As a procedure, thi s questi onnai re offers some
vari ety duri ng trai ni ngs. It i s not necessary to al ways use thi s questi onnai re for
anal ysi s.
The Apel doorn Anal ysi s Questi onnai re has been devel oped for youth trai ni ngs
i n Apel doorn by Dharma Tj i am and Karel van Del ft. A trai ner can abri dge thi s l i st
or add to i t as he sees fit . Abri dgi ng is recommended wi th younger pl ayers, as
otherwi se they wi l l be confronted wi th too many subjects at a ti me. Luci en van
Beek and Karel van Del ft have made an i nqui ry among youth tal ents at SBSA
tra i ni ngs i n Apel doorn, aski ng them what they thought of the questi onnai re. As
i t turns out, thei r responses to the task of i ndi cati ng the ten most i mportant
techni cal and psychol ogi ca l questi ons vary. Probabl y al l the questi ons are
rel evant, but not for everybody al l the ti me. A pl ausi bl e expl anati on is that
youth pl ayers tend to l ook back on thei r most recent experi ences onl y i f they
are asked to make a sel ecti on of the most i mportant questi ons. If a trai ner
thi nks the l i st i s too l ong, he can make a smal l er sel ecti on of questi ons, or he
can ask hi s trai nees to take ten questi ons whi ch they themsel ves consi der the
most rel evant for a certai n game.
In a great number of trai ni ngs and workshops, t he authors have spoken to
ei ght-year-ol d pl ayers and upwards about psychol ogi cal aspects of chess . A
majori ty of the youth pl ayers are i nterested i n those. It i s i mportant for the
trai ner not to make abstract observati ons. He wi l l be abl e to pass on psychol ogi cal
i nsi ghts opti mal l y i f he gi ves them concrete names, whi ch are rel ated t o concrete
experi ences i n games. A trai ner shoul d speak about psychol ogi cal subjects i n a
wel l - balanced way. A youth pl ayer i s onl y a bl e to i nternal i ze one or two i nsi ghts
per trai ni ng. Psychol ogi cal i nsi ghts si nk i n best i f a young pl ayer di scovers them
by hi msel f. A trai ner can accompl i sh thi s by aski ng di rected questi ons about
pri vate experi ences duri ng a group di scussi on or an i ndi vi dual trai ni ng.
A3.5 A cunning plan!
Youth pl ayers run i nto al l ki nds of probl ems. Not for every probl em there is a
cl ear sol uti on, but for many probl ems there i s one. The coach shoul d anal yse
the si tuati on, be creati ve and come up wi th tri cks. Often he can make the youth
pl ayer sol ve the probl em by hi msel f. Wi th a cunni ng pl an!
If a pl ayer pl ays too cauti ousl y, he can get i nto ti me-troubl e, or perhaps he
does not trust hi msel f to start an al l -out attack. A trai ner wi l l first try to fi nd out
the cause for such cauti on. Does the pl ayer l ack sel f-confi dence, for i nstance, or
i s he a perfecti oni st and does he fi nd i t hard to make deci si ons? The trai ner can
assi gn the pl ayer to empl oy sharp vari ati ons i n a number of games. By doi ng
thi s, the pl ayer wi l l l earn how i t feel s to pl ay i n sharp posi ti ons, and hi s fear of
such pl ay may subsi de. A youth pl ayer i s best abl e to acqui re new i nsi ghts i f
the trai ner expl ai ns to hi m how somethi ng works, and i f, besi des that, he al so
experi ences i t hi msel f duri ng a game or a trai ni ng sessi on .
If a youth pl ayer, when sol vi ng a sheet of di agrams, makes more mi stakes
near the end, thi s may be caused by a decl i ne i n energy. Once duri ng a youth
trai ni ng sessi on i n Apel doorn, the parti ci pants were asked to hol d a chai r over
thei r heads. That was easy, but after a few mi nutes, vari ous chai r carri ers
started to thi nk otherwi se. They were al l owed to put down the chai rs and the
trai ni ng went on. Hal f an hour l ater they were asked to hol d the chai rs over
thei r heads agai n. They succeeded wi thout troubl e. By way of expl anati on, the
parti ci pants were tol d that as regards energy, the brai n works j ust l i ke a muscl e:
you have to gi ve i t a rest now and then i f you want i t t o perform opti mal l y. Thi s
means that duri ng the course of a trai ni ng sessi on, or duri ng a game, or for
exampl e duri ng your homework, you have to take a break regul arl y. Duri ng
pri vate trai ni ngs, the then si x-year-ol d youth pl ayer Yassi ne Mouhdad was often
very busy. When hi s trai ner Karel van Del ft set up a posi ti on, he started to get
bored and di spl ayed i rri tati ng behavi our. The trai ner devi sed a cunni ng pl an.
Our young fri end was tol d to set up the posi ti ons hi msel f from then on. As
there were no coordi nates on the board and, moreover, he was regul arl y seated
behi nd the bl ack pi eces, thi s was a good chal l enge. The trai ni ng sessi ons were
no l onger i nterrupted, the boy devel oped a constructi ve l earni ng atti tude and
the trai ni ng sessi ons became more fun .
A3.6 Experiments
An experi ment is a systemati cal l y pl anned tryout i n the framework of a
research project. A chess trai ner must sti mul ate young pl ayers to devel op
i nto researchers. That i s good for thei r chess devel opment and al so for thei r
personal devel opment. Experi menti ng is a tri ed-and-tested method to enjoy
chess. Certai n ki nds of experi ments shoul d be part of every trai ni ng sessi on. A
researcher thi n ks phi l osophi cal l y ( i . e. , contempl ati ve about the use, the essence
and the possi bi l i ti es) and anal yti cal l y ( what i s i n whi ch way rel ated to what)
about subjects and tri es, often systemati cal l y, to devel op new i deas. Next, he
wi l l check i f hi s hypothesi s ( i . e. hi s assumpti on) i s correct.
For exampl e, a youth pl ayer starts pl ayi ng a new openi ng. He can read
books and consul t databases on i t, he can browse on the I nternet, or l ook at
annotated games. He can al so study openi ng traps. The next thi ng i s to use the
openi ng i n practi cal pl ay i n order to gai n experi ence wi th i t. Thi s can be done
i n trai ni ng games wi th a trai ni ng partner, duri ng the cl ub competi ti on, agai nst
a computer programme, vi a a chess server, or i n tournament games. A chess
pl ayer can al so di scover i nteresti ng posi ti ons when he i s studyi ng annotated
games or hi s own games. Such posi ti ons demand cl oser i nvesti gati on. They can
al so be tested in games agai nst a tra i ni ng partner or a computer. Or someti mes
a pl ayer can try to get such a posi ti on on the board i n a game.
Maki ng mi stakes i s i nherent t o any devel opment process . You can l earn from
your mi stakes and you mustn't be afrai d to make them. You can l earn from your
mi stakes by anal ysi ng your games wel l and wri ti ng down your concl usi ons i n a
di ary and/or a database wi th posi ti ons from your own games. A chess pl ayer
can experi ment wi th techni cal questi ons, and he can al so experi ment wi th hi s
own behavi our. For exampl e, i f he regul arl y suffers from ti me-troubl e, he can
fi nd out what hi s performance wi l l be i f he never thi nks l onger than three
mi nutes per move for twenty games i n a row. If he has troubl e concentrati ng,
he can deci de to remai n seated at the board duri ng the enti re game, or, on the
contrary, wal k around regul arl y duri ng a game to rel ax.
By l earni ng to experi ment, you wi l l l earn t o use your i magi nati on and devel op
creati ve abi l i ti es. You wi l l get to know your possi bi l i ti es and (temporary)
l i mi tati ons, and l earn to express your thoughts on certai n si tuati ons. You wi l l
l earn to deal wi th setbacks and to rel ati vi ze, devel op an eye for paradoxes,
and di scover that someti mes there i s more than one way to sol ve a probl em.
It i s useful for a chess pl ayer to express hi s fi ndi ngs duri ng an experi ment i nto
words in hi s di ary, and to di scuss them wi th hi s trai ner. The l atter can hel p hi m
to refl ect on them and to draw concl usi ons.
Fear of fai l ure i n experi ments i s a bad counsel l or, especi al l y for youth pl ayers.
Obvi ousl y a chess pl ayer wi l l pl ay it safe if thi s al l ows hi m to wi n a game or even
a tournament. But i n such cases a youth pl ayer shoul d not be ' chi cken'. For
opti mum enj oyment of the game and opti mum devel opment, a youth pl ayer must
real i ze that he i s the ' di rector', who i s responsi bl e for hi s own devel opment. Thi s
i nvol ves research and the expl orati on of new hori zons. The trai ner shoul d keep
on encouragi ng hi s pupi l s ti me and agai n to experi ment, and he shoul d provi de
them wi th trai ni ng materi al to hel p them wi th thi s. If you are abl e to experi ment
and you are not afrai d to do i t, thi s wi l l feed your i ntri nsi c moti vati on . Chi l dren
can occupy themsel ves for hours on end pl ayi ng, for exampl e wi th thei r Lego
trai n. Thi s i s because they have the freedom to make thei r own di scoveri es
and gi ve them shape. Thi s pl ayful way of di scovery l earni ng i s connected wi th
aspects of both a cogni ti ve ( thi nki ng) and an emoti onal ( feel i ng) nature.
A3.7 Insights through games
A trai ner can cl ari fy i nsi ghts i n aspects of sel f-management or knowl edge
acqui si ti on vi a games . For exampl e, he can ask a group of tra i nees how l ong
they can hol d thei r breath. After thi rty seconds, most of them wi l l be qui te short
of breath al ready. It seems to l ast ages! But if thi rty seconds i s ' ages', then
why shoul d a chess pl ayer pani c i f he has onl y two mi nutes thi nki ng ti me l eft?,
the tra i ner may ask. I n Apel doorn, enti re games are compl eted i n two mi nutes
at the offci al Dutch Champi onshi p Li ghtni ng Chess, an event that has been
organi zed here for several years now. If there i s a computer around, the trai ner
can a l so tel l hi s pupi l s to googl e ' record hol di ng breath', whi ch turns out to be
around fifteen mi nutes . Peopl e have trai ned on that. Practi ce makes perfect.
That goes for chess, too.
Another game i s t o ask a trai nee t o cl ose hi s eyes. You can al so use a
real bl i ndfol d . Next, the trai ner wal ks the test subj ect wi th the rest of the
parti ci pants to another room. There he i s al l owed to open hi s eyes for one
second . Then he i s asked to descri be what he has seen . As a rul e, he wi l l have
seen pl enty : col ours, shapes, movements, objects, rel ati ons, you name i t. An
awful l ot, i n any case. The trai ner may ask hi s pupi l s how on earth i t i s possi bl e
then that they cannot see what i s goi ng on i n a si mpl e chess posi ti on wi th onl y
a few wooden or pl asti c pi eces. Wi th such provocati ve questi ons the trai ner can
crank up a di scussi on. Fi nal l y someone may real i ze that you can see a l ot i n one
second because you recogni ze everythi ng you see. Knowl edge i s recogni ti on . It
works the same way i n chess . If a chess pl ayer knows many patterns - and they
can be l earnt - , he wi l l be abl e to recogni ze them i n a posi ti on. Then, i f he al so
knows the characteri sti cs of these patterns, he can put thi s knowl edge to good
use, whether i t i s tacti cal moti fs l i ke a di scovery attack or a pi n, or openi ngs,
mi ddl egame posi ti ons or endgames.
Wi th a l i ttl e creati vi ty trai ners can i nvent several games . They can al so ask
thei r pupi l s to come up wi th a new game at the next trai ni ng sessi on . A chess
student can wri te down the i nsi ghts he has gai ned i n a di ary or i n a report on
the trai ni ng. It is useful to browse through thi s i nformati on now and then. He
can take exampl e from it and devote extra attenti on to certai n behavi oural
aspects i n future games.
A3.8 Rules of thumb and mnemonics
Apart from the rul es of the game, chess has a number of other general rul es.
They can be formul ated i nto rul es of thumb and mnemoni cs. There are many
excepti ons, but sti l l i t may be hel pful to appl y them, especi al l y i f you are ti red
or stressed . One exampl e of a mnemoni c when a pi ece i s under attack is CIEPC:
Capture, I nterpose, Evade, Protect, Counterattack. An exa mpl e of a rul e of
thumb i s : If you cannot choose between pl ayi ng a pawn or a pi ece, pl ay the
pi ece. A pi ece can al ways go back, a pawn cannot. Or: Each strengtheni ng
i nvol ves a weakeni ng if you move a pi ece or a pawn, certai n squares are covered
but others aren't any l onger. There are l ots of rul es of thumb and mnemoni cs.
It i s useful to wri te them down i n a di ary i f you encounter them duri ng the
anal ysi s of your games or when pl ayi ng through annotated games.
A4 Skills
A4.1 Self-management
Sel f- management i s a central noti on i n chess. Objecti vi ty, a real i sti c sel f- i mage
and a sense of responsi bi l ity are qual i ti es that contri bute si gni fi cantl y to the
devel opment of good sel f-management. A top-cl ass chess pl ayer cannot do
wi thout good sel f-management - duri ng trai ni ng sessi ons, and certai nl y al so
duri ng games. He has to di vi de hi s ti me wel l , manage hi s energy, control
hi msel f, cope wi th setbacks, and concentrate wel l .
A chi l d can devel op a sense of responsi bi l i ty i f thi s i s sti mul ated by its
envi ronment. A youth pl ayer shoul d be as i mportant a co-author of hi s own
devel opment as possi bl e. He must be abl e to make hi s own deci si ons about
hi s own si tuati on. Taki ng control of your own l i fe i s the key to success. Thi s
sti mul ates your fi ghti ng spi ri t, your anal yti cal abi l i ty and creati vi ty at the board
and your effort duri ng trai ni ngs, and it sti mul ates acti ve sel f-study. It al so
contri butes to the devel opment of your personal i ty. You wi l l l earn to re-defi ne
probl ems as chal l enges. Thi s happens when a youth pl ayer l earns that the
outcome of an event i s l argel y determi ned by hi s own acti ons.
We cannot repeat often enough that wel l -thought-out chess trai ni ng i s ai med
to sti mul ate both chess ski l l s and personal devel opment. Trai ners, coaches
and parents can sti mul ate the devel opment of a sense of responsi bi l i ty and of
sel f- management i n a number of ways . Youth pl ayers are members of trai ni ng
groups and cl ub teams. It is i mportant that as a group, they feel responsi bl e
for vari ous practi cal tasks, such as setti ng up chess materi al and cl eani ng up
together. They must hel p each other techni cal l y wi th t he preparati on for games
and thei r anal ysi s. Trai ni ng partners and trai ners shoul d tackl e each other i n
case such tasks are negl ected . The trai ner shoul d make cl ear arrangements
with the group about thi s. If thi s is under di scussi on, he shoul d express hi msel f
di rectl y and cl earl y and gi ve a good moti vati on ( al ways menti on a reason) . Of
3 1
course, he shoul d requi re that the person i n questi on sti l l perform the agreed
task. Duri ng a trai ni ng sessi on, many types of cooperati ng procedures between
youth pl ayers are possi bl e. They are j Oi ntl y responsi bl e for the resul t, and al so
for each other. Youth pl ayers can assume smal l organi zati onal and trai ni ng
tasks at pri mary school chess cl ubs and regul ar chess cl ubs . The task of the
parents i s to see to i t that everythi ng goes accordi ng to pl an. Where necessary,
they can gi ve constructi ve comments, or l end a hand. Tasks must be doabl e. If
they do not l ead to a percepti on of success, thi s wi l l work counterproducti vel y.
Teachi ng a bi g group can be di ffi cul t but, as a rul e, i t i s perfectl y possi bl e
for youth pl ayers to functi on as i ndi vi dual trai ners by anal ysi ng wi th moti vated
younger pl ayers . If a youth pl ayer i s responsi bl e for a trai ni ng sessi on, thi s
wi l l i mprove hi s sel f- i mage and sti mul ate the devel opment of hi s soci al and
cogni ti ve ski l l s ( hi s abi l i ty to structural i ze hi s thoughts and put them i nto words,
to practi se pati ence, to l i sten, to ask or reformul ate questi ons, and to consu l t
others) . Al l too frequentl y, youths are gi ven too l i ttl e responsi bi l i ty. Thi s can
l ead to mi sbehavi our, as youths wi l l not feel that they are taken seri ousl y,
they wi l l get bored and ( qui te ri ghtl y) take a rebel stand. Another thi ng is that
chi l dren and youths may l i ke to test the trai ner a l i ttl e - ' How far can I go?'
There i s an easy answer to thi s : a joke i s fne, but we are here to enjoy an
i nteresti ng trai ni ng sessi on .
Duri ng a trai ni ng sessi on a trai ner can reverse the rol es and ask a youth
pl ayer to conti nue the l esson . He can al so ask someone to handl e the subject
materi al for a second ti me, wi th the trai ner pl ayi ng a sl ow student. Thi s formul a
struck a chord wi th t he t hen si x-year-ol d Yassi ne Mouhdad, who woul d become
Dutch youth champi on roughl y one year l ater. Even though he coul d not yet
read, he di d want to have the manual on the tabl e i n front of hi m. That's what
hi s trai ner di d, and i t l ooked qui te i mpressi ve. Such a new rol e i s somethi ng you
have to get used to, but thi s boy pl ayed i t wi th verve. Hi s eyes twi nkl ed, and he
sat up strai ght. You coul d see hi m grow two i nches . To teach i nstead of bei ng
taught i s no smal l matter. Suddenl y you have to formul ate questi ons i nstead of
answeri ng them. Thi s means that you must be thoroughl y aware of the essence
of the theme under di scussi on . Of cou rse, a young teacher wi l l l ose the thread
here and there at hi s debut. The trai ner can hel p hi m on hi s way wi th a questi on
or a remark.
Beari ng responsi bi l i ti es promotes sel f-refl ecti on . Keepi ng a chess di ary wi th
bri ef notes on experi ences i n the areas of acqui red chess knowl edge and sel f
management can contri bute to thi s. It is useful for a youth pl ayer to regul arl y
show thi s di ary to hi s trai ner. The l atter can gi ve constructi ve comments, and
he can show i nterest by aski ng for further expl anati ons. Gi vi ng compl i ments
has a sti mul ati ng effect . In case of fai l ure, the trai ner can ask how the youth
pl ayer woul d react hi msel f i f he were shown somethi ng l i ke thi s. QUi te a l ot
of tal ented young pl ayers are capabl e of pl enty of thi ngs at a youthful age.
However, overesti mati on and overburdeni ng must be avoi ded . It i s not easy for
every youth pl ayer to keep a di ary. For i nvol ved parents it can be a ni ce task
to di scuss what has happened i n the trai ni ng sessi ons, and to wri te down a few
words on it - or they can hel p the youth pl ayer to wri te somethi ng hi msel f. A
youth pl ayer's sense of responsi bi l i ty i s al so sti mul ated if he draws up hi s own
trai ni ng schedul e and expl ai ns i t to hi s trai ner. I n a conversati on wi th the trai ner
thi s schedul e can be devel oped further.
Vi a the Anal ysi s Questi onnai re a youth pl ayer can try to make hi s own strength/
weakness anal ysi s. Thi s i s a form of sel f-cri ti cal refecti on, whi ch i s i mportant,
as a chess pl ayer who wants to devel op opti mal l y shoul d be obj ecti ve, and he
shoul d wel come honest cri ti ci sm. The trai ner can gi ve comments on the answers
i n the questi onnai re, possi bl y i n a trai ni ng group where the parti ci pants take
turns i n presenti ng a compl eted questi onnai re. If such sessi ons are conducted
in a posi ti ve tone, they can yi el d useful sel f- i nsi ghts and i nteresti ng di scussi ons.
Obvi ousl y i t wi l l have to be made cl ear that fal se modesty about shortcomi ngs
i s out of the questi on . It i s better to sti mul ate a more or l ess ' heal thy machi smo'
( al so wi th gi rl s) l i ke : ' I am so strong that I wi l l gl adl y admi t my mi stakes, so I
can l earn from them and become stronger', or words to that effect.
A4.2 Mental training
Mental trai ni ng is ai med at sol vi ng mental probl ems and shortcomi ngs i n sel f
management. Desi rabl e thoughts, feel i ngs and behavi our can be rei nforced,
and undesi rabl e thoughts, feel i ngs and behavi our can be toned down or
removed . Thi s creates sel f-awareness and ski l l s, and causes the subject to feel
happi er. Some exampl es of mental probl ems are : a di ffuse sel f- i mage, l ack
of moti vati on, concentrati on di sorder, stress, i nsuffi ci ent stami na, an i nabi l i ty
to l i ve up to expectati ons of others, demandi ng too much of onesel f, l ack of
composure, or l ack of confi dence.
A mental trai ni ng can be gi ven by a psychol ogi st or a qual i fi ed trai ner/coach,
and thi s can be done i n vari ous ways. A mental trai ner can gather i nformati on
about a chess pl ayer by means of conversati ons, questi onnai res, tests and
observati ons. It i s i mportant to have an open exchange of thoughts. Mental
bl ockades are often unconsci ous. It is di ffi cul t, if not i mpossi bl e, for peopl e to
have a compl etel y objecti ve sel f-j udgement. Vi a mental trai ni ng, a chess pl ayer
can gai n i nsi ght i n hi s subconsci ous moti ves and bl ockades. As soon as there
is someone who has these questi ons ' i n vi ew', they can get a ' gri p' on i t. The
devel opment of new ways of thi nki ng and new behavi our cannot be real i zed
in the wi nk of an eye. Thi s is often emoti onal l y stressful as wel l . But the good
news i s: i t's dogged as does i t. Some mental techni ques are :
set cl ear goal s and formul ate them o n paper
before cri ti cal si tuati ons, such as i mportant games - try to vi sual i ze the
possi bl e course and determi ne how you want to tackl e probl ems
rel ax before a game
tal k to yoursel f duri ng a game
eval uate experi ences i n a di ary and i n conversati ons wi th a ( mental )
Causes of mental probl ems can be charted by a trai ner or a pl ayer wi th a so-cal l ed
' reversed tree di agram'. Thi s term i s deri ved from the 'tree di agrams' i n openi ng
books, where possi bl e conti nuati ons are depi cted as a seri es of branches. These
l ook l i ke the branches of a tree - hence the name 'tree di agram'. The more you
l ook to the ri ght i n such a scheme, the more branches you see. I n the mental
' reversed tree di agram', it i s the other way around. There is one probl em for
whi ch you can i magi ne several possi bl e causes. These causes have di fferent
backgrounds or ci rcumstances. You can put these on paper i n a scheme. We wi l l
gi ve a si mpl e exampl e. A pl ayer has concentrati on probl ems. Possi bl e causes
are a bad physi cal condi ti on or a l ack of sel f-confdence. An i nsuffci ent physi cal
condi ti on i s caused by regul ar l ack of sl eep or i nsuffi ci ent physi cal exerti on.
Lack of sel f- confi dence can be the resul t of very a mbi ti ous parents who keep
i nterferi ng.
A trai ner can express vari ous rel evant i ssues i n catchwords and i ncorporate
these in a scheme that i l l ustrates the mutual rel ati ons between the vari ous
i ssues . Every factor i s a 'swi tch' that the trai ner can ' turn' i n order to i ncrease
hi s pupi l 's ski l l s. Mental trai ni ng can take pl ace i n a separate setti ng. A qual i fed
trai ner can al so i ncorporate i t i nto hi s tra i ni ngs.
The theme of mental trai ni ng i s extensi vel y di scussed i n the book
' Schachpsychol ogi e' by Rei nhard Munzert and ' Mental e trai ni ng i n de sport' by
sports psychol ogi st Ri co Schu ij ers. Other outstandi ng books i n the area of sport
psychol ogy are ' Succesful coachi ng' and ' Coaches' gui de to sport psychol ogy' by
the Ameri can author Rai ner Martens.
A4.3 Physical factors
Accordi ng to former worl d champi on Mi khai l Botvi nni k's model , chess has four
aspects : techni que, psychol ogy, physi cal condi ti on, and coi nci dence. Former
worl d champi on Garry Kasparov found that hi s physi cal and mental condi ti on
were i nfl uenced posi ti vel y by practi si ng physi cal sports . He observes that they
i ncrease hi s stami na, hi s attenti veness and hi s qui ckness of response. Si x-ti me
Dutch champi on Loek van Wel y shares thi s experi ence. If a chess pl ayer i s
ti red, he i sn't abl e to concentrate wel l , and so he wi l l do a bad job at processi ng
i nformati on, cal cul ati ng, and thi nki ng up i deas. A heal thy body contri butes to
good achi evement - duri ng trai ni ngs as wel l as competi ti ons. Thi s means that
you shoul d :
eat heal thi l y and moderatel y
sl eep suffi ci entl y
be wel l - rested
manage your energy duri ng the game
bui l d up a basi c physi cal form by regul arl y practi si ng physi cal sports
Energy management i mpl i es al ternati ng exerti on wi th rel axati on. Thi s enabl es
you to prol ong your thi nki ng performances on an opti mal l evel . Duri ng a game,
for i nstance, a pl ayer can di vert hi s thoughts and rel ax hi s body by wal ki ng
around for a bi t. A short strol l between games i n a tournament al so has a
rel axi ng effect.
Kees Gorter, a general practi ti oner i n Apel doorn, has done some research on
the i nfl uence of physi ca l condi ti on and nutri ti on on attenti on and concentrati on
( see the tournament book of the Creati ve Youth Chess Tournament, Apel doorn
1994) . Ci ti ng Dr. Harm Kui pers, a Professor of Exerti on Physi ol ogy at the
Maastri cht Uni versi ty and a one-ti me i ce-skati ng worl d champi on, Gorter
emphasi zes the i mportance of the neurovegetati ve system on the stress
bal ance. He advi ses agai nst heavy physi cal exerti on before a game. However,
between games a short exerti on i s good i n order to sti mul ate the al ertness of the
system, al though fati gue shoul d be avoi ded . I n pri nci pl e, bad sl eepi ng before
a game is not a bi g probl em, as physi ci ans concl ude that i n such si tuati ons the
neurovegetati ve system i s hyperacti ve.
Mental work does not cause any si gni fi cant l oweri ng of the bl ood sugar l evel i n
the brai n. Too much sugar sti mul ates t he worki ng of t he gastroi ntesti nal system
i nstead of the brai n. Thi s causes a sense of numbness. Too l i ttl e sugar l eads to
shaki ness and l oss of concentrati on. Duri ng games, i t's best for a pl ayer to take
l i ght nutri ti on. Sweets wi th a l ot of fat are strongl y contra-advi sed . A l i mited use
of cafei ne ( coffee, a coke) sti mul ates the neurovegetati ve system. Thi s resul ts
i n an i ncreased attenti veness and adequate response. Al cohol , even i n smal l
doses, has an adverse effect on al ertness. Isotoni c dri nks are best, si nce they
produce a smal l er l oad on the water bal ance. Protei ns and vi tami ns never gi ve
any probl ems, Gorter says, ci ti ng Sari s, Professor of Human Nutri ti on at the
Maastri cht Uni versi ty. A vari ed and bal anced nutri ti on i s especi al l y i mportant.
Gorter observes that qui ckness of response especi al l y i nfl uences pattern
recogni ti on. A surpl us of stress hampers concentrati on, l eadi ng to a decl i ne i n
performance. Gorter cl ai ms that a surpl us of tensi on can be l owered or neutral i zed
by physi cal rel axati on exerci ses and breathi ng exerci ses, sel f- hypnosi s, and
bi ofeedback procedures. He poi nts at the fact that such procedures must be
l earned beforehand. He menti ons three gol den rul es of nutri ti on : suffi ci ent
vari ati on i n the menu, as fresh i ngredi ents as possi bl e, and suffi ci ent l i qui d.
One poi nt of attenti on i n t hi s context i s the i deal temperature for studyi ng.
Thi s i ssue was once rai sed at a Monday eveni ng trai ni ng. The heati ng was
turned too hi gh, and when the trai ner asked what was better for trai ni ng : 30
degrees Cel si us or 3, Martij n knew the answer: 3 degrees, ' because you al ways
tel l us to keep a cool head . ' Research has yi el ded 18 degrees Cel si us as the
i deal temperature for studyi ng. Thi s subject deserves cl oser i nvesti gati on - any
chess pl ayer can try it out hi msel f. It i s al so advi sabl e to pay attenti on to ai r
humi dity, l i ght and the amount of oxygen i n the atmosphere.
A4.4 Chess thinking
The thi nki ng of a chess pl ayer entai l s a number of functi ons, for exampl e :
memory, cal cul ati on, reasoni ng, combi ni ng, the appl i cati on of rul es of thumb,
and pattern recogni ti on . A chess pl ayer may have a greater apti tude for certai n
functi ons than for others. Other functi ons are best taught at an earl y stage, i n
a so-cal l ed ' sensi ti ve peri od'. The Russi an psychol ogi st and chess grandmaster
Ni kol ay Krogi us, for exampl e, descri bes i n hi s book ' Psychol ogi e i m Schach'
that pl ayers who have l earned to pl ay chess after thei r tenth year make more
tacti cal mi stakes than pl ayers who have l earned the game earl i er.
There has been much research on the thi nki ng of a chess pl ayer. A cl assi c
work i s Dutch psychol ogi st and chess pl ayer A. D. de Groot's 'Thought and
Choi ce i n Chess' ( 1946) . I n a conversati on wi th Renate Li mbach and Karel van
Del ft, De Groot expl ai ned that he had mai nl y i nvesti gated cogni ti ve aspects of
chess. Just l i ke many other authors on chess psychol ogy, he had never occupi ed
hi msel f wi th the questi on whi ch condi ti ons determi ne the devel opment of a
sti mul ati ng ( youth) chess cul ture. Nei ther had he l ooked any deeper i nto trai ni ng
procedures. He had wri tten several arti cl es for a magazi ne on di dacti cs, in whi ch
he reasoned that the Pol gar experi ment, i n whi ch the three Hungari an si sters
Zsuzsa, Zsofa and J udi t recei ved extensi ve chess trai ni ng by thei r parents at
home, mi ght have benefited the devel opment of the personal ity of these gi rl s.
Afer al l , speci al i zati on does have advantages.
I n hi s book 'Thought and Choi ce i n Chess', De Groot di sti ngui shes between
four stages i n chess thi nki ng that a chess pl ayer passes through regardl ess of
hi s l evel : the ' ori entati on phase' ( whi ch moves are worth consi deri ng; candi date
moves) , the ' expl orati on phase' (tryi ng out possi bi l i ti es by cal cul ati on, bri ngi ng
down the number of candi date moves), the ' i nvesti gati on phase' ( deeper and
more seri ous research) and the ' proof phase' ( i s the remai ni ng candi date
move good? If not, return to an earl i er stage) . Someti mes, vi a anal ysi s at
a l ater stage, yet another candi date move wi l l surface. The bi g di fference
between a grandmaster and a l esser pl ayer, accordi ng to De Groot, i s not that
the grandmaster cal cul ates more deepl y, but that he has a greater arsenal of
patterns wi th accompanyi ng eval uati ons at hi s di sposal , wi th whi ch he can test
any gi ven posi ti on. In a research project by De Groot and Jongman ti tl ed 'The
Eye of the Master', i t turned out that strong chess pl ayers were much better
at reproduci ng a chess posi ti on after havi ng l ooked at i t for a whi l e than l ess
strong pl ayers. If the pi eces were pl aced randoml y on the board, the resul ts
were vi rtual l y i denti ca l . Thi s i s an argument i n favour of the supposi ti on that
chess pl ayers recogni ze patterns (' chunks' ) i n a chess posi ti on.
De Groot di d groundbreaki ng work on t he subj ect of cogni ti ve psychol ogy.
One of hi s few predecessors was the Frenchman Al fred Bi net, who conducted
a research project on i ntel l i gence and the condi ti ons for bl i ndfol d chess in hi s
work ' Psychol ogi e des grands cal cul ateurs et j oueurs d'echecs' ( 1894) . Bi net
concl uded that the abi l i ty to pl ay bl i ndfol d chess was founded on three basi c
condi ti ons: chess knowl edge and experi ence, i magi nati on, and memory. I n a
memorandum ti tl ed ' Chess i nstructi on i n school ?', De Groot has suggested that
chess educati on mi ght have cogni ti ve effects as wel l as soci al effects. Creati ve
thi nki ng appeal s to the i magi nati on. The psychol ogi st Amatzi a Avni cl ai ms that
creati ve thi nki ng i s a ski l l that can be l earned . More on thi s bel ow.
The maj ori ty of chess pOSi ti ons contai n a mul ti tude of possi bl e vari ati ons.
A human bei ng cannot possi bl y cal cul ate them al l . The recogni ti on and the
combi nati on of patterns provi des you wi th starti ng- pai nts for the assessment
of a posi ti on and the sel ecti on of candi date moves. When assessi ng a vari ati on,
some chess pl ayers chi efly rel y on thei r cal cul ati ng abi l i ti es. Others gi ve more
wei ght to thei r i ntui ti on. We can defi ne i ntui ti on as the unconsci ous recogni ti on
of possi bi l i ti es, l eadi ng to the sel ecti on of a sol uti on. There i s no concl usi vel y
anal ysed sci enti fc model of human thi nki ng . If thi s woul d exi st, i t woul d contai n
many vari abl es, l i ke age, character, l earni ng styl e, a mbi ti on l evel , etcetera .
However, there is nothi ng more practi cal than a good theory. A number of
aspects of thi nki ng and l earni ng are known from research and from experi ence.
The appl i cati on of those i nsi ghts i s a di rect contri buti on to the devel opment of
tal ent and capaci ty.
A4.S Creativity
Creati vi ty means maki ng connecti ons between matters and i deas that are
not connected at first si ght. It enabl es you to fnd, use and devel op more
possi bi l i ti es than appears possi bl e. Creati vi ty i s seei ng somethi ng that others
al so see, but havi ng di fferent thoughts about it ( after Ei nstei n ) . You defne the
probl em i n a di fferent way. Chess i s a game of possi bi l i ti es and l i mi tati ons.
Pattern recogni ti on, cal cul ati on, techni que, posi ti onal pri nci pl es and the use
of combi nati ons pl ay a rol e. You do not see that whi ch you do not l ook at. A
creati ve chess pl ayer's mi nd is open to paradoxi cal possi bi l i ti es. He searches for
the unexpected h i msel f. Creati vi ty is a ski l l that you can l earn, cl ai ms the Israel i
chess psychol ogi st and FI DE chess master Amatzi a Avni , who has devoted a
number of chess books to thi s subject. He menti ons ni ne pOi nts of attenti on for
the devel opment of creati ve thi nki ng :
1 . Awareness of psychol ogi cal bl ocks deterri ng creati vity
2. Correct defi ni ti on of the probl em
3. Tol erance to unorthodox i deas
4. I ntegrati on of known el ements
5. Wi deni ng of hori zons, preventi ng speci al i zati on
6. Use of i magi nati on
7. Cri ti ci sm and doubti ng
8. Sel f di sci pl i ned trai ni ng
9. The moti vati onal aspect of creati vi ty
Remarkabl y, i n a conversati on wi th Karel van Del ft duri ng an open youth
champi onshi p i n Israel , Avni sai d that he consi dered chess to be an anti soci al
sport. Hi s chi l dren don't even have to thi nk about goi ng to pl ay thi s game.
Avni 's approach i s cogni ti ve : ai med at thi nki ng aspects. J ust l i ke many other
chess authors he has not occupi ed hi msel f wi th soci al psychol ogi cal aspects.
You can acqui re a ski l l i n stages. You pass through four stages :
1 . Unconsci ousl y Unabl e CA pi n? Never heard of i t' )
2 . Consci ousl y Unabl e CA tough job, these di agram exerci ses' )
3. Consci ousl y Abl e ( practi ce makes perfect, you master the techni que)
4. Unconsci ousl y Abl e ( you recogni ze pi ns unconsci ousl y and appl y the
techni que)
You can devel op creati ve thi nki ng by trai ni ng systemati cal l y on i t, studyi ng
posi ti ons that are di ametri cal l y opposed to common thi nki ng patterns . Thi s
requi res an open mi nd to new and surpri si ng i deas. It can even l ead to a so
cal l ed ' fow', a state of consci ousness where everythi ng fi ts, where you are
operati ng sel f-conSCi ousl y, concentratedl y, energeti cal l y and expl orati vel y.
Creati vi ty is someti mes regarded as synonymous to i ntui ti on, and consi dered
to be somethi ng magi cal and unfathomabl e. However, i ntui ti on is nothi ng more
or l ess than unconsci ousl y recogn i zi ng patterns and maki ng connecti ons. These
thi ngs do pl ay a rol e i n creati vity, but there i s more to creati vi ty. Psychol ogy
teaches us that the expectati ons of peopl e l argel y determi ne thei r observati ons.
Then i t i s onl y l ogi cal that di fferent expectati ons wi l l al l ow for di fferent
observati ons.
Peopl e normal l y approach probl ems by veri fyi ng them: by i nvesti gati ng i f
somethi ng i s true. Another approach i s fal si fcati on : i nvesti gati ng i f somethi ng
is not true. Thi s hel ps when you are fi ghti ng agai nst mental fi xati ons. As an
exampl e of mental fxati on, t he Russi an grandmaster and psychol ogi st Ni kol ay
Krogi us i ndi cates the ' Restbi l d' : i n your mi nd, a pi ece is sti l l on a certai n square.
Wi th such a faul ty assumpti on you wi l l then devel op a faul ty l i ne of reasoni ng.
The Scotti sh grandmaster Jonathan Rowson pOi nts out the fact that strong
chess pl ayers often use the word ' maybe' i n anal ysi s. Thi s si gni fes a fal si fyi ng
approach to probl ems.
Thi nki ng i s i nfl uenced by emoti onal factors. For i nstance, i t i s di ffi cul t to
anti ci pate your opponent's moves. Someti mes it feel s as if you are hel pi ng your
opponent by fi ndi ng a good move for hi m, as former draughts worl d champi on
Ton Sij brands once tol d us. I n the 1 990's he was i nvol ved i n youth chess acti vi ti es
i n Apel doorn, among others wi th a l ecture on sel f- management for youth chess
pl ayers i n a two-day workshop i n a youth hostel . He l ost a off- hand chess game
to Merij n van Del ft, who was twel ve at the ti me. I n a draughts game, pl ayed
bl i ndfol d by Sij brands, Merij n's pl ay was so dramati cal l y bad that at a certai n
pOi nt Sij brands became u nsure of the exact posi ti on. There was no meani ngful
pattern to be di scovered i n Merij n's pl ay. A practi cal advi ce is to get up now
and then duri ng a game and l ook at the posi ti on from your opponent's si de.
Draughts pl ayers do thi s much more often than chess pl ayers, who apparentl y
have more troubl e comi ng up wi th such an i dea .
Adopti ng a di fferent way of thi nki ng is trai nabl e. Al so i n creati ve posi ti ons,
the chess rul es appl y. It's j ust that the sol uti ons to these posi ti ons are more
surpri si ng. However, if you have never seen a di scovered attack, you probabl y
won't thi nk of fi ndi ng the sol uti on to a posi ti on i n that di recti on . Many peopl e
thi nk convergentl y: they l ook for concrete sol uti ons. Creati ve chess pl ayers
frst thi nk di vergentl y, thei r thoughts move i n al l di recti ons. They thi nk that
everythi ng i s possi bl e. They are l ooki ng for the questi on not the answer. They
combi ne a cl ear- headed approach to bri ngi ng or restori ng order i n the el ements
of a posi ti on wi th thei r fasci nati on for a quest for ori gi nal di scoveri es and i deas.
I n short, creati vi ty i s a trai nabl e way of thi nki ng, whi ch al l ows you to fi nd,
use and devel op more possi bi l i ti es. It means havi ng great expectati ons of the
unexpected . The devel opment of creati vi ty can be a regul ar i tem i n trai ni ng
sessi ons. Trai ners can sti mul ate pupi l s to bui l d up a database wi th surpri si ng
moves. They can agree that every parti ci pant bri ngs al ong one creati ve posi ti on
to each trai ni ng sessi on . Duri ng the trai ni ng, the parti ci pants frst try to sol ve
the posi ti ons. Next, they put i nto words why the posi ti on i s so di ffi cul t and/or
beauti ful . Al ong the way, new thi nki ng patterns and pri nci pl es are drummed
i nto thei r mi nds.
Sol vi ng endgame studi es sti mul ates creati ve thi nki ng, and composi ng
endgame studi es does so even more. A trai ner can hand out studi es that are
sol ubl e at hi s pupi l s' l evel . If a study is too di fcul t, the trai ner can gi ve one
move as a hi nt, or try to put the students on the ri ght track by aski ng questi ons.
Pl ayi ng through creati ve posi ti ons al so sti mul ates creati ve thi nki ng . SBSA youth
trai ner Yochanan Afek i s a renowned speci al i st of endgame studi es. One of hi s
studi es has been i ncl uded i n Mark Dvoretsky's ' Endgame Manual '. Dvoretsky
made the deci si on to wri te thi s book when he was stayi ng i n Apel doorn for a few
weeks, together wi th Afek. Duri ng that stay, Dvoretsky and Afek gave, among
others, workshops to tal ents, and they gave a free si mul taneous di spl ay for
chi l dren of the pri mary school De Regenboog . Author Karel van Del ft regul arl y
accommodates strong chess pl ayers at hi s home. In return, he someti mes asks
them to parti ci pate i n a free acti vi ty for youth pl ayers. The si mul taneous di spl ay
was a great success, and afterwards dozens of chi l dren asked Dvoretsky for hi s
autograph. ' I feel j ust l i ke Frank de Boer, the soccer pl ayer', he l aughed .
A4.6 Concentration
The abi l i ty to concentrate i s i mportant, and it strongl y i nfl uences performance.
Thi s i s certai nl y true for chess pl ayers. To concentate i s t o di rect your attenti on
to somethi ng ( i . e. , to focus on somethi ng) , and to be prepared to spend a l ot
of energy on i t. Concentrati on can decl i ne due to vari ous physi cal or emoti onal
causes; for i nstance, i f someone gets ti red or di stracted, or i s worri ed about
somethi ng, or stressed . Stress occurs i f someone wants to perform above hi s
capaci ty i n an area he consi ders i mportant, and where he thi nks he can exert
i nfuence. It i s a form of anxi ety, where the mental strai n is greater than the
capaci ty. You can try to escape from stress by usi ng certai n pi l l s, by doi ng
rel axati on exerci ses, or even by hypnosi s. The best thi ng is to use your senses
and choose a wel l -thought-out, real i sti c approach .
Your concentrati on wi l l be opti mal if you are wel l - rested, abl e to deal wi th your
task and moti vated to bri ng the task to a happy concl usi on. That has everythi ng
to do wi th a posi ti ve, real i sti c sel f- i mage and wi th sel f- management. Good pre
game preparati on contri butes to thi s, i n a techni cal as wel l as a mental sense.
Such preparati on consi sts of openi ng preparati on, studyi ng your opponent's
games (a strength/weakness anal ysi s) , as wel l as a tacti ca l warmi ng- up and
some thoughts about the possi bl e course of the game ( what wi l l I do i f he does
thi s or that) . Pep tal k i s usel ess. A chess pl ayer shoul d know what he i s capabl e
of and what he wants al ready duri ng hi s tra i ni ngs; a coach or parent shoul d
not start about thi s subject ri ght before the game. If you feel fne, i f you are
l ooki ng forward to the game and you have fai th i n a good performance, then
you can reach an opti mum state of concentrati on, the ' fl ow'. Condi ti ons for good
concentrati on are :
be wel l - rested
don't eat too much before the game
do a certai n amount of exerci se before the game
set a real i sti c goal
manage you r energy ( al ternate exerti on wi th rel axati on)
i f necessary, pl ace your fi ngers over your ears and your hands around
your face to prevent di stracti on
thi nk systemati cal l y and creati vel y
thi nk excl usi vel y i n the present ( i . e. about the next move)
di vi de your ti me wel l
Duri ng a trai ni ng sessi on, a game can make a l ot of thi ngs cl ear. The questi on
i s asked : what i s the best way to destroy your concentrati on? The trai ner wri tes
down the answers ( goi ng to bed l ate, occupyi ng yoursel f wi th other thi ngs,
bei ng afrai d of your opponent, nonchal ance, thi nki ng that the other i s perfect,
negati ve thoughts, underesti mati on, overesti mati on, not feel i ng l i ke pl ayi ng,
tryi ng too hard, perfecti oni sm, al l owi ng yoursel f to be di stracted) . Next, the
trai ner tel l s the parti ci pants to thi nk of the opposi tes to al l these answers, and
thi s resul ts i n a ni ce reci pe for pl ayers who want to l earn to concentrate better.
The trai ner can pri nt out the l i st, and tra i nees can, for i nstance, attach it to
a page i n thei r chess di ary. It i s useful , where possi bl e, to transl ate di fferent
advi ces i nto one si ngl e noti on that covers the enti re spectrum. In the case of
concentrati on thi s noti on i s: focusi ng . Here, as wi th al l ski l l s, the sayi ng that
practi ce makes perfect hol ds true. To start one game wi th good i ntenti ons to
concentrate does not mean that your resul ts wi l l i mmedi atel y be opti mal .
A4.7 Flow
Opti mum concentrati on is al so cal l ed ' fl ow'. Fl ow is a noti on coi ned by the
Ameri can psychol ogi st Mi hal y Csi kszentmi hal yi , and i t can be descri bed as an
opti mum mental state for a sportsma n . Top-cl ass sportsmen perform opti mal l y
i n a state of fl ow. Basketbal l pl ayers use the term ' i n the zone'. The l egendary
soccer pl ayer Pel e once descri bed how he experi enced fow duri ng a game i n a
ful l stadi um. Suddenl y he entered a state of total rel axati on i n hi s head and he
had the feel i ng that he coul d go on runni ng forever. If we transl ate the term to
chess, fow means:
you can sti l l feel t he tensi on of the contest, i t i s cl ear that somethi ng i s
at stake, but you enjoy i t rather than experi enci ng i t as a hi ndrance
you become ful l y absorbed in the game and forget the rest of the worl d
you have a sense of control , of sel f-confdence
you feel good and you are creati ve
vari ati on cal cul ati on seems to go by i tsel f, the vari ati ons are comi ng to
you j ust l i ke that
everythi ng goes accordi ng to pl an, the game conti nues as i f by i tsel f
You cannot conj ure up a fl ow - i t i s the resul t of years of hard, effi ci ent
work. When a chess pl ayer's capaci ti es (techni cal l y as wel l as physi cal l y and
psychol ogi cal l y) reach a maxi mum l evel , he can reach a state of fow duri ng a
A4.8 Tension
Tensi on, or, i n other words, stress, occurs when you perform tasks that you
consi der i mportant. You wi l l experi ence i t not when you are putti ng fowers i n a
vase at home, but rather duri ng the fl ower a rrangement worl d champi onshi ps.
I f you accept your own sel f and your task, you wi l l be abl e t o control tensi on .
Thi s al so i nvol ves accepti ng setbacks and carryi ng on wi th your task. It wi l l be
hel pful i f you consi der that your opponent i s al so sufferi ng from tensi on and
i f you see i t as a chal l enge to prove that you can handl e i t better. Then you
wi l l convert a probl em i nto a chal l enge. Tensi on i s a natural reacti on . Peopl e i n
prehi stori c ti mes had i t when they encountered a bear on thei r path. The body
produces extra energy i f i t i s threatened by danger. You can transmute thi s
'fri ght' i nto ei ther ' fi ght' or ' fi ght'. But you must make a choi ce between the
two, otherwi se you wi l l turn ri gi d and be i n troubl e. You can compare i t to a boy
who wants to j ump over a di tch . If he takes a run up whi l e thi nki ng ' go' and
' stop' at the same ti me, he wi l l freeze and end up i n the di tch . I n such cases we
speak of fear of fai l ure. Thi s fear may be fed by a bel i ef that you ' cannot do i t
anyway'. You can al so devel op fear of fai l ure after a number of defeats of whi ch
you have not anal ysed the causes properl y.
Resilience, fghting spirit
Some pl ayers gi ve up the fi ght qui ckl y i n a bad posi ti on. Others are tough
defenders. Stami na, resi l i ence and fi g hti ng spi ri t someti mes yi el d poi nts from
objecti vel y l ost posi ti ons. A wi nni ng game is not won j ust l i ke that. J ust thi nk
how often you have l et sl i p a wi n yoursel f. Al so, pl ayers often get too opti mi sti c or
too carel ess i f they have a better posi ti on. You can expl oi t thi s by maki ng thi ngs
as di ffcul t as possi bl e for your opponent i f your posi ti on i s worse. Someti mes
it hel ps if you compl i cate the posi ti on, i ncreasi ng your opponent's l i abi l i ty to
make a mi stake. Often it hel ps to j ust stay pati ent. I n hi s outstandi ng book 'The
Seven Deadl y Chess Si ns' Rowson cal l s thi s 'the theory of i nfi ni te resi stance'.
Of grandmasters it i s known that you have to beat them three ti mes i n a game
before you can net the pOi nt. It becomes even more di ffcul t i f you have j ust
botched a promi si ng posi ti on . Try to swi tch to another mode and make the best
of it. For an a mbi ti ous youth pl ayer i t is useful to pl ay i n tournaments where
he wi ns often enough to experi ence some success and devel op hi s own styl e.
Meeti ng wi th suffi ci ent resi stance wi l l a l so gai n you new experi ences.
Taking leave of a game
Some pl ayers fi nd it di ffi cul t to recover from a l ost game. Someti mes thi s affects
thei r pl ay i n the next game as wel l . Ei ther thei r moti vati on deteri orates, or thei r
urge to force a wi n becomes even stronger. It i s best to say goodbye to a game
i n a constructi ve way - by drawi ng useful concl usi ons from i t. Then you wi l l go
to the next game i n a posi ti ve mood agai n .
A4.9 Time management
Ti me-troubl e means that you have too l i ttl e ti me l eft to thi nk careful l y about
the remai ni ng moves before the ti me-control . You can prevent thi s wi th better
ti me management. Recordi ng the used ti me for each move duri ng the game
wi l l hel p you to di scern patterns i n your ti me use duri ng the anal ysi s of your
games. You can even vi sual i ze thi s by regi steri ng i t i n a di agram. Some pl ayers
get i nto ti me-troubl e frequentl y, others hardl y ever. Some pl ayers seem to get
i nto ti me-troubl e on purpose, i n order not to have ti me for doubts.
That i s choosi ng the l i ne of l east resi stance, and it does not l ead to opti mum
resul ts. I t i s better to stri ve for sel f- knowl edge and sel f-acceptance as wel l as
task acceptance. Someti mes you see pl ayers l ose on ti me. Thi s i s actual l y of no
use whatsoever, unl ess i t woul d be that a pl ayer can consol e hi msel f wi th the
thought that ' my posi ti on wasn't that bad, i f I had onl y had more ti me" , ' - a
petty excuse.
Ti me-troubl e can have vari ous causes. Before you search for a sol uti on, you
shoul d frst fi nd out what the probl em i s. In other words: fi rst the di agnosi s,
then the therapy. It may be that your opponent i s a good deal stronger.
Consequentl y, he poses you great probl ems that you cannot sol ve, or onl y wi th
di ffi cul ty and at the cost of a l ot of ti me. Your opponent recogni zes al l ki nds
of themes, whereas you constantl y have to cal cul ate or reason . The remedy i s
very si mpl e: l earn to pl ay better. Bad preparati on can al so cause ti me-troubl e.
I f you do not keep your openi ng repertOi re up-to-date, i t i s l ogi cal that your
vari ati on cal cul ati on wi l l take a certai n amount of ti me. Al so, i f you do not
regul arl y practi ce tacti cal posi ti ons, cal cul ati on wi l l obvi ousl y take more ti me.
Or you may be i ndeci si ve, whi ch al so takes ti me. Regul arl y pl ayi ng bl i tz games
can hel p, or you can deci de to spend a maxi mum of three mi nutes per move i n
games wi th a two- hour ti me control duri ng a gi ven peri od. If i ndeci si veness i s
caused by doubts about your own abi l i ti es, i t makes sense to try and determi ne
the thi ngs that you are not good at. If you noti ce that you are not good at
cal cul ati on, you must make more exerci ses wi th tacti cs and other posi ti ons
where vari ati ons must be cal cul ated . If you fear the power of your opponent,
do not dread hi s presumed abi l i ti es; j ust try to pl ay an i nteresti ng game whi ch
may even yi el d you a poi nt or a hal f- poi nt, or some new i nsi ghts i n any case.
Ti me-troubl e can al so be the resul t of i neffi ci ent vari ati on cal cul ati on, meani ng :
conti nuous swi tchi ng between vari ous possi bi l i ti es. It is better to first make an
i nventory of the ' candi date moves'. The next thi ng i s to exami ne them pi ece by
pi ece and make assessments. Then have another l ook at the candi date moves
- an i dea that you have found after one candi date move may al so be useful
after another. Fi nal l y, choose the move you consi der best, and check the one
pl y possi bi l i ti es of al l of your opponent's pi eces.
You can do an experi ment to check if it is real l y di sastrous to pl ay a move
after maxi mal l y three mi nutes' thi nki ng. Take your l ast twenty games and
fi gure out how often you have l ost a game by bad ti me management. Then pl ay
twenty games usi ng maxi mal l y three mi nutes per move. If you sti l l have doubts
after three mi nutes, pl ay the move that you feel is the most i nteresti ng. After
these games, l ook agai n how often you have l ost. It i s possi bl e that you l ose
now and then by pl ayi ng too fast, but thi s may be compensated for by more
vi ctori es. Obvi ousl y you shoul d onl y consi der games pl ayed agai nst opponents
of approxi matel y equal strength ( rated maxi mal l y 100 El o poi nts hi gher or
l ower) . It can al so be i nteresti ng to check in a number of (trai ni ng) games
how often i n the end you pl ayed the move you had al ready thought of wi thi n
the first ten seconds. I f you anal yse afterwards, i n a l arge percentage of cases
the first move you thought of wi l l turn out to be fne. You shoul d real i ze that i n
many si tuati ons there are several more or l ess equal l y good moves. You mi ght
consi der to pl ay not necessari l y the best move, but si mpl y a good move, at a
number of turns. Fi ndi ng a move that i s j ust a tad better can someti mes cost
you oceans of ti me, whi ch is better i nvested at other moments in the game.
Even at nati onal champi onshi ps, grandmasters bl under wi nni ng posi ti ons when
they have no ti me l eft i n the endgame.
Many pl ayers tend t o al so bl i tz out t hei r moves i f t hei r opponent i s i n ti me
troubl e. Except when you are vi rtual l y l osi ng, thi s i s not to be recommended . Of
course your opponent can thi nk i n your ti me, but you are the one who deci des
on your next move, and thi s wi l l al ways make i t harder for hi m. Moreover,
by pl ayi ng i n bl i tz tempo you may easi l y bl under yoursel f. Some sl y dogs
purposeful l y create so many compl i cati ons i n a posi ti on that both pl ayers end
up bei ng i n ti me-troubl e. Thi s i s a gambl e, they are hopi ng they wi l l be the
stronger i n the ensui ng ti me-scrambl e. In ti me-troubl e, qui te often exchanges
are made too qui ckl y ( si mpl i fi cati on does not necessari l y mean i mprovement)
and pl ayers tend to put too much focus on the absol ute val ue of a pi ece ( a pawn
= 1 poi nt, etcetera ) i nstead of i ts rel ati ve val ue ( i ts functi on ) . You shoul d check
for yoursel f i f you are strong i n ti me-troubl e. You can al so opt for runni ng your
own race and pl ayi ng a good move i nstead of ' the best' now and then . If you
sti l l end up i n ti me-troubl e, then i t i s useful to arrange your pi eces thus that
they protect each other. You can a l so use move repeti ti ons and checks to reach
the ti me-control . I n any case i t i s useful to have more ti me on the cl ock than
your opponent.
Moving too fast
Begi nni ng youth pl ayers tend to pl ay fast. They end up wi th a l ot of extra ti me,
and bl under a l ot al ong the way. Thi s often i rri tates ambi ti ous parents. The
questi on is whether these chi l dren woul d bl under l ess if they stared l onger at
a posi ti on . Themes that they do not recogni ze, they wi l l not recogni ze ei ther i f
they take more ti me to study a posi ti on. Techni ques that they do not master,
they wi l l not be abl e to appl y wi th more ti me ei ther. I n short, they have nothi ng
to spend al l those mi nutes on . Youth pl ayers pl ay chess because they l i ke the
game. That shoul d be the starti ng- poi nt. To tel l them to use more ti me i s of no
use to these chi l dren. Not even i f the coach draws an angry face whi l e tel l i ng
them thi s. The fol l owi ng rul es can hel p, however. They may be useful tool s for
begi nni ng youth pl ayers to hel p them t hi nk a l i ttl e more systemati cal l y and
bl under l ess.
Use the ' CCAP' rul e at every move - l ook at :
Pl an
Use the ' CI EPC' rul e i f a pi ece i s under attack :
Deeper thi nki ng can al so be sti mul ated by the fol l owi ng exerci se. Wi th every
trai ni ng game, wri te the fol l owi ng down on a form wi th four col umns:
own move
second possi bl e own move
expected move by the opponent
actual move by the opponent
Thi s sti mul ates a pl ayer to consi der more than one possi bi l i ty at a ti me, and
to anti ci pate what thei r opponent may pl ay. The recorded moves al so gi ve the
trai ner starti ng-poi nts for advi ce.
A4.10 Objectivity
Objecti ve thi nki ng is a desi rabl e qual i ty for chess pl ayers who want to devel op
further. Chess can provi de you wi th val uabl e - i f someti mes harsh - l i fe l essons :
if you are not objecti ve ( i . e. honest), thi s may be severel y puni shed . You may
suffer from wi shful thi nki ng, meani ng that you onl y see what you want to
see, whi ch can l ead to wrong deci si ons. Or you may assess the posi ti on too
pessi mi sti cal l y and thereby mi ss certai n chances. Duri ng a trai ni ng, chess is
mai nl y sci ence and art. Duri ng an actual game, it is a sport : two pl ayers crossi ng
swords wi thi n a l i mi ted ti me-span . Moreover, they both have a l i mi ted chess
knowl edge, possi bl y they have physi cal l i mi tati ons, and thei r sel f-management
may be l acki ng i n al l sorts of ways .
Someti mes a pl ayer suffers from ' over-obj ecti vi zati on'. He real i zes that he i s
objecti vel y l ost and i s no l onger moti vated to put up a real l y tough fght. By that he
wi l l sel l hi msel f short. An al ternati ve i s to pl ay as strongl y as you can . Especi al l y
i f the posi ti on i s compl i cated, or i f you manage to compl i cate i t, the opponent
may make a mi stake. Strong pl ayers usual l y pl ay purel y agai nst the board.
They assess the posi ti on objecti vel y and search for the best move, regardl ess
of thei r opponent's l evel . Thi s way they prevent the game from bei ng l ost by
underesti mati on or overesti mati on of thei r opponent. Other pl ayers sti ck to
' i nter-subjecti vi ty'. Thi s means that they do take thei r opponent's ci rcumstances,
character, capaci ti es and styl e i nto account. Grandmaster J onathan Rowson
descri bes thi s phenomenon i n hi s book 'The Seven Deadl y Chess Si ns'. Rowson
has pl ayed a number of team competi ti on games for Schaakstad Apel doorn,
and i n Apel doorn he has j oi ned i n trai ni ngs wi th Mark Dvoretsky. I n hi s book he
descri bes a game wi th Merij n van Del ft. That game was pl ayed duri ng a rapi d
tournament between si x pl ayers i n a cafe i n Apel doorn, featuri ng hi s team
mates Manuel Bosboom, J an Gustafsson, Luci en van Beek, Bori s Avrukh and
Merij n van Del ft.
A4.11 Psychological tricks
Tri cks are cunni ng schemes, methods to mi sl ead. Duri ng chess games, techni cal
as wel l as psychol ogi cal tri cks are used . An exampl e of a techni cal tri ck i s an
openi ng trap. By usi ng your chess knowl edge and by a cri ti cal study of the
posi ti on, you can prevent yoursel f from fal l i ng i nto such traps. Psychol ogi cal
tri cks ai m to i nfl uence your thoughts, causi ng you to make mi stakes . There are
many di fferent psychol ogi cal tri cks.
For exampl e, your opponent can pretend to be very nervous after he has
made a move. If thi s makes you reckl ess and you do not pay attenti on, you may
fal l i nto a trap. Or your opponent may make a nasty remark l i ke : ' My, you l ook
pal e today. ' Not a very sportsmanl i ke gesture, but i t has been known to happen.
I f you noti ce that someone i s tryi ng to pl ay a tri ck on you, you can do somethi ng
about i t. If you understand what's goi ng on, thi s makes a bi g di fference.
You can thi n k up countermeasures. The si mpl est measure i s t o i gnore your
opponent's behavi our, i n other words: act as if nothi ng has happened. Another
countermeasure i s to parry your opponent's behavi our, for i nstance, by reacti ng
with a j oke i f someone makes a remark before the game. Thi s way you wi l l
show that you are not prepared t o al l ow yoursel f t o be confused, and you
wi l l si mpl y assess the posi ti on objecti vel y duri ng the game. At a j uni or worl d
champi onshi p, Apel doorn pl ayer Marc J onker once pl ayed an opponent who
kept stari ng at hi m i n an i rri tati ng manner. ' I gave hi m a wi nk, and then i t was
over', J onker tol d us.
Your opponent's behavi our may surpri se you - by hi s openi ng choi ce, for
exampl e. In such cases i t is best to take some ti me to thi nk about what is goi ng
on. Thi s i s better than pl ayi ng a wrong move, si nce you can bl ow an enti re
game wi th one si ngl e mi stake. It may, for exampl e, be a good i dea to stand up
and get somethi ng t o dri nk. Wi th a l i ttl e i magi nati on you may be abl e t o t hi nk
of a counter-joke whi l e doi ng t hi s, but i n fact i t i s al ready suffi ci ent i f you real i ze
that your opponent is pl ayi ng a tri ck on you . Then you can si mpl y i gnore it, j ust
l ook at the board and pl ay on . Of course, when you are confronted wi th outri ght
i ncorrect behavi our you can cal l the arbi ter.
A4.12 Development process
Acquiring skills
The acqui si ti on of techni cal and soci al ski l l s happens i n phases : you acqui re
an i nSi ght, you practi ce wi th it ( now and then putti ng your foot i n i t) , and i n
the l ong r un t he i nsi ght wi l l become an a utomati sm. Thi s process fol l ows the
stages that we have di scussed earl i er: 1 . Unconsci ousl y Unabl e, 2. Consci ousl y
Unabl e, 3. Consci ousl y Abl e and 4. Unconsci ousl y Abl e. A step forward i s often
onl y made after a temporary setback or a peri od of stagnati on . Thi s is because
your thi nki ng system has to adapt to the swi tch to a new l evel . Thi s i s cal l ed
'an i ncubati on peri od'.
Transferring from learning to practice
Youth pl ayers often do not appl y acqui red techni ques i n games. Thi s has to
do wi th the way i n whi ch they trai n. Wi th tacti cal l essons, chi l dren often know
what to l ook for. That i s useful i f you want to exerci se a certai n techni que, but
after that i t i s necessary to practi se a mi x of di fferent themes. It i s a l so very
i mportant to anal yse your own games. I n them, al l ki nds of tacti cal moti fs
occur, onl y now i n the context of an actual game.
Loss of form
There are ti mes when nothi ng seems to go ri ght. Your performance is bel ow
l evel and you are hopel essl y out of shape. I n such cases, it is okay to be annoyed
for a whi l e, but there is no sense in getti ng depressed . It is better to study the
reasons for your l oss of form. Perhaps you have trai ned too i ntensi vel y, or
you've had too many other thi ngs on your mi nd - l i ke homework, i l l nesses i n
the fami l y, or perhaps you have fal l en out wi th someone? Or maybe you haven't
trai ned enough on certai n i tems? Someti mes somethi ng can be done about
l oss of form: take a rest, change your week schedul e, i mprove your trai ni ng
on certai n i tems. Someti mes nothi ng can be done about i t. Maybe you are
experi enci ng growi ng pai ns. Wi th every growth process ( e. g. when you l earn
new thi ngs) temporary setbacks occur, when al l your knowl edge and i nsi ghts
are bei ng attuned to your brai n in new ways. Thi s takes a l i ttl e ti me, but there
is no reason to worry. Loss of form i s not the same as l oss of moti vati on. In
competi ti ons you can fal l back on your moti vati on and your routi ne, and refrai n
from taki ng too bi g ri sks. You 're not obl i ged to tel l your opponent that you
are out of shape; i ndomi tabi l i ty and a vi gorous atti tude can take you a l ong
way. It i s si gni fi cant that many pl ayers who have not pl ayed chess for a l ong
ti me noti ce that thei r tacti cal ski l l has deteri orated more strongl y than thei r
posi ti onal understandi ng.
A4.13 Avoiding blunders
Bl unders are bi g mi stakes that a pl ayer normal l y does not make. They do not
appear out of thi n ai r. There are vari ous possi bl e causes : carel essness, fati gue,
or ti me-troubl e. Determi ni ng the cause i s a must, i n order to prevent a pl ayer
from maki ng such bl unders agai n. If the l atter occurs, i t i s necessary to take
measures. There is onl y one real remedy for ti me-troubl e : take care that i t
doesn't come to thi s. A pl ayer who i s over-confi dent i n wi nni ng pOSi ti ons can
teach hi msel f to ' l ook through the eyes of a patzer' before he makes a move :
wi th the mnemoni c CCAP ( Check, Capture, Attack, Pl a n ) . I n any case, it is a
good habi t to al ways rel ax and take a good l ook before you make a move.
Many bl unders occur when moves are pl ayed a tempo. Grandmasters are very
di sci pl i ned i n thi s respect : they do not even recapture a pi ece wi thout thought.
A4.14 Non-verbal behaviour
Peopl e show somethi ng of themsel ves i n al l ki nds of ways, and they are not al ways
aware of thi s. They do certai n thi ngs, or don't do them - behavi our - and tal k
i n a certai n manner ( paral i ngual communi cati on) . Consci ousl y or unconsci ousl y,
they al so speak ' body l anguage', or di spl ay ' non-verbal behavi our', as it is al so
cal l ed . Thi s behavi our may consi st of si gn l anguage, but i t al so i ncl udes the
way someone dresses, the way he i s seated, and the emoti ons hi s face reveal s.
Kasparov has been known to pul l faces when hi s opponent made a bl under. A
wel l - known exampl e is hi s faci al expressi on i n the Worl d Champi onshi p match
in Sevi l l a in 1987, after Karpov had bl undered .
If you observe careful l y, you can di scover a l ot about peopl e wi thout them
tel l i ng you anythi ng. You can practi ce thi s. Duri ng a trai ni ng sessi on, a trai ner
can gi ve hi s pupi l s vari ous notel ets wi th words l i ke ' angry', ' i n l ove', etc. , written
on them. The pupi l s are asked to act out those emoti ons and the group must
guess whi ch emoti on i s expressed. Thi s is a ni ce i n- between exerci se to bri ng
some rel i ef duri ng a trai ni ng sessi on . The experi ence can al so make a pl ayer
consci ous of non-verbal behavi our. Now and then duri ng a game i t can be useful
to pay attenti on to non-verbal behavi our. It may reveal what your opponent
thi nks of the posi ti on. But be careful wi th thi s. If your opponent a l so knows
that somethi ng l i ke non-verbal behavi our exi sts, he can fei nt a certai n atti tude.
Good actors can i mi tate most non-verbal conduct very wel l . There are certai n
bodi l y functi ons that cannot, or hardl y, be control l ed . For exampl e, i f someone's
eye pupi l s wi den si gni fi cantl y, you can qui etl y assume that you have scared the
hel l out of hi m. Once a photo was made of Kasparov ri ght after he had l ost to
Jeroen Pi ket i n a VSB tournament i n Amsterdam. He l ooked very upset, and thi s
wasn't an act.
AS Miscellaneous
AS.l Chess as a subject in primary school
Are there good arguments for the i ntroducti on of chess as a ( facul tati ve) subject
i n pri mary school ? Thi s questi on was the occasi on for a termi nal project by Karel
van Del ft at the facul ty of psychol ogy of the Amsterdam Uni versi ty i n 1992.
Research was done on si x pri mary school s i n Apel doorn . Among others, 77
chess pl ayers from the 7th grade were compared wi th 201 non-chess pl ayers.
The research cl earl y showed that t he chess pl ayers performed Si gni fi cantl y
better i n the Dutch eITO school test end test on ari thmeti cs, readi ng and
wri ti ng, and data processi ng. Si gni fi cantl y, when a di sti ncti on i n gender was
made the boys showed the same pattern, whereas wi th the gi rl s the chess
pl ayers onl y performed better at ari thmeti cs. After a correcti on on chi l dren wi th
an extremel y l ow score ( bel ow the 1 5th percenti l e score - mai nl y non-chess
pl ayers), the pi cture remai ned the same. The graph bel ow i l l ustrates thi s. At a
school where hal f of the 34 chi l dren began to pl ay chess i n the 3rd grade, the
chess pl ayers al ready turned out to be better pupi l s from the start. However,
thi s group turned out to be too smal l to d raw any cl ear concl usi ons.
Next, i t was presupposed that the better chi l dren pl ay chess, the better they
wi l l perform at ari thmeti cs and data processi ng. Thi s hypothesi s was tested
wi th 106 pupi l s from the 6th grade ( three school cl asses) , hal f of whom pl ayed
chess. Wi th boys there turned out to be l i ttl e or no connecti on between thei r
l evel of ari thmeti cs and thei r chess- pl ayi ng. Wi th gi rl s a certai n connecti on
was found between ari thmeti cs and chess ski l l s. Thi s group al so showed that
boys are better at chess and ari thmeti cs than gi rl s. We shoul d add that the
fact that hardl y any connecti on was fou nd, may have been because l ots of
other factors, l i ke moti vati on and the effects of trai ni ng, had bl urred the i mage.
Inci dental l y, no di fference i n i ntel l i gence was found between the chess pl ayers
and the non-chess pl ayers ( Raven-test ) . The chess abi l i ti es were measured
with an especi al l y desi gned chess ski l l s test consi sti ng of a number of exerci se
di agrams. We del i beratel y opted agai nst rati ng l i sts of school competi ti ons,
si nce i n that setti ng features l i ke i mpul si vi ty, sel f-consci ousness, fi ghti ng spi ri t,
etcetera, may easi l y be of i nfuence.
Thi s research al so showed that the connecti on between competi ti on resul ts
and theoreti cal chess knowl edge was Si gni fi ca nt, but not very strong . I n any
case a di fferenti ati on i n gender has turned out to be advi sabl e for thi s type of
research . Thi s had not been done i n earl i er research . It a l so turned out that
there are cl earl y l ess gi rl s who pl ay chess than boys. Apparentl y there i s a
mechani sm of ( sel f- )sel ecti on at work here.
Thi s research was especi al l y ai med at fndi ng out i f so-cal l ed cogni ti ve effects
of passi ng on knowl edge exi st i n chess teachi ng. As Prof. A. D. de Groot al ready
cl ai med a number of years ago, in a memorandum cal l ed ' Chess i nstructi on
i n school ?' for the beneft of the Dutch Chess Federati on KNSB, i t cannot be
excl uded that chess teachi ng al so has a number of non-cogni ti ve l earni ng
efects . We can thi nk of thi ngs l i ke : l earni ng to accept defeat, l earni ng that
progress can be made by study, etcetera . De Groot al so supposes that chess
can be rel ated to a producti ve and creati ve way of thi nki ng : di sti ngui shi ng
al ternati ves, systemati cal l y goi ng through opti ons, maki ng your own deci si ons,
l earni ng to thi nk condi ti onal l y and thi nk ahead, and cri ti cal real i ty-testi ng.
However, these supposi ti ons are based on research that has been done on
adul ts ( retrospecti ve i ntervi ews wi th, a mong others, Bori s Spassky and the
Dutch wri ter Godfri ed Bomans) .
TABLE- Average percenti l e scores of chess pl ayers and non-chess pl ayers for
the CITO school test at a pri mary school i n Apel doorn . Data of ei ght successi ve
school years.
Boys Chess players (56) Non-chess players (82)
Li ngui sti c ski l l 63. 1 % 46. 8 %
Ari thmeti c ski l l 72. 9 % 59. 7 %
Data processi ng 68. 8 % 52. 3 %
Girls Chess players (21) Non-chess players ( 119)
Li ngui sti c ski l l 62. 4 % 60. 6 %
Ari thmeti c ski l l 72. 6 % 56. 3 %
Data processi ng 65. 0 % 59. 4 %
AS.2 Youth with adults
Stronger youth pl ayers shoul d be gi ven possi bi l i ti es to devel op themsel ves. If
they ri se above thei r peer group i n pl ayi ng l evel , they need an al ternati ve to
face stronger resi stance. They can pl ay agai nst adul ts; at tournaments and
al so i n cl ub and team competi ti ons as a cl ub member. Often the fact that those
competi ti ons are pl ayed i n the eveni ngs is a probl em. Some cl ubs adopt a
shorter pl ayi ng ti me wi th games i nvol vi ng youth pl ayers.
AS.3 Women's chess
On average, gi rl s perform l ess wel l i n the area of chess than boys. I n the
youngest age categori es i n cl ubs and pri mary school s, the amount of boys and
gi rl s pl ayi ng is often equal . When they move up to secondary school age the
number of gi rl s strongl y decreases. A rol e i s pl ayed by the fact that at thi s age,
boys tend to concentrate on one si ngl e i nterest, whereas gi rl s tend to become
i nterested i n a vari ety of thi ngs. Al so, boys are often more competi ti vel y
i ncl i ned. They trai n harder to obtai n resul ts. If gi rl s do not make any progress,
they often qui t when they move up to secondary school . Gi rl s who do achi eve
resul ts often turn out to conti nue pl ayi ng chess. So we can concl ude that the
experi ence of success pl ays a rol e i n moti vati on . More gi rl s tend to j oi n a chess
cl ub i f there are other gi rl s. That i s more fun and i t moti vates them to conti nue
pl ayi ng chess.
That gi rl s are capabl e of achi evi ng l ess i n the area of chess than boys has
been di sputed by the achi evements of the Pol gar si sters. These three Hungari an
gi rl s, Zsuzsa, Zsofa and J udi t ( who are now adul ts) recei ved educati on
from thei r parents at home. Accordi ng to thei r father, Laszl o Pol gar, who i s
a pedagogue and a psychol ogi st, tal ent i s the resul t of nurture rather than
nature. Of the gi rl s, the el dest ( Zsuzsa) and the youngest ( Judi t) have become
grandmasters, whi l e the mi ddl e si ster ( Zsofi a) i s an I nternati onal master. J udi t
has even reached the worl d top-ten.
I n Germany and France, among others, there are separate women's
competi ti ons, i n The Netherl ands there i s not. Fi rstl y, the fact that there are
much fewer femal e top chess pl ayers is caused by the fact that fewer women
fanati cal l y pl ay chess. Opi ni ons di ffer as to the questi on whether posi ti ve
di scri mi nati on of women and separate women's competi ti ons are advi sabl e.
Thi s coul d have the advantage that a number of gi rl s and women wi l l have more
sti mul ati ng success experi ences . A di sadvantage mi ght be that the top pl ayers
wi l l experi ence l ess chal l enge.
AS.4 Biographies and interviews
In books and magazi nes and on the I nternet there are i ntervi ews and bi ographi es
of chess pl ayers. They regul arl y conta i n useful i nformati on for readers who want
to i mprove i n chess. For thi s reason, i n thi s book a number of i ntervi ews have
been i ncl uded wi th strong pl ayers who have vi si ted Apel doorn : Davi d Bronstei n,
Loek van Wel y, Artur Yusupov, J an Ti mman and Rob Hartoch . Now and then a
trai ner can hand out such an i ntervi ew to hi s pupi l s, and ask them to underl i ne
i nstructi ve passages . These can be made the subjects of a group di scussi on .
Stefan Kuipers. (photo
81 Organizing trainings
B1. 1 Structure and culture
The coachi ng of young top-cl ass sportsmen is not onl y a questi on of ' structure'
- i . e. rul es and schedul es. ' Cul ture' i s at l east equal l y i mportant: what i s the
degree of moti vati on of al l the parti es i nvol ved, and how do they get on wi th
each other? Chess can be a hi ghl y soci al acti vity. At the board you are on your
own, but trai ni ng can be done wi th others. You sti mul ate each other, l earn from
each other and col l ect knowl edge of other i nsi ghts and approaches . It can al so
be great fun . The most i mportant thi ng about chess remai ns that you deri ve
pl easure from i t, soci al l y as wel l as i ntel l ectual l y.
Bl. 2 Computers and the Internet
Everythi ng used to be di fferent. Chess pl ayers browsed through chess magazi nes
searchi ng for new openi ng vari ati ons - some of them col l ected opening i deas
i n a card tray. Games were adj ourned after 40 moves and resumed l ater on.
The computer and the Internet have exerted a strong i nfl uence on the chess
worl d i n a ti me span of approxi matel y two decades. Chess pl ayers use the
computer i n di fferent ways. You can i nstal l a chess program l i ke Fri tz and pl ay
games agai nst i t. It i s al so possi bl e to anal yse games and posi ti ons. I n many
chess progra ms, databases wi th games and posi ti ons can be stored . It i s al so
possi bl e to create databases wi th your own games and/or posi ti ons. Good chess
programs have an openi ng book as wel l . Chess publ i shers put CD- ROMs and
DVD's wi th trai ni ng materi al on the market: annotated games, for i nstance,
or col l ecti ons wi th tacti cal posi ti ons, endgame studi es and vi deos on whi ch
chess masters expl ai n games. Vi a the I nternet, you can use a computer chess
program to pl ay agai nst other pl ayers worl dwi de. Thi s i s done vi a chess servers
l i ke ICC or Chessbase's Pl aychess.
Chess trai ners often use computers. Vi a I nternet they are sent games by
thei r pupi l s i n pgn format and these are entered i nto thei r chess program. Vi a a
chess prog ram they can easi l y sel ect posi ti ons from games and put the di agrams
on paper or add them i n a text. The computer i s al so useful when prepari ng for
opponents . Databases ( on CD-ROM, DVD or vi a the I nternet) contai n games of
many pl ayers, and wi th them thei r openi ng repertoi re. A chess engine can al so
check i f there i s a tacti cal faw i n an intended pl a n .
Chess organi zers a l so often use computers. Wi th the hel p of computers
and speci a l programs they can qui ckl y make pai ri ngs for competi ti ons and
tournaments. These can be publ i shed i n no ti me wi th a pri nter and/or vi a the
I nternet. Wi th the hel p of a computer i t i s al so possi bl e to make communi cati on
bul l eti ns, tournament bul l eti ns and other written publ i cati ons. There used to be
a ti me when al l thi s was done wi th typewri ters. Organi zers can make up and
store tournament scenari os wi th word- processi ng programs. I n the next event,
often a l i mi ted number of changes wi l l be enough to actual i ze the scenari o.
Wi th the hel p of computers i t i s possi bl e to create web-pages that can be
vi ewed worl dwi de. Via emai l , qui ck and cheap correspondence i s possi bl e. Wi th
a computer, a chess organi zer can make beauti ful emai l newsl etters - and do
thi s qui ckl y. The computer al so enabl es you to mani pu l ate photos and fi l ms.
These can be put on a CD- ROM or a DVD together wi th gamebases and texts.
You put a sti cker wi th an i mpri nt on i t, and wi th a l i ttl e vol unteer work an event
can be documented for not more than one euro per di sc.
Bl. 3 Individual trainer
Youth pl ayers who want to devel op i nto strong chess pl ayers need one i ndi vi dual
trai ner, or several . The most i mportant thi ng for thei r own devel opment i s
that they anal yse thei r own games. By checki ng openi ngs, anal ysi ng wi th the
opponent, own ana l ysi s on the board and vi a a chess program, a chess pl ayer
can make a provi si onal eval uati on of hi s games. However, a trai ner who i s a
strong chess pl ayer can show i n words and vari ati ons where the youth pl ayer
has shortcomi ngs. Moreover, he can gi ve speci fc advi ce and refer hi m to speci fc
trai ni ng materi al and l i terature.
Youth pl ayers shoul d send al l thei r games to thei r trai ner( s) , preferabl y wi th
thei r own comments, verbal and wi th vari ati ons. I ndi vi dual trai ners di scuss
certai n themes ( for i nstance, the openi ng repertOi re) wi th thei r pupi l s. They
al so gi ve di recti ons for sel f-study and they can di scuss week schedu l es and
di ari es wi th thei r pupi l s. They can al so i ndi cate the tournaments i n whi ch the
youth pl ayers may take part i n the comi ng peri od .
Bl. 4 Mentor
A modest cl ub member can be a sti mul ati ng mentor for a youth pl ayer. In group
trai ni ngs, an i ndi vi dual pupi l cannot show up to ful l advantage. A mentor can, for
i nstance, trai n on a weekl y basi s wi th one pupi l or two. They can anal yse each
other's games, tal k about sel f-study and vi si t tournaments together. A mentor
can take over vari ous tasks from a trai ner or coach . A mentor has to have a
certai n chess l evel , but the most i mportant thi ng i s that he is enthusi asti c and
shows commi tment to hi s pupi l ( s) .
Bl. S Guest trainers
As a vari ant of regul ar trai ni ngs, it can be i nspi ri ng to have a workshop by a
guest trai ner. The l atter can be a wel l - known strong pl ayer or a trai ner wi th a
certai n speci al i sm. Each trai ner has hi s own styl e. For a mbi ti ous youth pl ayers it
is an enri chi ng experi ence to be confronted wi th vari ous studyi ng methods and
vi si ons. After al l , devel opment wal ks on two l egs: knowl edge and understandi ng
on the one hand, and fasci nati on on the other. If you want to achi eve somethi ng
i n chess you have to work hard - on your chess knowl edge and on yoursel f.
To a l arge extent thi s work consi sts of sel f-study. Trai ni ngs are nothi ng more
than spri ngboards and si gnposts . Therefore, i nspi ri ng guest trai ners can have
addi ti onal val ue.
81. 6 Self-fulfl l i ng prophecy and selecti on
Peopl e partl y see what they expect to see. If what they see i s not real i sti c, thi s
can have negati ve consequences. I n a sci enti fi c research project, students and
sea cadets after seei ng a movi e were asked to i ndi cate how many pol i cemen
had recei ved bl ows duri ng a student ri ot. The students percei ved l ess than
the actual number, the sea cadets percei ved more. Li kewi se, tacti cal l y-ori ented
chess pl ayers wi l l more easi l y fi nd tacti cal possi bi l i ti es i n a posi ti on, whereas
posi ti onal l y-ori ented pl ayers wi l l more easi l y fnd posi ti onal conti nuati ons. If a
trai ner puts it to a tal ented youth pl ayer that he wi l l never be any good, the
youth pl ayer wi l l start to bel i eve thi s. If he then exerts hi msel f l ess, he wi l l
not achi eve much and thi s trai ner wi l l be proved ri ght. That i s a sel f-ful fi l l i ng
In thi s respect the noti ons 'fal se posi ti ve' ( wrongful l y assessed as suffci ent)
and ' fal se negati ve' ( wrongful l y assessed as i nsuffici ent) are of i mportance.
Someone may or may not have tal ent and moti vati on, and he may or may not
be sel ected for extra trai ni ngs. If a youth pl ayer is not sel ected for the wrong
reasons (fal se negati ve) , then he wi l l be depri ved of devel opi ng possi bi l i ti es. If
he has no busi ness bei ng i n a sel ecti on group ( fal se posi ti ve) , usel ess ti me and
effort wi l l be i nvested i n hi m. Anyone who assesses i f a pupi l qual i fi es for extra
trai ni ng, runs the ri sk of fal l i ng i nto vari ous traps. There i s, for exampl e, such
a thi ng as a ' bi rth effect'. Dutch psychol ogi st Ad Dudi nk has proved thi s wi th
young soccer pl ayers. Of the adul t top-cl ass soccerpl ayers, a conspi cuousl y
l arge percentage turned out to be born i n autumn. An a l most ei ght-year-ol d
chi l d i s on average physi cal l y stronger than a chi l d that has j ust turned seven.
I f these chi l dren trai n and pl ay together i n groups of a gi ven bi rth year, the
ol der one wi l l l i kel y outcl ass the younger one and he wi l l be sel ected sooner -
whereas thi s does not say anythi ng about hi s devel opi ng potenti al .
If a youth pl ayer breaks down under the stress on a sel ecti on day, thi s may
al so l ead to wrong concl usi ons about hi s tal ent. Such pi tfal l s can be avoi ded by
usi ng di fferent methods of assessment, and at di fferent ti mes. For exampl e, by
looki ng at trai ni ng effort, maki ng an i nventory of competi ti on resul ts, havi ng
the pupi l make a chess test, and by tal ki ng to parents and trai ners. And, l ast
but not l east : by tal ki ng to the chi l d i tsel f and observi ng i t. Moreover, some
youth pl ayers may not yet perform wel l because they have not been pl ayi ng for
l ong, or because they have not recei ved any good trai ni ng.
Mental i ty al so pl ays an i mportant rol e i n t he deci si on whether or not a chi l d
i s permi tted to j oi n a trai ni ng. Some youth pl ayers do not feel l i ke exerti ng
themsel ves, others are prepared to work qui te hard and wi l l qui ckl y catch up.
Tal ented pl ayers can often be recogni zed by t hei r abi l i ty to devel op thei r own
i deas duri ng trai ni ngs and games. Real tal ents are expl orers, they l i ke to try
out ' crazy thi ngs'.
A chi l d that has adorned hal f of its bedroom wi th chess attri butes may not
become a worl d-cl ass pl ayer. But i t may grow up to be someone who devel ops
great acti vity i n the chess wol d . Provi ded he i s gi ven the chance . . .
81. 7 Youth pl ayer as a trainer
It i s useful for youth pl ayers to regu l arl y gi ve trai ni ngs or gi ve l i ve commentary
at a cl ub, at school , or before fri ends. If you teach, you must thi nk a bout what
you say. You have to catch i deas i n words and repeat i nsi ghts and concepts
to yoursel f. You wi l l al so make new di scoveri es. Thi s wi l l i ncrease your chess
understandi ng . By gi vi ng trai ni ngs, youth pl ayers devel op soci al ski l l s and
a sense of responsi bi l i ty. They become more asserti ve and l earn to make a
contri buti on to a soci al communi ty. If more youth pl ayers gi ve trai n i ngs, there
wi l l be more trai ners avai l abl e and more chi l dren wi l l be abl e to l earn to pl ay
chess. It is known from experi ence that many youth pl ayers enjoy teachi ng.
What young trai ners can do duri ng thei r trai ni ngs, depends on thei r own ski l l s
and the l evel of thei r pupi l s. The si ze of the groups may vary. A young trai ner can
start wi th a one-on-one l esson, and i f thi s works out wel l he can start teachi ng
a group. Youth pl ayers can start teachi ng at a qui te young age. Al though, i f a
si x-year-ol d teaches the game to the gi rl next door because she wants someone
to pl ay wi th, we shoul d perhaps j ust cal l thi s ' expl anati on'.
A young trai ner can, for i nstance, gi ve a l esson about a tacti cal subject
from Van Wi jgerden and Bruni a's Step- by-Step method . Thi s is wel l - structured
subject matter. An experienced teacher can supervi se and gi ve di dacti c ti ps.
Another possi bi l i ty i s for the youth pl ayer/trai ner to expl ai n certai n subjects,
l i ke wrong sol uti ons to exerci ses, to pupi l s i n a separate setti ng, as a n assi stant
of the teacher. Or a young trai ner can di scuss wi th a smal l group of pl ayers thei r
own games and i nteresti ng posi ti ons. I n a pl ayful way, duri ng the anal ysi s, the
young trai ner can tra nsfer a l ot of knowl edge and understandi ng, as wel l as
many techni ques. If the young trai ner i s moti vated, i f he asks many questi ons
and al l ows hi s trai ni ng group to di scover many thi ngs by themsel ves, such a
trai ni ng wi l l soon be wel l on its way.
81. 8 Training partners
Al one i s sti l l al one. Cockroaches move faster if they know that other cockroaches
are around . If peopl e do somethi ng together, they can sti mul ate each other
too. Not al l l earni ng subj ects a re sui tabl e for teachi ng i n groups. The study of
compl i cated theoreti cal materi al i s best done i n l ei surel y ci rcumstances . The
defi ni ti on of ' l ei surel y' di ffers for each i ndi vi dual . For some i t has to be qui et,
others l i ke to have musi c. A number of trai ni ng tasks, such as tacti cal exerci ses,
you wi l l do on you r own . In most cases, the acqui si ti on of knowl edge and
understandi ng, the devel opment of ski l l s and the i nvesti gati on of probl ems are
more successful l y done i n a group than i ndi vi dual l y. If you l earn together, you
wi l l pOi nt out new i deas or fl awed reasoni ng to each other. I n a pl ayful way,
you wi l l sti mul ate each other to carry on l onger, and to del ve more deepl y i nto
certai n subjects . Al so, i t i s more fun .
Trai ni ng i n a sti mul ati ng envi ronment enhances the moti vati on of youth
pl ayers . I n a group, youth pl ayers devel op soci al ski l l s l i ke maki ng appoi ntments,
expressi ng thei r opi ni on, l i steni ng to each other, admitti ng thei r mi stakes, and
pl umbi ng deepl y i nto probl ems together as wel l as l ooki ng for sol uti ons together.
It is useful to al ternate i ndi vi dual study wi th col l ecti ve trai ni ng. You can, for
exampl e, frst study an openi ng yoursel f, then pl ay a trai ni ng game wi th i t and
then anal yse that game together. Some of the advances of a trai ni ng group can
al so be achi eved i n a one-on-one session with the trai ner, provi ded that the
l atter bui l ds up thi s trai ni ng i n an interacti ve way. Thi s means that he wi l l ask
many questi ons and, by means of di scussi on, wi l l urge the pupi l on to l earn i n
an expl orati ve way.
81. 9 Team trai ni ng
Members of a team can trai n together, for exampl e by anal ysi ng games or
preparing openings together. They can al so put some money on the tabl e and
hi re a trai ner. The l atter can anal yse games, hel p them wi th thei r opening
preparati on, di scuss vari ous themes and gi ve ti ps for study. A smal l number of
chess cl ubs hi re a strong pl ayer, preferabl y an Internati onal master, to pl ay first
board in thei r first team and al so gi ve team trai ni ngs and youth trai ni ngs. Even
at the l owest l evel , soccer cl ubs often have a professi onal trai ner - i n the chess
worl d thi s i s a rari ty. Artur Yusupov has gi ven vari ous trai ni ngs to the frst team
of Schaakstad Apel doorn.
82 Didactics
82. 1 Introduction
'Properly taught, a student can lear more in a few hours than he would fnd out
in ten years of untutored trial-and-error. ' - Emanuel Lasker
Di dacti cs i s the art of teachi ng . Good teachi ng i ncreases the enj oyment as wel l
as the effect of trai ni ngs. The most i mportant thi ng about a trai ni ng process i s
that pupi l s get faSCi nated, they enjoy thei r devel opment, they feel i ndependent
and responsi bl e for thei r devel opment as wel l as for the course of the trai ning .
A good chess trai ni ng sti mul ates the parti ci pants' chess devel opment, but
al so thei r personal devel opment and soci al ski l l s. Top-cl ass chess can onl y be
attai ned by pupi l s wi th a l ot of potenti al and a great u rge to devel op. Moti vati on
can be sti mu l ated, but if a pupi l prefers to do somethi ng el se, there i s nothi ng
for i t. No hard feel i ngs. Li mi ted tal ent can go together wi th great moti vati on.
Good trai ni ngs can contri bute to an opti mum devel opment of a pupi l .
The qual i ty of a trai ni ng i s what counts, not the quantity of the subject
matter that i s treated . If pupi l s are taught to i nvesti gate thoroughl y, if they
l earn to th i nk systemati cal l y and creati vel y, if they consul t each other, manage
thei r ti me wel l , get on wi th thei r sel f-study and, above al l , i f they are moti vated,
then the ai m wi l l be achi eved . Knowl edge can evaporate, but the understandi ng
of methods hardl y ever does. In the end, a chess pl ayer mai nl y rel i es on sel f
study. A trai ni ng hel ps as a spri ngboard and a si gnpost in thi s process. In a good
trai ning, knowl edge and understandi ng are acqui red and ski l l s are exerci sed . A
good trai ner pays attention to the devel opment of the ri ght atti tude. I mportant
aspects for the devel opment of chess tal ent are the abi l i ty to concentrate and
objecti vi ty. The abi l i ty to concentrate is sti mul ated by a trai ner if he stresses
its i mportance and asks hi s pupi l s to anal yse posi ti ons seri ousl y. He sti mul ates
objective thi nki ng by stressi ng the i mportance of objecti ve anal yses and by
sti mul ati ng pupi l s to take an assai l abl e atti tude when thei r own games are
di scussed - techni cal l y as wel l as mental l y. Someti mes thi s means that he must
conquer hi s shame, but if thi s i s regarded as a norm in the group, thi s won't be
such a di ffi cul t step to take.
82. 2 Training group
An effecti ve group si ze vari es wi th every procedure. It al so depends on the
l evel of the group and the experi ence of the teacher. Not al l group members
are equal l y far in thei r devel opment. A teacher can take thi s into account by
gi vi ng l essons on di fferent l evel s, i . e. when gi vi ng expl anati ons, he mentions
both si mpl e and more compl i cated i ssues . It i s i mportant that a trai ner tal ks to
hi s pupi l s about sel f-study duri ng the l esson. Do they have thei r own ni che to
study? Do they pl an it? Do they fnd a week schedul e useful ? Do they wri te i n
thei r di ary what they have done each day?
Pupi l s' l earni ng styl es vary. One l i kes to be tol d the informati on i n words,
the other wi l l take i t i n more easi l y i f he sees i t before hi m. Expl anati on i s
the most effecti ve i f i t happens vi a several di fferent communi cati on channel s.
Thus, a trai ner shoul d demonstrate posi ti ons and vari ati ons on the board whi l e
gi vi ng verbal expl anati ons at the same ti me. He shoul d take into account that
not every pupi l i s equal l y qui ck-wi tted . The trai ner shoul d gi ve hi s group the
opportuni ty to take thei r ti me thi nki ng about a questi on. Learni ng thi ngs by
heart i s often usel ess. It i s better to gi ve informati on about a subject and to
have the pupi l s exerci se wi th i t. Then they wi l l acqui re the necessary knowl edge
whi l e pl ayi ng, and i t wi l l si nk i n better. Al l the pupi l s shoul d be i nvol ved i n the
process. For the investi gati on of posi ti ons i t i s useful to di vi de the group into
sub-groups that are as homogenous as possi bl e. After the anal ysi s, the trai ner
asks si mpl e questi ons to the l owest- l evel pupi l s, and more di ffi cul t ones to the
better pupi l s.
82. 3 Trainer
An empathi c teacher i s an i mportant determi ni ng factor for success. A committed
teacher wi l l enj oy embarki ng upon an adventure wi th hi s pupi l s i n a l ei surel y
atmosphere. The teacher and the pupi l s are partners who take each other
seri ousl y. Thi s wi l l set the tone for thei r mutual rel ati onshi p i n a sti mul ati ng
envi ronment . Obvi ousl y, the teacher i s the one wi th the knowl edge, and he
may be expected to gi ve shape to the l earni ng process. But a trai ner shoul d
know hi s l i mi tati ons. A rel ati vel y weak trai ner ( compared to hi s pupi l s) can do
a useful j ob by sti mul ati ng the pupi l s, by passi ng on knowl edge to them that
he commands hi msel f, by gi vi ng tacti cal exerci ses wi th unambi guous sol uti ons,
and by di scussi ng interesting pOSi ti ons that he has studi ed thorough l y hi msel f.
A weaker trai ner can al so ask stronger cl ub pl ayers to di scuss thei r games wi th
hi s pupi l s. The teacher's l anguage i s very i mportant; pupi l s shoul d understand
what a trai ni ng is about. Al so i mportant are the trai ner's speed of speech, and
he shoul d al l ow enough breaks. Pupi l s shoul d be gi ven the ti me to thi nk about
what they have been tol d . Experi ence shows that a strong pl ayer wi thout much
di dacti c experi ence can sti l l be successful i n a smal l er group, and especi al l y as
an i ndi vi dual coach . It i s i mportant that he feel s committed to hi s pupi l ( s) and
that there i s a l ot of i nteracti on between teacher and pupi l ( s) .
B2. 4 Trai ni ng pl an
Trai ni ngs are ai med at acqui ring knowl edge and understandi ng, devel opi ng a
certai n atti tude and exerci si ng ski l l s ( appl yi ng knowl edge and understandi ng i n
practi ce) . At the start of a course the trai ner draws up a pl an, i ncl uding study
goal s, and presents thi s i n a survey, i n whi ch he a l so points out study materi al
and practi cal matters l i ke the ti mes and the l ocati on of the trai ni ngs. I n each
trai ni ng he tel l s the pupi l s what he \i l l be dOi ng, how he wi l l go about i t, and
for whi ch reasons. He wi l l ask for suggesti ons and l i sten to reacti ons. Students
wi l l become interested in themes if the choi ce of subject, the l evel of di ffi cul ty,
and the methods connect to thei r percepti on of thei r envi ronment and thei r
l evel . Each theme wi l l pass through several stages i n a trai ni ng : introducti on,
expl anati on, exerci ses, tests.
B2. S Motivation to l earn
Moti vati on i s an i mportant factor for l earni ng. If a teacher i s abl e to moti vate
hi s pupi l s, they wi l l achi eve opti mum resul ts. Reward and puni shment by the
teacher hardl y pl ay a rol e i n a group of moti vated pupi l s. They wi l l reward
themsel ves by enjoyi ng the game and the group process, and by achi evi ng
results. Trai ni ngs are interesting if they are suffi Ci entl y chal l engi ng . The trai ner
must watch out for underburdeni ng as wel l as overburdeni ng . It has a sti mul ati ng
effect i f chi l dren can qual ify ( as wi th the Step- by-Step Method) , and if training
sessi ons have a bui l t-i n competi ti ve el ement vi a points that can be scored .
Too di fficul t subj ect matter, l ong l i stening peri ods and monotonous l essons are
guarantees for causi ng students to stop pl ayi ng chess . But if they di scover
al l sorts of pri nci pl es and i nSi ghts, the l atter wi l l si nk i n better. Moreover, the
di scovery of new i deas wi l l sti mul ate thei r fasci nati on for the game. Success
experi ences and posi ti ve reinforcement enhance moti vati on. Thi s means that
the teacher shoul d thi nk careful l y about the l evel of the l essons, and that he
shoul d reg ul arl y gi ve i ndi vi dual pupi l s sti mul ati ng comments. Someti mes the
weather outsi de i s si mpl y too ni ce. If pupi l s are l ess i ncl i ned to trai n on such
days, the trai ner i s better advi sed to organi ze something more entertai ni ng,
l i ke a si mu l . Di sci pl ine is i mportant for progress, but al l owi ng ten percent of
'change' ( absence, doi ng somethi ng el se) wi l l keep thi ngs pl easant.
Pupi l s can handl e an opti mum study l oad i f they know that they bear part
of the responsi bi l i ty for the trai ni ngs and are al so al l owed to gi ve shape to
them. If a l esson turns out not enj oyabl e, the trai ner must i mmedi atel y search
for the cause. Perhaps the subject matter was too di fficul t, or he may have
been speaki ng too l ong. The trai ner shoul d i mmedi atel y put such i ssues up for
di scussi on and search together wi th the pupi l s for a better procedure. Energy
management is a necessary condi ti on for effecti ve study. Regul ar short breaks
wi l l keep the heads cl ea r. Al so, when maki ng exerci ses duri ng a trai ni ng the
pupi l s shoul d be al l owed to take thei r ti me. It i s sti mul ati ng to have a training
partner. Partners wi l l ask each other cri ti cal questi ons and provi de each other
wi th new i nsi ghts . Moreover, i t i s often more fun to i nvesti gate something
together than i t i s to do thi s on your own. It is al so easi er to sti ck to your
pl anning i f you have made appOintments about i t wi th someone el se. As for
homework on tacti cs, it i s advi sabl e to al ternate easy posi ti ons ( i . e. si mpl e
exampl es and repeti ti ons) wi th di fficul t ones. Thi s can be done in vari ous ways,
for exampl e: repeti ti on on one day and a new subj ect on the next. 'Repeti ti on i s
the mother of l earni ng. ' Repeti ti on of exerci ses that have become easy for the
pupi l s al so provi des them wi th success experi ences, whi ch wi l l i nspi re them to
study further.
B2. 6 Contents
A trai ner shoul d make use of exampl es to introduce and to cl arify subjects. He
shoul d move from concrete matters to abstracti ons, not the other way round:
first the el ements, then the whol e - first easy, then di ffi cul t. The general rul e
i s: The younger the chil dren, the more concrete the subject matter shoul d
be. Chi l dren pass through stages i n thei r chess devel opment: materi al , space,
ti me. Thi s order shoul d al so be fol l owed when you offer them trai ni ng materi al .
Informati on overki l l i s usel ess. Former Worl d Champi on Jose Raul Capabl anca
once sai d: 'I do not know much, but what I do know I command wel l . ' Learning
materi al and exerci ses shoul d correspond to the pupi l s' experi ence and thei r
percepti on of thei r envi ronment. Vi a an anal ysi s of one of hi s own games wi th
the hel p of an anal ysi s questi onnai re, a chess pl ayer can express how he has
experi enced a game. Thi s provi des a trai ner wi th starti ng-points for the contents
of hi s trai ni ngs, and for advi ce on sel f- management. Chess pl ayers do not onl y
l earn during trai ni ng sessi ons - they a l so l earn from experi ences gai ned i n
tournaments. It i s i mportant for a teacher to gi ve attenti on to such experiences.
Thi s may l ead to group di scussi ons about a certai n posi ti on or theme.
B2. 7 Methods
It i s i mportant for l essons to be vari ed, both i n procedures and i n subjects .
Monotony hampers l earni ng . A good trai ni ng offers pupi l s a chance to di scover
many thi ngs by themsel ves. A good trai ner vari es between frontal teaching
(the teacher stands before the group) , investi gati on i n groups and i ndi vi dual
anal ysi s of posi ti ons. In many Dutch school and chess cl ubs, pupi l s first fol l ow
a tacti cs l esson from the Step- by-Step Method and then pl ay a game. Wi th
exerci se sheets thei r theoreti cal knowl edge of tacti cs i s tested, but what they
do wi th thi s in practi ce remai ns undi scussed . However, it i s hi ghl y i mportant
that a trai ner or a strong pl ayer anal yses the youth pl ayers' own games wi th
them. Thi s can be done i mmedi atel y after the l atter's fi rst game has been
pl ayed ( and recorded) . Anal ysi ng your own games i s the key to devel opment
in chess. A trai ner can first have the pupi l s investi gate thei r games i ndi vi dual l y,
and then he can di scuss them in a group setting . Thi s forces the chi l d ren to fi rst
make thei r own assessments.
It is i mportant that exerci ses are done in a chal l engi ng atmosphere . A teacher
shoul d not be speaki ng too l ong - he shoul d sti mul ate pupi l s to ask many
questi ons, and to answer hi s. There must be a di al ogue, an expl orati ve l earning
conversati on. The teacher shoul d ask many ' why'- questi ons. Frontal teaching
i s effective for the i ntroducti on of subj ect matter, but i t has a stul tifying effect
i f it is the onl y procedure used . Research and di scovery are central in a wel l
thought-out trai ni ng sessi on. The trai ner shoul d sel ect good exampl es, where
new knowl edge and i nsi ghts are ri ght on the hori zon of the pupi l s' accumul ated
knowl edge and i nsi ghts. The Russi an educati onal psychol ogi st Lev Vygotsky
cal l ed thi s the ' zone of the proxi mal devel opment'. The Dutch psychol ogi st Carel
Frederi k van Parreren has al so written about thi s. J ust a bri ef search on the
Internet can hel p a trai ner gai n more i nsi ghts i n thi s area .
It is effecti ve if a trai ner teaches hi s pupi l s to work acti vel y wi th the subject
materi al . He expl ai ns a subject, then the students are gi ven exerci ses around
thi s theme, and they draw concl usi ons and put these into words. If a trai ner
teaches hi s pupi l s to put new pi eces of knowl edge and understandi ng into words,
and i f he sti mul ates di scussi on, he wi l l sti mul ate them to thi nk systemati cal l y
and conceptual l y. Systemati c thi nki ng means that students frst assess a
posi ti on accordi ng to general characteri sti cs. Then they sel ect the candi date
moves, whi ch they cal cul ate to the end . The resul ts are compared, and then a
deci si on has to be made about the best move. Conceptual thi nki ng i s thi nki ng
in concepts, themes and pl ans. Thi nk of yesterday's newspaper or the TV news.
What was i t about? Much knowl edge and understandi ng i s l ost because nothi ng
has been acti vel y done wi th i t. It is i mportant that students do something wi th
thei r newl y-acqui red knowl edge, l i ke sol vi ng di agrams or maki ng a summary in
thei r di ary. A trai ner shoul d al so check i n the games pl ayed by hi s students i f
newl y acqui red knowl edge i s correctl y appl i ed into practi ce. For subject materi al
to si nk i n, i t shoul d be practi sed regul arl y wi th questi ons and exerci ses . That
can be done, for i nstance, i n the form of a qui z where students can earn pOints.
Learni ng proceeds in i ncubati on stages. Someti mes it takes a whi l e before
i nsi ghts a re real l y i nternal i zed . Someti mes al so, progress goes hand i n hand
wi th a temporary setback in resul ts. Thi s is because present knowl edge and
new i nsi ghts must be integrated into your thi nki ng, and thi s often goes i n fts
and starts.
If a posi ti on i s too di ffcul t for a normal anal ysi s, the teacher can sti mul ate
the search for a sol uti on wi th di rected questi ons. A trai ner shoul d use cl ear
exampl es for the di scussi on of a certai n theme. For the acqui si ti on of techni ques
the trai ner shoul d first show a few exampl es and tel l hi s pupi l s to make a few
exerci ses on that theme. The next step i s to offer them sl i ghtl y more compl i cated
posi ti ons, where the students can di scover the theme by themsel ves.
A trai ner shoul d gi ve hi s pupi l s enough ti me duri ng trai nings to anal yse a posi ti on.
The room shoul d be qui et whi l e thi s i s done. The students must concentrate
wel l , j ust l i ke duri ng a game. Thi s contri butes to the devel opment of a good
competi ti ve atti tude. The anal ysi s i s fol l owed by a group di scussi on, where
the trai ner observes how the students react and where there may be hol es
in thei r knowl edge, and then he del ves deeper into those. By al ternating the
procedures, a sti mul ati ng atmosphere can be created . Wi th one task, a pupi l
can work i ndi vi dual l y, wi th a sl i ghtl y more di ffi cul t one ' cri bbi ng i s obl i gatory'
and cooperati on i s necessary. Asking students i n turn to tel l somethi ng about
a theme or about one of thei r own games wi l l sti mul ate thei r abi l i ty to express
themsel ves and to consul t each other.
If you want to make progress in chess you shoul d do a certai n amount
of sel f-study : exerci si ng tacti cs, studyi ng annotated games, anal ysi ng own
games, studying openi ngs, practi si ng endgames and studyi ng interesting
endgame studi es. The trai ner can expl ai n the best way to go about thi s. He
can al so devote a group sessi on to thi s subject. The resul t of such a di scussi on
may be that it is better to exerci se tacti cs for 1 5 mi nutes every day than for
an hour and a hal f every week. It i s effecti ve to al ternate ' l earni ng thi ngs' ( for
exampl e, studyi ng annotated games) wi th ' do-thi ngs' ( for exampl e, maki ng
tacti cal exerci ses) .
B2. S Study envi ronment
A qui et trai ni ng envi ronment i s very i mportant. The i nteri or of the trai ni ng space
contri butes to thi s substanti al l y. Good tabl es and chai rs are a wel come bonus.
Noi se and di stracti ons wi l l di sturb the l earni ng process. Al so, the temperature
shoul d be good and there shoul d be a suffci ent amount of fresh ai r.
B2. 9 Duration and frequency
The i deal i ntensi ty and durati on of trai ni ng sessi ons depends on how much the
students can handl e. The more i nteresti ng and vari ed a trai ni ng i s, the l onger
i ts durati on can be. The amount of subj ect materi al that students can handl e
i s often rel ated to age and to cogni ti ve l evel . A wel l -thought-out structure of
trai ni ng components wi l l strongl y i nfl uence the atmosphere in the group and
the effect of the trai ni ng. Habi t formati on and regul ar trai ni ng are i mportant
requi rements for success. It takes ti me to l earn to pl ay good chess . Good
pl anni ng i s i mportant. It al l ows a student to reserve suffi ci ent ti me for trai ni ngs
wi thout them domi nati ng hi s l i fe. Wi th good pl anni ng, energy i s used effci entl y
and an opti mal l earni ng performance i s possi bl e.
B2. 10 Keepi ng order
A trai ner shoul d be abl e to make do wi th not more than an occasi onal repri mand .
Group members can al so mutual l y correct each other. Thi s wi l l happen sooner
i f they feel joi ntl y responsi bl e for the trai ni ng routi ne. Keepi ng order i s hardl y
an i ssue wi th wel l - moti vated students. If thi ngs get too j ol l y, the teacher
can recl ai m everyone's attenti on ei ther wi th a j oke or by rai si ng hi s voi ce. If
thi s doesn't work, he can ask the students i n questi on dead seri ousl y i f they
woul dn't prefer to l eave. Of course, a chi l d can di spl ay di ffcul t behavi our i f i t
has a personal i ty di sorder or i f i t has probl ems at home. It i s i mportant that
a trai ner has an eye for such ci rcumstances. In such cases he can tal k to the
chi l d and i ts parents outsi de the trai ni ng, and search wi th them for a sol uti on.
Wi thout questi on there are group rul es, but i t can be a great rel i ef for a chi l d i f
i ts probl ems recei ve attenti on. I n case of a personal i ty di sorder ( i . e. auti sm or
ADHD) , a teacher can gi ve a pupi l extra attenti on and structure.
B2. 1 1 Supporting activities and tool s
A student can acti vel y and, consequentl y, effecti vel y i nternal i ze new knowl edge
and understandi ng i f he summari zes everythi ng conci sel y i n a di ary. Thi s new
knowl edge can consi st of al l ki nds of thi ngs : for exampl e, rul es of thumb
( general rules) , openi ng traps or mi stakes i n sel f- management. A chess student
can combi ne a di ary wi th a database, where he can gi ve comments to posi ti ons
or games wi th text and vari ati ons. The study of games and posi ti ons can easi l y
be repeated vi a a database, and i t wi l l al so be better remembered as wel l thi s
way. A student can partl y turn ' l earni ng thi ngs' ( acqui si ti on of knowl edge) i nto
' do-thi ngs' by maki ng a summary i n a di ary. The more acti vel y someone l earns,
the more effecti ve i t wi l l be.
I f a teacher gi ves a summary of a l esson on paper, or vi a an emai l .thi s wi l l
sti mul ate refection on the l earni ng materi al . Thi s contri butes to systemati c
knowl edge augmentati on . Ol der trai ni ng parti ci pants can al so make a summary
themsel ves. A student tracki ng system can be of practi cal servi ce. I n i t, a
teacher can take stock of, for i nstance, performance wi th exerci ses, tournament
vi si ts, etcetera . Thi s way, a bad performance wi l l i mmedi atel y attract attenti on.
Thi s can be an occasi on for a repeti ti on of certai n l earni ng materi al . It can al so
be an occasi on for a tal k between the trai ner and the pupi l and, possi bl y, hi s
parents. I n such a tal k the trai ner can defi ne a probl em and gi ve advi ce.
Of the a bove-menti oned remarks, a teacher can make a checkl i st. Wi th i t,
he can l ook at hi s own functi oni ng poi nt by poi nt duri ng trai ni ngs. He can bri ng
weak poi nts i nto vi si on by agreei ng wi th another trai ner to observe each other
duri ng a trai ni ng, and to judge each other wi th the hel p of the checkl i st.
Wi th the study of tacti cs, the success rate of the course wi l l be hi ghest i f a
student gets qui ck feedback on the exerci se he has done. It is not effective i f
you make your homework, hand i t i n to your teacher and then i t i s di scussed one
week l ater. Tacti cal exerci ses, for exampl e, can be done by students themsel ves
wi th the Step- by-Step Method on CD- ROM. Here, they i mmedi atel y see the
answers and can check ri ght away what they have done wrong . A student can
note hi s mi stakes on paper and re-do these exerci ses l ater on .
Before a trai ni ng, a teacher can make a summary of the subject materi al .
But he can a l so di stri bute i t afterwards ( by emai l , for i nstance) . I n an emai l
report, subjects can al so be menti oned that have spontaneousl y cropped up
duri ng a l esson . A trai ner can sti mul ate refl ecti on by concl udi ng ( a part of) the
l esson wi th the questi on : ' What have we l earned here?', and the students can
take turns menti oni ng exampl es.
A trai ner can use vari ous ai ds. I n case of frontal teachi ng, a demonstrati on
board i s usefu l ; i n smal l er groups or i ndi vi dual l essons he can use a computer.
Duri ng frontal l essons, every student shou l d have thei r own board for tryi ng out
vari ati ons .
83 Training components
83. 1 Tactics
' 99% of chess i s tacti cs. '
Tacti cs are the basi s of everythi ng. After the rul es of the game have been l earned
and the frst games have been pl ayed, the devel opment of a chess pl ayer starts
wi th the l earni ng of basi c tacti cal motifs l i ke doubl e attack ( attacki ng two of
the opponent's pi eces at the same ti me wi th one pi ece) and pi n ( attacki ng
a pi ece that cannot move as then the pi ece behi nd i t i s u nder threat) . These
basi c tacti cal moti fs form the ABC of chess. We hearti l y recommend the wel l
thought-out Step- by-Step Method by Rob Bruni a a nd Cor van Wi jgerden, where
al l the tacti cal motifs are expl ai ned i n a systemati cal way. Thi s method consists
of manual s and work books - see the websi te www. stappenmethode. nI . It i s
bei ng used on vi rtual l y al l school cl ubs and chess cl ubs i n The Netherl ands. Thi s
method i s al so sui tabl e for sel f-study by youths as wel l as adul ts. The Step-by
Step Method has been transl ated i nto vari ous l anguages, and today i t i s al so
very popul ar i n Germany.
By exerci si ng a l ot of tacti cs you wi l l steadi l y i mprove your recogni ti on of
posi ti ons where certai n combi nati ons are possi bl e ( pattern recogni ti on) . The
younger you start wi th thi s, the better. It can be compared to l earni ng a
l anguage. Research by Krogi us proves that top-cl ass pl ayers who have started
after thei r tenth year make more tacti cal mi stakes at a l ater age. Tacti cal
abi l i ti es are devel oped best by exerci si ng - al most - dai l y, e. g. for 15 mi nutes.
The authors of the Step- by-Step Method advi se agai nst worki ng through the
Steps too qui ckl y. The newl y l earned ski l l s shoul d be al l owed to si n k i n - onl y
then wi l l you be abl e to use them i n your own games. However, i t can never
be the i ntenti on of a trai ner to sl ow down eager young pl ayers. Today, for
every Step there are extra workbooks as wel l as pl us work books, provi di ng the
moti vated pl ayer wi th even more materi al to practi se wi th . Furthermore, the
Step- by-Step Method has al so been put on a DVD, whi ch has the advantage
that whi l e you are maki ng the exerci ses you get di rect feedback vi a the correct
answers. Repeti ti on is the key to success . Dutch youth champi on Roel and
Pruijssers worked through the Step- by-Step Method seven ti mes unti l he had
a good command of the materi al . It can have a sti mul ati ng effect to al ternate
di fficul t exerci ses wi th easi er ones.
Exerci si ng tacti cs onl y i s not suffi ci ent for a novi ce chess pl ayer. It often
happens that chi l dren who have fini shed Step 5 sti l l bl under pi eces in thei r
games. It i s j ust as i mportant - and thi s i s often forgotten ! - to pl ay many
games and di scuss these games wi th a stronger pl ayer or a trai ner. Further on
i n thi s book there i s more i nformati on about how to anal yse your own games.
The probl em wi th exerci si ng tacti cs i s that you are constantl y searchi ng for
good moves for your own si de. Not unti l you pl ay and anal yse a lot wi l l you
real l y l earn to al so search for good moves for your opponent, whi ch you shoul d
al ways take i nto account.
More books wi th tacti cal exerci ses on al l l evel s have been publ i shed . A cl assi c
i s ' The Anthol ogy of Chess Combi nati ons' ( publ i shed 'by Chess I nformant) . In
thi s book, thousands of di fferent combi nati ons from the past 200 years are
presented on 424 pages. For the sake of vari ety, it is al so fun to practi se tacti cs
on the I nternet, for exampl e on the Berl i n chess tacti cs server Emral d (see
chess. emral d. net) .
83. 2 Strategy
'Pawns are the soul of chess.' - Francoi s Andre Dani can Phi l i dor
Tacti cs i nvol ve a concrete and forced sequence of moves. Strategy and
posi ti onal pl ay are the counterparts of tacti cs. The two former terms are often
mi xed up. Thi s is a l i ttl e confusi ng, si nce thei r meani ngs are si mi l ar, but not
exactl y the same. Strategy means maki ng pl ans; wi th posi ti onal pl ay we mean
putti ng pi eces on good squares. Chess pl ayers are often cl assi fed, accordi ng
to styl e, i nto tacti cal and posi ti onal pl ayers . Tacti cal pl ayers tend to l ook for
compl i cati ons and thi nk concretel y al l the ti me. Posi ti onal pl ayers prefer to
avoi d compl i cati ons and try to i mprove thei r posi ti on step by step. Thi s is a
cl assi cal di sti ncti on. However, a modern top pl ayer shoul d be an al l - rounder.
The ol d-fashi oned i mage of a chess master who devi ses a master pl an and
consi stentl y fol l ows i t through duri ng the enti re game i s not correct. A chess
game i s usual l y a sequence of short strategi c operati ons supported by tacti cal
cal cul ati ons.
The ul ti mate ai m i n a chess game i s t o checkmate t he enemy ki ng. Apart
from thi s, the most i mportant strategi c el ement by far i s the centre, i . e. the four
squares i n the mi ddl e of t he chessboard . Thi s i s because t he more central l y a
pi ece i s posi ti oned, the more possi bi l i ti es it wi l l have. A kni ght i n the corner onl y
l ooks at two squares, but a kni ght i n the centre i s eyei ng ei ght. Thi s appl i es to
al l the pi eces except the rooks. A predomi nant mi sunderstandi ng a mong very
i nexperi enced chess pl ayers i s that if you put your pi eces i n the centre, they
wi l l be vul nerabl e because they can be attacked from al l si des. The opposi te i s
true. You must trust your own strength : i f you are beauti ful l y central i zed, you
yoursel f are strong . Some peopl e a l so say : i t's better to have a bad pl an than
no pl an at a l l . Thi s sayi ng hol ds a grai n of truth . If you cannot t hi nk what your
pl an shoul d be, you coul d consi der:
1 . A di rect attack on the enemy ki ng . Acti ve, asserti ve pl ay i s surpri si ngl y
often successful . As the opponents get stronger, u nmoti vated attacks on
thei r ki ng wi l l obvi ousl y have l ess chance of success, but i t wi l l not do
you any harm to experi ment wi th them.
2. Central i zati on. J ust put al l you r pi eces i n the centre, thi s can never be
tota Il y wrong .
3 . I mprovi ng your worst pi ece. If you keep doi ng thi s conSi stentl y, you wi l l
keep your posi ti on heal thy.
I n the Step- by-Step Method a modest start is made wi th strategy. As sai d,
the devel opment of the chess pl ayer starts wi th masteri ng the basi c tacti cal
moti fs, and strategy comes after that. The strategi c exerci ses of the Step- by
Step Method are often percei ved to be di fficul t. That's not such a bad thi ng -
onl y it is i mportant to di scuss the exerci ses extensi vel y wi th a trai ner unti l al l i s
cl ear. A good fol l ow- up on the Step- by-Step Method i s the book ' Chess Strategy
for Cl ub Pl ayers' by Herman Grooten . In thi s book, al l the i mportant strategi c
el ements a re deal t wi th i n separate chapters, for exampl e : weak pawns, strong
squares, passed pawn, open fl e, the seventh rank, the bi shop pai r and harmony
between the pi eces. Each chapter i s ful l of i nstructi ve exampl es and concl udes
wi th hal f a dozen exerci ses. These exerci ses are al so often percei ved as bei ng
qui te toug h . Here agai n, i t i s i mportant for the trai ner to expl ai n that i t i s not a
bad thi ng to make mi stakes. A ni ce procedure i s to do such strategi c exerci ses
in a group setti ng, so that you can support each other and l earn from one
another. Strategy i s not somethi ng you l earn i n one day. Here al so, repeti ti on i s
the key to success. Browsi ng through thi s book for a second ti me, you wi l l keep
di scoveri ng new thi ngs. You wi l l al so acqui re a better understandi ng of strategy
by anal ysi ng your own games with a trai ner or a stronger pl ayer.
Jonathan Rowson has written an i nteresti ng argument about sol vi ng di ffcul t
exerci ses i n hi s book ' Chess for Zebras'. If, whi l e pl ayi ng through i nstructive
exampl es, you are si tti ng in your chai r noddi ng understandingl y, then afterwards
you wi l l have the feel i ng that you have become a stronger pl ayer - that now you
understand more of the game. On the other hand, if you are maki ng di ffi cul t
tacti cal or strategi c exerci ses, you wi l l someti mes despa i r and get a more
negati ve i mpressi on of your own chess abi l i ti es. The paradox is that i n the fi rst
case you have l earned rel ati vel y l i ttl e, whereas i n the second case you have
trai ned your ski l l s and in fact thi s has made you a better pl ayer. Rowson cal l s
thi s the ki nd of trai ni ng that pushes you up agai nst the edges of your comfort
zone. I n short : however hard the exerci se, you wi l l l earn more from studyi ng
a posi ti on first and racki ng your brai ns than from checki ng the sol uti on ri ght
away. Chess tal ent can express i tsel f i n the determi nati on wi th whi ch a young
pl ayer tri es to fnd sol uti ons. Rowson, by the way, i s wri ti ng mai nl y a bout adults
- obvi ousl y for very young chi l dren other l aws appl y, and for them i t can be
frustrati ng to spend too much ti me on one probl em. For very you ng chi l dren
i t may be better to pl ay through the sol uti on together i n such cases, thereby
transformi ng i t i nto an i nstructi ve exampl e.
Besi de the basi c strategi c el ements there i s t he fasci nati ng combi ned acti on
between the factors materi al , ti me and space. The pi eces have an average
val ue ( pawn 1 poi nt, kni ght and bi shop 3 poi nts, rook 5 pOi nts, queen 9 poi nts),
but these eval uati ons are hi ghl y rel ati ve. For exampl e, a rook that i s standi ng
moti onl ess i n a corner, as i t does i n the starti ng posi ti on, i s worth not more than
1 poi nt. However, a rook that i s runni ng rampant over the board may be worth
6 pOi nts. The more space a pi ece gets, the hi gher i ts val ue becomes. You can,
for i nstance, al so sacri fice a pi ece to gai n ti me for a qui cker acti vati on of your
remai ni ng pi eces.
More books have been wri tten on strategy. We recommend ' Secrets of modern
chess strategy' by John Watson . In thi s book, al l major and mi nor devel opments
are di scussed that the game of chess has gone through strategi cal l y si nce Aaron
Ni mzowi tsch's cl assi c ' My System'. Al so very ni ce are ' Pi ece power' by Peter
Wel l s and ' 1 0 1 ti ps to i mprove your chess' by Tony Kosten . Such books are
often avai l abl e onl y i n the Engl i sh l anguage, whi ch l eads to another useful pi ece
of advi ce for ambi ti ous non- Engl i sh chess pl ayers : pay good attenti on duri ng
the Engl i sh l essons at school ! A cl assi c work wi th exerci ses i s 'The Best Move'
by Vl asti mi l J ansa and Vl asti mi l Hort. Another i nstructi ve book i s ' Power Chess
wi th Pi eces' by J an Ti mman . And, of course, Max Euwe's cl assi c ' J udgement
and Pl anni ng i n Chess' shoul d be part of thi s l i st. Today thi s book has an ol d
fashi oned fl avour, but at the ti me i t was groundbreaki ng and i t i s sti l l i nteresti ng
to read .
Chess i s 99% tacti cs and 1 % strategy. Another way to put thi s i s that actual l y
there i s no di sti ncti on between tacti cs and strategy - they are i nextri cabl y
connected. There i s a good chance that when pl ungi ng i nto thought, conj uri ng
up al l sorts of beauti ful strategi c pl ans, you are suddenl y taken by surpri se by
a tacti cal possi bi l i ty for your opponent that you haven't seen comi ng.
83. 3 Openi ng
The openi ng is the i ni ti al phase of a chess game. I n Step 2 of the Step- by
Step Method the three gol den rul es for the openi ng are i ntroduced : 1. Pawn
i n the centre 2. Pi eces out 3 . Ki ng safe. I n other words: control the centre,
devel op your pi eces and castl e. These rul es are very si mpl e, but especi al l y
the consequent devel opment of al l the pi eces ( rul e 2) i s somethi ng that chess
pl ayers keep si nni ng agai nst even at a rel ati vel y hi gh l evel . Other rul es of
thumb for the openi ng are : don't make too many pawn moves and don't get
your queen out too soon, because thi s wi l l cost you too much ti me. More haste,
l ess speed, but i n the openi ng every move counts a nd you shoul d not l ose
ti me there. If one of the two pl ayers obtai ns a l ead i n devel opment, thi s often
l eads to a di rect attack on the other pl ayer's ki ng and a qui ck vi ctory. A rel ated
subject is openi ng traps, i . e. wel l - known short-ci rcui ts in the openi ng phase of
the game.
For novi ce chess pl ayers i t i s usel ess to study openi ng theory. As l ong as you
are sti l l worki ng on the Step- by-Step Method, i n pri nci pl e the gol den rul es of
the openi ng appl y. Neverthel ess, a fi rst acquai ntance wi th the vari ous openi ngs
wi l l fol l ow soon . Wi th whi te i t i s recommended to open the game wi th l . e4,
whi ch i s the most di rect and acti ve move. I n order to l earn about the combi ned
acti on between materi al , space and ti me at an earl y stage, i t i s good to pl ay
gambi ts l i ke the Ki ng's Gambi t and the Evans Gambi t. A gambi t is an openi ng
where materi al i s sacri fced for acti ve pl ay and attacki ng chances. To l . e4, the
cl assi cal - and possi bl y best - repl y i s l . . . eS. Another good, acti ve possi bi l ity
is l . . . cS, the Si ci l i an Openi ng. There are di fferent Si ci l i an vari ati ons, but a ni ce
one for young pl ayers is the Dragon . An excel l ent i ntroducti on to openi ngs i s
gi ven i n Paul van der Sterren's ' Fundamenta l Chess Openi ngs'. I n thi s book, the
backgrounds of the openi ngs are unfol ded wi th pl enty of verbal expl anati on,
hel pi ng you wi th your openi ng choi ces.
Pl ayi ng acti ve openi ngs i s the best way to devel op your tacti cal ski l l s. Wi th
an eye on tal ent devel opment and top-cl ass sport, a margi nal note i s i n order
here. As soon as young tal ents pl ay i n the nati onal top regi ons i n thei r category,
it i s ti me to trade i n the gambi ts for a seri ous openi ng repertoi re wi th pri nci pal
mai n l i nes. Remember that we are tal ki ng about chi l dren from about 12 years
of age here ( or even sooner, if a chi l d i s up to i t) , who have al ready compl eted
a l ong stretch . In The Netherl ands thi s tends to go wrong someti mes. Tal ented
pl ayers keep pl ayi ng chi l dren's openi ngs too l ong, and consequentl y fai l to j oi n
i n wi th the i nternati onal el i te. I n order to compete i nternati onal l y, hard work
is requi red, and thi s al so i nvol ves a seri ous study of the openi ngs. By pl ayi ng
pri nci pal mai n l i nes you wi l l sti l l force yoursel f to cal cul ate a l ot, but you wi l l
get many more di fferent posi ti ons on the board, whi ch wi l l al l ow you to devel op
more broad l y.
From thi s poi nt of vi ew, Merij n van Del ft has wri tten an openi ng seri es i n
t he former Dutch magazi ne Schaakni euws, where he presented a compl ete
repertoi re for the whi te pl ayer based on mai n l i nes after l . e4. There are an
enormous amount of openi ng books, but these are often rather speci al i zed
and do not make up a compl ete repertoi re. True, al l the rel evant i nformati on
i s i n the databases, but for young pl ayers i t i s not so easy to fi nd thei r way i n
a col l ecti on of more than three mi l l i on games. Actual l y, the ( Dutch- l anguage)
Schaakni euws seri es i s a manual for usi ng databases. The young tal ent must
know the most i mportant vari ati ons and he must know where he can fi nd more
i nformati on .
A good trai ni ng procedure to get a good command of openi ngs i s by taki ng
so-cal l ed model games (i n the aforesai d openi ng seri es i n Schaakni euws, for
every openi ng a number of model games were summed up) and di scussi ng
them i n the form of a qui z. The study of theory al one i s obvi ousl y not enough .
You have to pl ay games wi th these openi ngs yoursel f and then anal yse them.
Thi s can be done, for i nstance, by organi zi ng theme tournaments wi th a certai n
openi ng vari ati on as a theme. Pl ayi ng bl i tz on t he I nternet can al so be a good
school , provi ded that you do thi s seri ousl y and l ook up the theory afterwards. In
concl usi on, we woul d l i ke to remark that you can onl y real l y master an openi ng
by pl ayi ng real games wi th i t. Wi th openi ng trai ni ng, thi ngs often go wrong i n
practi ce. The tri ck i s t o understand i n whi ch si tuati ons openi ng study i s total l y
mi spl aced and, on t he other hand, i n whi ch cases i t i s i mportant. Consul ti ng a
strong pl ayer or a trai ner can be hel pful here.
83. 4 Middl egame
The mi ddl egame i s di sti ngui shed from the openi ng and the endgame i n the
sense that i t does not have any concrete theory. I n the mi ddl egame, real chess
is bei ng pl ayed, and the pl ayer who i s tacti cal l y and strategi cal l y the best versed
wi l l gai n the upper hand. The remarks made on tactics and strategy at the
begi nni ng of thi s chapter appl y here. To become more ski l l ed i n the mi ddl egame
i t i s al so i mportant to study exempl ary games by strong pl ayers . True, there
does not exi st a concrete mi ddl egame theory, but thi s study wi l l make you
fami l i ar wi th many typi ca l posi ti ons contai ni ng certai n standard pl ans. See al so
the l ast paragraph of thi s chapter, on annotated games.
Today, openi ng theory has devel oped so far that the di sti ncti on between the
openi ng and the mi ddl egame i s not al ways cl ear. In such cases we can speak
of an i ntegrated whol e. There are two factors that have rapi dl y accel erated the
devel opment of openi ng theory. Si nce we have the I nternet, al l i nformati on
has become avai l abl e to everyone. Besi des, computer chess programs have
become so strong that the devel opment of openi ng theory is no l onger the
pri vi l ege of the grandmaster el i te. The boundari es between mi ddl egame and
endgame are not 'al ways very cl ear ei ther, but usual l y we speak of an endgame
when the queens are exchanged. However, i f there are sti l l many other pi eces
on the board, we often speak of a queenl ess mi ddl egame. A knowl edge of
endgames wi l l enabl e you to determi ne i n mi ddl egames how you can l i qui date
i nto favourabl e endi ngs.
83. 5 Endgame
The endgame i s the fnal phase of the game, and as such the deci si ve one. One
smal l mi stake may undo al l your previ ous exerti ons, and often i t cannot be
remedi ed any more. Endgame pl ay i s chess i n i ts purest form; si nce there are
onl y a l i mi ted a mount of pi eces l eft on the board, it i s cruci al for al l the pi eces
to perform opti mal l y.
Therefore, a good study of the endgame wi l l teach you a l ot about the
possi bi l i ti es of the pi eces and the way they cooperate. A beauti ful exampl e
i s tryi ng to force mate wi th bi shop and kni ght. Both pi eces must cooperate
perfectl y to succeed i n mati ng the enemy ki ng. However, many peopl e do not
l i ke studyi ng endgames that they may never get on the board, and they prefer
to l ook at openi ngs, wi th whi ch they thi nk they can score more qui ckl y.
I n the Step- by-Step Method, besi des tacti cs a l ot of attenti on is a l so pai d to
the endgame : mati ng combi nati ons, pawn endi ngs (the ' square', key squares,
outsi de passed pawn, candi date first, protected passed pawn, zugzwang,
breakthrough, pawn race) , materi al advantage, queen versus pawn, rook versus
pawn and rook endgames ( Lucena posi ti on and Phi l i dor posi ti on) . These basi c
endgames a re presented wi th enough exerci se materi al for students to practi se
them suffci entl y. In the endgame, the ki ng becomes an i mportant pi ece. You
coul d say that here the ki ng i s worth four pOi nts i n general : stronger than a
mi nor pi ece ( kni ght or bi shop) , but weaker than a rook. By attachi ng a val ue
to the ki ng wi th pOi nts i t becomes cl ear that you wi l l si mpl y pl ay wi th one pi ece
l ess i f in the endi ng you forget to acti vate your ki ng .
Not al l endgames need to be studi ed i ntensi vel y, but cl earl y an i ntensi ve
study of the rook pl us pawn versus rook endgame i s extremel y profitabl e. In
thi s respect, the bookl et ' Was man Ober Turm- Endspi el e wi ssen sol l te' by Karl
Otto J ung is bri l l i ant i n its si mpl i ci ty. Rook endi ngs are the most frequentl y
occurri ng endi ngs. Here, rul e number one i s: i n most cases acti vi ty i s more
i mportant than materi al . Ol d-fashi oned endgame books were often rather
dul l , but there i s a new generati on of endgame books that are much more
accessi bl e a nd practi ce-ori ented, l i ke ' Si l man's Compl ete Endgame Course' by
Jeremy Si l ma n . The modern cl assi cs among the endgame books are ' Endgame
Manual ' by Mark Dvoretsky and ' Fundamental Chess Endi ngs' by Karsten MOi l er
and Frank Lamprecht. Karsten MOi l er has al so publ i shed a good DVD seri es on
If one of the pl ayers has a cl ear materi al adva ntage for no compensati on,
i t i s sai d that the wi n i s a matter of techni que. Techni que i s not at al l easy,
but on the other hand, i t doesn't requi re magi c. Techni que has two i mportant
aspects. In ' Chess Strategy for the Cl ub Pl ayer', Herman Grooten has wri tten
i nstructi vel y on so-cal l ed ' schemati c thi nki ng'. Al so, techni que i s not an i ntui ti ve
knock of the master, but a matter of conti nuous accurate cal cul ati on of al l sorts
of short vari ati ons. In other words: techni que is tacti cs .
83. 6 Annotated games
In order to become a better pl ayer i t i s useful to pl ay through a few annotated
games every week. These are games where the game moves ( al so cal l ed 'text
moves') are expl ai ned i n words and vari ati ons. In thi s way you wi l l get to know
many typi cal posi ti ons wi th thei r standard pl ans. Do not restrict yoursel f to
games wi th openi ngs that you pl ay yoursel f. Annotated games can be found i n
books l i ke ' Understandi ng Chess Move by Move' by J ohn Nunn and magazi nes
l i ke ' New i n Chess'. The more verbal the expl anati ons, the better. It i s i mportant
that you study these games acti vel y. Thi s can be done i n the fol l owi ng way :
1. Pl ay through the game and try to understand the comments. Wri te down
moves and comments that you don't understand and present them to
you r trai ner or a trai ni ng partner.
2. Pl ay through the game agai n and wri te the two or three most i mportant
rul es of thumb ( = comments wi th a general i mportance) i n your di ary.
3 . Pl ay through the game once more and ' predi ct' the moves for the
wi nni ng si de. For every move, menti on at l east one reason why i t shoul d
be pl ayed . I n thi s way, you can check i f you understand the course of
the game and you wi l l noti ce whi ch phases remai n uncl ear to you . Moves
that you understand are easy to memori ze. For moves that you haven't
been abl e to remember, you shoul d read the comments one more ti me.
4. Col l ect i mportant themati c posi ti ons i n a computer database.
By l earni ng i n thi s acti ve way, you wi l l refl ect more upon what i s goi ng on
and you wi l l acqui re knowl edge, understandi ng and ski l l s. It wi l l enabl e you to
recogni ze the acqui red themes more qui ckl y, and al so to appl y the acqui red
techni ques i n your own games. It is an i ntensi ve way to study, but i t does
yi el d resul ts. It is better to study one si ngl e game thoroughl y and real l y l earn
somethi ng, than to pl ay through more games rather superfci al l y wi thout pi cki ng
up anythi ng from them.
Games by t he ol d masters are cal l ed cl assi cal games. Garry Kasparov has
descri bed chess hi story i n hi s magni fi cent ' My Great Predecessors' seri es.
Tournament books are a rel ated way to wri te about chess hi story. The best
known exampl e is ' Zuri ch I nternati onal Tournament 1953' by Davi d Bronstei n.
More recent publ i cati ons are ' Curacao 1 962' by J an Ti mman and ' San Lui s 2005'
by Al i k Gershon and Igor Nor. Game col l ecti ons by the worl d's best pl ayers are
rewardi ng sources of i nspi rati on as wel l . The best- known i n thi s genre is ' My
60 Memorabl e Games' by Bobby Fi scher. A modern cl assi c i s ' Fi re on Board' by
Al exey Shi rov.
83. 7 Variation cal cul ation
Vari ati on cal cul ati on is i n fact tacti cs for advanced pl ayers. Tacti cs i s the
appl i cati on of basi c moti fs, and of course i t i nvol ves cal cu l ati on . As soon as we
can no l onger speak of one cl ear moti f, and the cal cul ati on of l i nes starts to
become more outl andi sh ( as i n a real game) , we speak of vari ati on cal cul ati on .
Novi ce pl ayers do not yet have the abi l ity to cal cul ate deepl y, but as they
devel op further as chess pl ayers, vari ati on cal cul ati on wi l l become more and
more part of thei r games. Vi sual i zati on, i . e. , pl ayi ng the moves i nsi de your
head, pl ays a l arge rol e i n vari ati on cal cul ati on. The younger you start wi th
vi sual i zati on, the better your command of thi s ski l l wi l l be. Vari ati on cal cul ati on
takes pl aces i n steps :
1 . Candi date moves. Before you start cal cul ati ng, you must fi rst make a
l i st of the moves that need to be consi dered . Tal ented young pl ayers are
often good at cal cul ati on, but they don't al ways know very wel l what
they shoul d cal cul ate. Thi s i s a matter of experi ence and trai ni ng on al l
facets of chess. The more knowl edge and understandi ng you have, the
better your feel i ng wi l l be for cruci al vari ati ons.
2. Cal cul ati ng vari ati ons. Accordi ng to the cl assi cal theory of vari ati on
cal cul ati on (Al exander Kotov, among others) you must systemati cal l y
cal cul ate al l the candi date moves through to the end . Modern theory
( e. g. John Nunn) rel ati vi zes thi s and cl ai ms that it can even be very
functi onal to j ump to and fro between di fferent vari ati ons, because
thi ngs you have found i n one vari ati on coul d possi bl y be used i n another.
3. Deci si on- maki ng. A ti me-control of two hours for forty moves means
that you have an average of 3 mi nutes per move. Obvi ousl y, i n certai n
cruci al posi ti ons you wi l l need t o spend more ti me. But thi s cannot be
done too often, otherwi se you wi l l get i nto ti me-troubl e. For a human
pl ayer i t i s i mpossi bl e to cal cul ate everythi ng, therefore when you make
a deci si on you must partl y rel y on your i ntui ti on.
There i s a consi derabl e amount of l i terature on vari ati on cal cul ati on, wi th ti ps
and exerci se materi al to trai n and i mprove thi s ski l l . I n Nunn's book ' Secrets of
Practi cal Chess', the subject of vari ati on cal cul ati on is i l l ustrated wi th sampl e
games. Al so i nteresti ng i s ' I mprove Your Chess Now' by Jonathan Ti sdal l . I n
the books by Dvoretsky and Yusupov, vari ati on cal cul ati on al so gets a l ot of
attenti on . A good way to trai n vari ati on cal cul ati on i s by sol vi ng endgame
studi es ( see the next paragraph) . r. Artur Yusupov, Karel van Del ft, Jonathan Rowson, Jan Gustafsson, Merijn van Delft, Harmen Jonkman,
Lucien van Beek and Victor Mi khalevski during a workshop in Karel van Delft's living room.
B3. 8 Endgame studi es
There are endgame studi es i n al l shapes and si zes . For practi cal pl ayers,
endgame studi es that start from a real i sti c posi ti on are the most i nteresti ng.
Such posi ti ons can be used i n trai ni ng sessi ons to exerci se vari ati on cal cul ati on
and creati ve thi nki ng. Thi s trai ni ng procedure i s recommended i n the books
by Dvoretsky and Yusupov. The young Dutch grandmaster Dani el Stel l wagen
has taken thi s advi ce to heart, and he has devel oped a passi on for endgame
studi es. I n 2003 he even won the Dutch Sol vi ng Champi onshi p for Endgame
Studi es wi th an unprecedented 1 00% score.
Harol d van der Heijden, from the
Dutch ci ty of Deventer, i s very acti ve
i n the worl d of endgame composi ti ons,
and he has gathered the l argest
col l ecti on of endgame studi es i n the
worl d, wi th around 75. 000 of the
esti mated total of 1 00. 000 publ i shed
studi es.
Thi s col l ecti on i s publ i shed on CD-ROM,
see home. concepts. nl /rhe16442 .
Harol d i s al so a study composer
hi msel f, and he showed a typi cal
exampl e as an exerci se for the
parti ci pants of an SBSA chess festi val
in Apel doorn i n 2003 . The beauti ful
thi ng of thi s study i s that anyone can
sol ve i t.
Harol d van der Heij den .
White to pl ay and wi n.
Van der Hei jden expl ai ns: ' Cl earl y
the wi n shoul d be brought on by a
breakthrough of the whi te pawns. But
obvi ousl y 1 . gS? fai l s to 1 . . . . fxgS,
after whi ch Bl ack can advance hi s own
pawn wi th check. Nei ther is 1 . eS? any
good, si nce after 1 . . . . fxeS 2. gS e4 3.
g6 e3 4. g7 e2 5 . g8Q el Q, both si des
have a queen . Therefore, the sol uti on
must be a move wi th the ki ng. After 1 .
Kh3? Kf3 there i s nothi ng better than
2. eS fxeS 3. gS e4 4. g6 e3 5. g7 e2 6.
g8Q el Q and thi s i s al so a draw.
So eventual l y, by el i mi nati on, every
sol ver wi l l end up pl ayi ng the surpri si ng
1. Khl ! !
I f Bl ack now pl ays 1 . . . . Ke3, White
repl i es wi th 2. eS fxeS 3 . gS and the
bl ack ki ng bl ocks i ts own pawn. And
after 1 . . . . Kg3 2. eS fxeS 3 . gS, White
wi l l promote wi th check. The move 1 .
. . . Kf3 l ooks cl ever, but after 2 . e S fxeS
3 . gS e4 Whi te suddenl y pl ays 4. Kg l ,
stoppi ng the bl ack pawn .
But what if Bl ack deni es al l the
probl ems and pl ays
1. . . . Kfl?
Then there fol l ows :
2. eS! fxeS 3. gS e4 4. g6 e3 S. g7
e2 6. g8Q elQ
Draw? No!
7. Qg2 mate! '
After Van der Heij den had demonstra
ted thi s sol uti on many ti mes to non
successful sol vers i n Apel doorn ( who
had tri ed al l possi bi l i ti es except l . Kh 1 ) ,
Artur Yusupov wal ked by. After about
ten seconds he sai d : ' 1 . Kh 1 and mate
on g2'.
Endgame composer Yochanan Afek
has pl ayed a rol e i n the devel opment
of chess cul ture i n Apel doorn as a
trai ner and advi sor. On the websi te
www. chessvi bes . com he has a weekl y
col umn where he presents an endgame
study. For Karel van Del ft's 50th
bi rthday he composed the fol l owi ng
Yochanan Afek. Whi te to pl ay and wi n .
84 Practical pl ay
B4. 1 Visiti ng tournaments
1. RaS+!
I nsuffi ci ent for the wi n i s 1 . RdS! ?
Qh5+ ! 2 . Kb4 Qb5+ ! 3 . Kc3 Qxc6+ 4.
Kd2 Qg2+ 5 . Kd3 Qf3+ 6. Kd4 Qf4+ 7.
Kd5 Qg5+ S. Kc4 Qc1 + 9. Kd5 Qg5+
1 0. Kc6 QxdS=.
1. . . . KxaS 2. fSQ+!
The al ternati ves don't work : 2. Rh4?
Qd5+ 3. Kb6 QdS+ 4. c7 Qd6+ 5. Kb5
Qd5 += and 2. Bh7? Ka7 3. fSQ QxfS
4. RxfS= .
2 . . . . QxfS 3. e7! Qxe7
3 . . . . QcS 4. Bf7 Ka7 5. eSQ and 3 . . . Qf5
4. Bd5 Ka7 5 . RaS al so wi n for Whi te.
4. BdS+! Ka7 S. RaS+! KxaS 6. c7+
Ka7 7. cSN+! 1-0
There i s a Dutch cl ub for endgame
study composers - see www. arves. org.
Thi s cl u b publ i shes an i nternati onal
magazi ne cal l ed ' EG'. Issues can be
downl oaded on www. gadycosteff. comj
egjeg . html
I f you want to become a good chess pl ayer, you must pl ay a l ot and anal yse your
own games and your behavi our i n them. Tournaments are good opportuni ti es for
gai ni ng a l ot of experi ence. There are bl i tz tournaments ( fi ve mi nutes thi nki ng
ti me per pl ayer) , rapi d tournaments ( 20 or 25 mi nutes) and tournaments where
the ti me-control i s mi ni mal l y two hours per pl ayer per game. Tournaments
are announced on chess websi tes, for i nstance on the si tes of nati onal chess
federati ons.
For youth pl ayers there are separate tournaments, but tal ented youth pl ayers
often compete i n events wi th adul ts because they meet stronger resistance
there. Youth pl ayers who want to devel op fast shoul d not restrict themsel ves to
youth tou rnaments. It is necessary for them to regul arl y pl ay seri ous games
wi th regul ar ti me-control s. How many games they pl ay, i s a matter of
consul tati on wi th thei r trai ner. An average of one game a week (for exampl e, i n
a cl ub competi ti on) i s probabl y the mi ni mum. Ambi ti ous youth pl ayers shoul d,
as a rul e, vi si t tournaments where they can wi n at l east hal f of thei r games.
Thi s wi l l be suffci ent as a success experi ence. Sufferi ng too many defeats wi l l
eventual l y l ead to a cramped pl ayi ng styl e. Vi si ti ng tournaments al so has a
soci al aspect. You meet a variety of peopl e and it i s fun to vi si t tournaments
outsi de your home town wi th a group of cl ub mates or fri ends.
B4. 2 Time-controls
Most pl ayers prefer ' real ' chess games, wi th a mi ni mal ti me-control of two
hours per pl ayer. There are al so other pl ayi ng tempos, l i ke rapi d and bl itz. Then
there are pl ayers who have abandoned al l board pl ay and occupy themsel ves
excl usi vel y wi th computer chess, correspondence chess, chess probl ems, or
endgame studi es. Young chi l dren wi th l i ttl e experi ence are best advi sed to pl ay
short games, total l i ng hal f an hour, for i nstance. They shoul d pl ay games wi th
enough ti me to thi nk. Youth pl ayers do not yet have a l ot to thi nk about, so i t's no
use havi ng them pl ay games that l ast much l onger than the ti me they wi l l use.
However, at a certai n pOi nt they reach t he stage where they start pl ayi ng l onger
games, and then they can parti ci pate i n weekend tournaments, for i nstance.
In most si x-round weekend tournaments i n The Netherl ands, parti ci pants are
al l owed to take one bye ( free round) . As a rul e one round i s pl ayed on Fri day
eveni ngs, three on Saturdays and two on Sundays. I n Apel doorn, parti ci pants
are al l owed to take two free rounds. Thi s offers the youngest pl ayers the
possi bi l i ty to take part i n the tournament wi thout getti ng too ti red . If youth
pl ayers qui ckl y fi ni sh thei r game i n a weekend tournament, they can anal yse
wi th thei r opponent, watch other games, or pl ay bl i tz. Of course i t wi l l be great
i f an organi zati on can fi nd a strong pl ayer who i s wi l l i ng to anal yse games wi th
youth pl ayers.
B4. 3 Supervision during tournaments
In competi ti ons a pl ayer must perform - he must show what he i s capabl e of.
Sports psychol ogi st Peter Bl itz cl ai ms that 'to perform is to present', meani ng :
you must show your tri cks. A game di ffers from a trai ni ng sessi on i n a number of
respects : there are i nterests at stake, there i s an opponent, there is an audi ence
watchi ng and pl ayi ng ti me is l i mi ted . A chess pl ayer can prepare for games by
trai ni ng and by prepari ng for speci fc opponents. By eval uati ng techni cal l y, but
al so physi cal l y and mental l y hi s game experi ences i n trai ni ngs a chess pl ayer
wi l l become stronger. It i s al so i mportant to pay attenti on to organi zati onal
aspects. I t frequentl y happens that pl ayers do not take possi bl e trai n del ays or
traffi c-j ams i nto account, causi ng them to arri ve l ate for a match . I f you are l ess
than one hour l ate, you can sti l l pl ay. But you wi l l have l ess ti me to thi nk and
the agi tati on caused by your l ate arri val i s bad for your concentrati on. Duri ng
trai ni ngs, chess i s a sci ence - duri ng matches i t's a sport. I n both si tuati ons,
chess can al so be an art.
I t i s necessary for trai ners to observe thei r pupi l s regul arl y duri ng games
and tournaments . Then they wi l l noti ce aspects of thei r sel f- management that
are not vi si bl e on the scoresheet of a game, such as ti me management, si tti ng
posi ti on, energy management and mental i ssues. On some of these i ssues, a
trai ner wi l l al ready be abl e to gi ve speci fi c advi ce duri ng a tournament. Aspects
that requi re cl oser di scussi on and exerci se can be di scussed duri ng trai ni ngs.
I t wi l l sti mul ate youth pl ayers i f a trai ner vi si ts a tournament wi th a group of
hi s pupi l s. A trai ner can ei ther pl ay there hi msel f, or si mpl y observe hi s pupi l s.
Someti mes a pl ayer gets nervous duri ng a tournament - for exampl e, i f he
has a chance to wi n i t. Thi s may l ead to i nadequate behavi our, l i ke wrong
openi ng choi ces, bad ti me management, or stress. I n such cases i t i s i mportant
that a trai ner has contact wi th hi s pl ayers between games and gi ves them
advi ce. If the trai ner i s not present i n person, he can al so contact the pl ayers
by tel ephone.
Youth pl ayer Roel and Prui jssers from Apel doorn was once one-and-a-hal f
poi nt ahead of the fel d wi th three rounds to go at a Dutch U- 1 6 champi onshi p.
He very much wanted to become champi on, but he started to fear that al l sorts
of thi ngs coul d go wrong . Duri ng the tournament he had no contact wi th any
trai ner. Prui jssers deci ded to empl oy certai n vague si del i nes i n the openi ng, and
i n the fnal round he even managed to end up i n a l ost posi ti on wi thi n twel ve
moves - wi th whi te. That year he fai l ed to become Dutch j uni or champi on. I n
2008 Roel and ( who had become an i nternati onal master i n the meanti me) pl ayed
the Dutch U- 20 champi onshi p i n Venl o. He was 18 years ol d. He was stayi ng i n
a chal et i n a hol i day resort wi th hi s cl ub mates Stefan Kui pers, Tom Meurs and
Armen Hachij an, who a l so parti ci pated i n t hi s champi onshi p. Merij n van Del ft
was on the spot as a coach duri ng the enti re tournament, and stayed i n the
house wi th the boys. Every day the pl ayers and thei r trai ner prepared i ntensi vel y
for games, and i n the eveni ngs they anal ysed the games that had been pl ayed
that day. Thi s ti me Roel and di d become Dutch champi on . It sti mul ates youth
pl ayers i f duri ng tournaments, strong pl ayers di scuss parti ci pants' games and
these di scussi ons can be watched by al l the pl ayers present. For many youth
pl ayers thi s wi l l be a once- i n- a- l ifeti me experi ence. If they pl ay at a smal l cl ub,
they often do not get many opportuni ti es to di scuss games wi th an i nternati onal
master, or to be a spectator at such an a nal ysi s.
B4. 4 Preparation
To perform opti mal l y, a pl ayer must be wel l - rested, concentrated, moti vated,
and he must feel good . It i s hel pful for many chess pl ayers to l ook forward
to a game in a l ei surel y way. On the day of the match, they have a l ei surel y
breakfast and take care that they arri ve i n the pl ayi ng hal l i n ti me. Someti mes
they take a l i ttl e strol l . Duri ng tournaments these acti vi ti es often fol l ow a fixed
pattern, whi ch has a rel axi ng effect.
The hi gher a pl ayer's l evel , the l arger i s the rol e of openi ng preparati on. In
the eveni ng or the morni ng before the game, the pl ayer l ooks at hi s opponent's
games and prepares openi ng vari ati ons. Nowadays, wi th the hel p of the computer
and databases, you can get an overvi ew of the openi ng vari ati ons your opponent
pl ays i n a spl i t second . A useful opti on i n the database programme Chessbase
i s to sel ect al l the games and downl oad them i nto a tree di agram by cl i cki ng on
' sel ecti on to book' wi th the ri ght mouse button . Thi s way you can cl i ck your way
through the games, and very qui ckl y l earn whi ch l i nes your opponent pl ays. It
is advi sabl e to keep pen and paper cl ose at hand, and to wri te down the most
i mportant games.
I n the tree di agram you cannot see when a certai n move has been pl ayed -
for that you must return to the game overvi ew. If you real l y want to go about
thi s i n a professi onal way, you can al so l ook what your opponent pl ays wi th
the other col our, to avoi d cOi nci dental l y prepari ng a vari ati on i n whi ch your
opponent speci al i zes hi msel f. Another such ti p i s to l ook up your own games i n
the database, to see what the opponent may know about you .
Besi des payi ng attenti on to your opponent's openi ng repertoi re, i t i s useful
to pl ay through a number of hi s compl ete games to get a good i dea of your
opponent's strong and weak pOi nts. When everythi ng has been wei ghed up,
the pl ayer determi nes i f he wi l l use hi s own repertoi re or prepare somethi ng
new for the occasi on. Hel p from a coach wi th preparati on can be very val uabl e,
especi al l y at champi onshi ps. Shoul d no games by your opponent be avai l abl e,
then you can prepare i n a general way by rehearsi ng known openi ng l i nes.
However, especi al l y duri ng a tense or ti ri ng event i t may be wi ser to j ust rel ax
before the game. Another opti on i s a ' warmi ng- up' wi th tacti cal exerci ses.
Especi al l y i f you haven't pl ayed any games for a whi l e, your tacti cal ski l l has
probabl y deteri orated qui ckl y, and then a tacti cal warmi ng- up i s recommended.
Duri ng champi onshi ps, young pl ayers tend to be nervous. A l i ttl e competi ti on
stress i s heal thy, because thi s hel ps you to focus on the game. However, too
much stress wi l l have a para l ysi ng effect . By regul arl y payi ng attenti on to thi s
duri ng trai ni ngs, at l east part of the stress can be removed . I n a group trai ni ng,
for exampl e, experi ences can be i nterchanged . By thi nki ng beforehand what
you are goi ng to do i n certai n si tuati ons, you can reduce stress.
A so-cal l ed ' angstgegner' requi res speci al preparati on before the game. An
' angstgegner' i s an opponent who i s equal l y strong or weaker than you i n theory,
but whom you have repeatedl y fai l ed to beat. Losi ng agai nst a consi derabl y
weaker pl ayer can have di fferent causes - techni cal as wel l as psychol ogi cal ones.
An opponent wi th a strong personal i ty can cause a pl ayer who i s suscepti bl e to
thi s to be unsure of hi msel f. Hi s pl ay becomes cramped, he makes mi stakes or
does not dare to take hi s chances. Al so, an opponent may have a pl ayi ng styl e
or an openi ng repertoi re that i sn't to your taste. A pl ayer who i nterprets such
defeats wrongl y may l ose sel f-confdence, whi ch, consequentl y, wi l l cramp hi s
styl e on a fol l owi ng occasi on. As a resul t of thi s ' sel f-ful fi l l i ng prophecy' ( i . e. a
prophecy that you bel i eve i n as a consequence of whi ch your own behavi our
wi l l bri ng about the same effect) he wi l l l ose the next game agai n. By 'force of
repeti ti on' - you keep thi nki ng that you j ust cannot wi n - you subconsci ousy
strengthen the i mage of an i nvi nci bl e opponent.
The first necessary condi ti on for getti ng ri d of an ' angstgegner' i s to recogni ze
the phenomenon . Understandi ng is a prerequi si te for goal -ori ented acti on.
Anal yse your defeats agai nst your ' angstgegner' as objecti vel y as you can and
try to fi nd out what went wrong. Anal yse defeats by your ' angstgegner' agai nst
other pl ayers and t hi nk of reasons why you may be abl e to beat hi m. Thi nk
before t he game how you want t o pl ay agai nst hi m, and what you wi l l do i f he
reacts i n a certai n way. A necessary condi ti on for wi nni ng i s t he bel i ef that you
can wi n. By the way, the same condi ti ons are val i d when you face theoretical l y
much stronger pl ayers.
B4. s Pl ayi ng games
In fact, whi l e pl ayi ng a game you have to t hi nk about a huge amount of thi ngs
at the same ti me. It's enough to dri ve you crazy. Therefore, the most i mportant
practi cal rul e i s: forget everythi ng you've l earned and j ust pl ay a ni ce game.
Al l the knowl edge you have acqui red shoul d come to you subconsci ousl y.
Consci ousl y tryi ng to appl y al l sorts of ( arti fi ci al ) rul es wi l l have a contrary
effect. 99% of chess is tacti cs, so j ust si t down, cal cu l ate, and pl ay your game.
I n an opti mum state of mi nd you wi l l enjoy pl ayi ng and your concentrati on wi l l
be good ( see al so the paragraph about fl ow) .
At moments l i ke thi s, chess i s a sport. Thi s means that you must be practi cal ,
fi ght for al l you are worth, and be sportsmanl i ke. Bei ng practi cal means that
you shoul d not try to pl ay a perfect game, as thi s i s vi rtual l y i mpossi bl e.
Perfecti on i sm i s one of the mai n causes of ti me-troubl e. Di vi di ng your ti me wel l
i s a true a rt whi ch requi res a l ot of practi ce. I n a sport you must fi ght wi th al l
your mi ght for your chances. Thi s al so i nvol ves sportsmanshi p. Young pl ayers
who behave unsportsmanl i ke due to i nexperi ence shoul d be conSi stentl y taken
to task. The same goes for i nexperi enced parents who l ose si ght of real ity i n the
heat of the battl e.
Thi nki ng about the resul t of the game or about the tournament ranki ng
can have a very negati ve i nfl uence on concentrati on. A pl ayer shoul d focus on
l ooki ng for the best possi bl e move at each turn . Thi s wi l l al l ow hi m to thi nk
constructi vel y, and al so t o control hi s nerves. A pl ayer can trai n on thi s aspect,
cl ai ms Dani sh grandmaster Sune Berg Hansen. About pl ayi ng a game John Nunn
has wri tten an excepti onal l y i nstructi ve chapter cal l ed 'At t he board', whi ch i s
the fi rst chapter of hi s cl assi c ' Secrets of Practi cal Chess'. Thi s book came out
i n 1998 and had a second edi ti on i n 2007, wi th a l ot of new materi al about the
rol e of the computer. Nunn al so pays a l ot of attenti on to a vari ety of aspects
that are connected wi th deci si on- maki ng and vari ati on cal cul ati on . The other
chapters a re about pl ay i n the openi ng, the mi ddl egame and the endgame.
B4. 6 Analysis
Duri ng a game i t i s very i mportant to l ook upon chess as a sport : what counts
i s to wi n, and in a l i mi ted peri od of ti me a number of practi ca l deci si ons have to
be made. However, after the game the moment arri ves when chess becomes a
sci ence. The di scussi on after the game i s cal l ed ' anal ysi ng' or al so ' post- mortem'.
Anal ysi ng your own games i s a cruci al l i nk i n your chess devel opment. You can
l earn best and qui ckest from your own mi stakes. One of the reasons for thi s i s
that you have a stronger emoti onal i nvol vement wi th your own games. If you
l earn onl y one thi ng from every game, you wi l l go a l ong way. I n these modern
ti mes i t i s i mportant to force yoursel f to first anal yse by yoursel f, and onl y then
use the computer. Thi s wi l l substanti al l y i mprove the l earni ng effecti veness.
Anal ysi s i s the search for what coul d have gone better or di fferentl y i n a
game. Under the surace of the move pl ayed there are often an abundance of
possi bi l i ti es.
Thi s is what makes chess
so i nteresti ng . Si mpl y
put, anal ysi s i s tryi ng out
other moves. Many moves
force themsel ves upon
you automati ca l l y and are
j ust beggi ng to be tested
( duri ng the game you can
onl y make one move at a
ti me ! ) , but some moves
are counter- i ntui ti ve
and harder to fi nd. The
di scovery of a surpri si ng,
creati ve move can gi ve
you a l ot of sati sfacti on .
Anal ysi s is more fun when
i t i s done together wi th
others. Thi s al so means
that you shoul d be open
for suggesti ons by others.
Many pl ayers are j ust
ful l of thei r own i deas,
convi nced that they are
ri ght, and unabl e to l i sten
to others. Respect for
each other i s an i mportant
thi ng. Even a rel ati vel y
weak pl ayer can suggest
a good move.
l. to. r. Roi Miedema, Merijn van Delf and Roeland Pruijssers.
It is good to regul arl y
anal yse your games wi th a strong pl ayer. Thi s stronger pl ayer wi l l have a better
understandi ng, he ' reads' the game better and has more experi ence, and
consequentl y he wi l l be abl e to poi nt out mi stakes to you that you wou l d not
have found yoursel f. Starti ng when he was twel ve years ol d, Merij n van Del ft
pai d Marc J onker one- hour vi si ts every week for a coupl e of years to anal yse
hi s games. J ust l i ke exerci si ng tacti cs and pl ayi ng many games, such anal ysi s
sessi ons are i ndi spensi bl e for a young pl ayer who wants to devel op. There i s a
number of gol den rul es wi th respect to the anal ysi s of you r own games :
1 . Al ways anal yse wi th your opponent after the game. Thi s i s how Loek
van Wel y became strong : he pl ayed an awful l ot, and after the game he
i nvari abl y anal ysed wi th hi s opponent. The anal ysi s i mmedi atel y after
the game i s a l so cal l ed ' post mortem'. You may deci de to make some
notes al ready duri ng thi s anal ysi s. If you have a good memory, thi s i s
not necessary, but i n that case you must remember to save your notes
ti mel y, because after one week you wi l l have forgotten a l ot . Duri ng a
ti ri ng tournament where several games are pl ayed on one day, it is wi se
to l i mi t the anal ysi s to a short di scussi on after each game, and save your
energy for the next game.
2 . Create a database i n the computer for savi ng your own games. You can
name i t ' My games', or ' Merij nbase', or somethi ng l i ke that. Enter al l
you r games here, regardl ess of the resul t.
3 . Anal yse al l your own games. If you have l i ttl e ti me, j ust reproduce the
fi ndi ngs from the post mortem, but at l east i ndi cate a few cri ti cal poi nts.
These notes do not have t o be correct or compl ete by any means -
everythi ng that you save i n your computer wi l l not be l ost and you can
conti nue work on i t at another ti me. If you have more ti me, you can, of
course, make a compl ete anal ysi s. You can l earn somethi ng of any game
- wi n, draw or l oss .
4. Publ i sh your anal yses. Thi s i s a wel l - known advi ce from former worl d
champi on Mi khai l Botvi nni k. J an Ti mman wri tes i n hi s books how he
pai nstaki ngl y fol l owed thi s advi ce, acknowl edgi ng the rol e thi s has
pl ayed i n hi s devel opment. Some pl ayers do not publ i sh thei r game
anal yses, for fear that i t wi l l al l ow thei r ri val s to prepare better for them.
Thi s fear is unfounded, because the greatest expert on your own games
wi l l al ways be you yoursel f. By publ i shi ng your games you wi l l force
yoursel f to regard them more cri ti cal l y. If you real l y do want to keep
a vari ati on you have found i n a cri ti cal openi ng posi ti on secret, then
there i s an el egant sol uti on : j ust gi ve the first move of the vari ati on, for
exampl e by wri ti ng : 'Al so cri ti cal i s 1 6. hS! ?'.
As soon as your own anal ysi s i s suffi ci entl y devel oped, turn on the computer.
You can make a game anal ysi s wi th the computer by fol l owi ng the steps gi ven
bel ow:
1 . Unravel the openi ng phase of the game wi th the hel p of databases,
books and arti cl es. Fi nd out what the frst new move i s.
2. Add al l the comments that you have i n your head - the vari ati ons you
have thought of duri ng the game as wel l as the vari ati ons that have
been di scussed duri ng the post mortem.
3. Pl ay through t he game wi th an engi ne l i ke Rybka or Fri tz and work out
vari ati ons.
4. Pi npoi nt the turni ng- pai nts of the game and put questi on marks i n the
ri ght pl aces. A game anal ysi s shoul d be a l ogi cal whol e. I n the starti ng
posi ti on there i s an approxi mate bal ance between equal i ty and a sl i ght
edge for Whi te, but as soon as one of the pl ayers makes a mi stake, thi s
shoul d be refl ected i n the assessment of the posi ti on .
5 . Round off. There shoul d be a bal ance between vari ati ons and text, the
anal ysi s must be a careful l y edi ted whol e. Everythi ng i n i t must have
a functi on - i t shoul d not be there for nothi ng. No i naccuraci es, no
red undanci es. Wri ti ng a ful l y-fl edged game anal ysi s i s an art of i ts own .
Apart from techni cal factors, psychol ogi cal factors al so pl ay a part duri ng a
game. It i s useful to try and bri ng these factors to the surface i n your anal ysi s.
It i s i nteresti ng to know whi ch mi stakes you have made, but i t i s even more
i nteresti ng to know why you made them. There can be al l ki nds of reasons :
nerves, u nderesti mati on of the opponent, i ndeci si veness, etcetera . Apart from
the cl assi cal way of anal ysi ng, i t is al so possi bl e to anal yse a game wi th an
anal ysi s questi onnai re ( see the paragraph on the Anal ysi s Questi onnai re) . Thi s
may bri ng to l i ght certai n new aspects that you have not thought of before. A
ni ce procedure is pl ayi ng correspondence chess. Here, as opposed to normal
chess, you are al l owed to touch the pi eces and you can i nvesti gate vari ati ons
much more deepl y.
The fol l owi ng paragraph contai ns a few exampl es of game anal yses. I n a
wri tten anal ysi s, certai n symbol s ( or creati ve vari ants of them) are used to
assess the moves :
! ! excel l ent move
good move
! ? i nteresti ng move
? ! dubi ous move
? bad move
?? bl under
N new move
For the assessment of a posi ti on the fol l owi ng symbol s exi st :
wi nni ng advantage for White
cl ear adva ntage for Whi te
smal l advantage for Whi te
equal posi ti on
C uncl ear posi ti on ( thi s can be i nterpreted as l azi ness on the part
of the anal yst, but Nunn's conventi on i s: ' a compl i cated posi ti on
that i s approxi matel y equal ')
wi th counterpl ay
e wi th compensati on for the sacri fced materi al
+ smal l advantage for Bl ack
= cl ear advantage for Bl ack
wi nni ng advantage for Bl ack
The three possi bl e resul ts of the game are :
1- 0 Whi te wi ns
'1- 12 Draw
0- 1 Bl ack wi ns.
B4. 7 Analysis examples
I n the previ ous paragraph we have
expl ai ned what the anal ysi s of a
game entai l s. Bel ow we gi ve three
exampl es of a game anal ysi s. In al l
three cases, the ori gi nal anal ysi s has
been kept i ntact. The frst one i s very
extensi ve, but it gi ves a ni ce pi cture
of al l the thi ngs that can be i ncl uded
i n an anal ysi s. A real chess pl ayer al so
anal yses hi s defeats!
Arne Mol l - Tom Bottema
Dutch tt, 27 November 2004
Anal ysi s : Arne Mol l
1. e4 Ne6
I had mai nl y prepared for Booij and
Peek, and was sl i ghtl y surpri sed when
I had to pl ay Bottema . As I had no i dea
what was hi s customary repl y to 1 . e4,
I was very pl easantl y surpri sed when
he pl ayed the Ni mzowi tsch, whi ch i s
after al l an openi ng that i s regul arl y
pl ayed at Euwe ( i . e. , the name of
Mol l 's chess cl ub at the ti me) .
2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Bg4?!
7 . . . . Bg6 8. Qe2 e6 9. Ne3
9. Nbd2! ?
9 . . . . Nf6
By transposi ti on we fi nd oursel ves on
' normal ' Ni mzowi tsch paths agai n.
Whi te has a space advantage, and
Bl ack has probl ems wi th hi s queensi de
pawns. Sti l l , for the moment Bl ack's
posi ti on i s sol i d . He can possi bl y
pl ay al ong the b-fi l e, and White must
conti nue energeti cal l y.
10. h4! ?
Pl ayed by none other than J ul i an
Hodgson, but perhaps not the best
choi ce. Stronger was 1 0. Bg5 ! , whi ch
I had pl ayed mysel f i n an earl i er
rapi d game, as I di scovered when I
checked . Bl ack is i n for a rough ri de,
for exampl e : 10 . . . . Be7 1 1 . Bxf6! Bxf6
1 2. h4 h5 1 3 . g5 Be7 1 4. 0-0-0 Qb8
1 5. Nd2 ! Mol l - Rebel , rapi d 1994, and
Boj kovi c- Mi ci c, 1990.
10 . . . . hS
I was gl ad wi th t hi s move. Now White
More ci rcumspect i s 3 . . . . Nf6. gets a cl osed posi ti on, where he can
target the weakness i n Bl ack's camp
4. BbS at ease. 10 . . . . h6! ? i s what I had
expected, and I di d not yet know what
4. d5 I was goi ng t o pl ay after that.
4 . . . . a6 S. Bxe6 bxe6 6. h3 BhS 7. 1 1. gS Nd7
g4! ?
Stri ctl y speaki ng, a novel ty, even
though i t l eads to transposi ti on. The
i dea to chase the bi shop to g6 i s
known i n thi s type of posi ti on, but
not speci fi cal l y here. Al so possi bl e
i s 7. Nc3, but wi th thi s move order,
probabl y the most pri nci pl ed move i s
7. c4!
1 1 . . . . Ng4? 1 2. Nd2 e5 1 3 . d5+
fol l owed by f2-f3.
12. Qe4! N
Agai n a move that pl eased me. Whi te
i ncreases the pressure, al so prepari ng
Nc3-e2-f4 i n passi ng, and forces Bl ack
to make further concessi ons. Hodgson
pl ayed the i mpul si ve 1 2. d5! ?, and
after 1 2 . . . . c5 ( 1 2 . . . . cxd5 1 3. exd5
e5 14. Nd4 Nb8 1 5 . f4 Qe7) 1 3 . e5 ! ?
dxe5 1 4. dxe6 fxe6 1 5. Nxe5 Nxe5
16. Qxe5 Qd7 Bl ack's acti ve bi shop
pai r wei ghed up agai nst hi s destroyed
pawn structure, Hodgson-Wockenfuss,
12 . . . . es 13. dxes!
Thi s was my i dea . After 1 3 . d5 Nb6
White has accompl i shed nothi ng.
13 . . . . Nxes 14. 8e3!
White conti nues hi s poi nted pl ay.
Bottema now san k i nto deep thought,
presumabl y cal cul ati ng Bxe4. However,
I had seen that thi s was not possi bl e.
Therefore, Bl ack must retreat further.
14 . . . . Nd7
14 . . . . Bxe4? seemed tempti ng, but i t
i s wrong after 1 5 . Nxe4 d5 16. O-O-O!
wi th the fol l owi ng possi bi l i ti es : 1 6 . . . .
dxc4 ( 1 6 . . . . Nxe4 1 7 . Qc6 Ke7 1 8.
g6! ; 1 6 . . . . Qc8 1 7. Qc3 ! Nxe4 1 8.
Qc6 Ke7 1 9. c4! ) 1 7. Rxd8 Rxd8 1 8.
15. Qa4!
It l ooks a l i ttl e strange to gi ve
excl amati on marks to Whi te's l ast four
moves. However, they do not onl y
serve t o i ndi cate t he techni cal si de of
the matter, but al so the psychol ogi cal
si de. At thi s moment I fel t stronger than
ever: not onl y had I been unbeaten
for months, but on thi s speci fi c day I
fel t especi al l y fit and sharp. Thi s was
i l l ustrated by my moves : they were al l
t o the poi nt and they al l came wi th a
cl ear threat - fol l owi ng i n the footsteps
of Gri schuk. The text move al so fits
perfectl y i nto Whi te's pl an of besi egi ng
the bl ack queensi de. The kni ght i s
pi nned, moves l i ke e4-e5 are hangi ng
i n the ai r, and Nd4-c6 i s comi ng.
15 . . . . 8e7 16. Nd4 es?!
Thi s move came as a surpri se. I had
prepared to pl ay a hi ghl y pl easant
pressure posi ti on, but now thi ngs
suddenl y get much more concrete.
I nci dental l y, thi s shoul d have worked
out favourabl y for Whi te, and therefore
Bl ack coul d al so have conti nued i n
Ni mzowi tsch styl e wi th hi s cat-and
mouse pl ay : 1 6 . . . . 0-0 17. Nc6 Qe8
1 8. 0-0-0 was what I had expected .
Whi te has a very pl easant posi ti on, as
becomes cl ea r i f Bl ack tri es to force
matters : 18 . . . . Ne5 ( 18 . . . . Nb6 1 9.
Nxe7 Qxe7 20. Bxb6 cxb6 2 1 . Qb4)
1 9. Nxe5 ! ( 19. Nxe7?! Qxe7 20. f4
Ng4) 1 9 . . . . Qxa4 ( 19 . . . . dxe5 20. Rd7
or 20. Qc4) 20. Nxa4 dxe5 2 1 . Bc5 !
17. Ne6 Qb6
Better was 17 . . . . Qc7.
18. 0-0-0 Re8
What el se?
19. Nxe7?
Onl y now, duri ng anal ysi s, do I see
that thi s move, whi ch I have l ong
condemned as wrong, may not be so
bad . For a l ong ti me I thought that thi s
was the i ntroducti on to an i ncorrect
sacri fci al combi nati on, but j ust as Fri tz The ri ght move, but not for the reasons
someti mes bri ngs humi l i ati ng bl unders I had i n mi nd, as we wi l l see. Sti l l ,
to l i ght, i t can al so someti mes l ay bare maybe somethi ng l i ke ' i ntui ti on' exi sts
amazi ng attacki ng twi sts - such as after al l - who knows? In any case,
here. Yet, I cannot avoi d gi vi ng thi s now the whi te attack i ndeed turns out
move a questi on mark, si nce wi th i t to be strong enough for at l east a draw,
Whi te unnecessari l y makes thi ngs but the vari ati on compl exes are so
extremel y hard for hi msel f. Whi te extremel y compl i cated that any cl ever
coul d have crowned hi s posi ti onal tri ck can turn the tabl es i mmedi atel y.
pressure pl ay much more easi l y wi th After the qui et 2 1 . b3? Qb4! Bl ack has
the beauti ful move 19. Ne5 ! ! , total l y al l the chances, for exampl e: 22. Qxa6
destroyi ng Bl ack's pawn structure, for Rb6 23. Qd3 Ra8ii; 2 1 . Qa3 Qb4!
exampl e: 19 . . . . Rc7 ( 1 9 . . . . Rd8 20.
Nc4 ( 20. Nxg6! ? fxg6 2 1 . Qc4) 20. . . . 2 1 . . . . Qxb2+ 22. Kd2 NeS!
Qb4 ( 20 . . . . Qc7 2 1 . Qxa6) 2 1 . Nxd6
Bxd6 22. Rxd6 Qxa4 23. Nxa4 Bxe4
24. Rhd 1 etc. ) 20. Nxg6 ( 20. Nc4! ?
Qc6 2 1 . f3 ! and Bl ack i s total l y
restricted, whereas al l hi s weaknesses
remai n) 20 . . . . fxg6 2 1 . Qc4
19 . . . . Kxe7 20. f4
Whi te is burni ng hi s bri dges behi nd
hi m. Safer was 20. Bf4! ? - whi ch I
hadn't l ooked at - 20. . . . Rc6 2 1 .
Rhe 1 Ne5 ( 2 1 . . . . Rb8 22. Nd5 ! exd5
23. Qxc6! Qxb2 24. Kd2 Qd4 25. Ke2
Qc4 26. Kf3 Bxe4 27. Kg3+- ) 22. Bxe5
( Fritz gi ves the sharp 22. Rxd6! ? here :
22 . . . Kxd6! ( 22 . . . . Rxd6 23. Bxe5 Rd7
24. Bxg7 Rb8 25. Bf6 Ke8 26. b3;
and I prefer Whi te here, even i f i t i s
not as cl ear as Fri tz thi nks) 23. Rd 1
( 23. Bxe5? Kxe5 24. Rd 1 c4 doesn1
work for Whi te) 23 . . . . Ke7 24. Bxe5 f6
25. gxf6 gxf6 26. Bf4 wi th an uncl ear
posi ti on) 22. . . . dxe5 23. f4! and
perhaps Whi te i s sti l l better, al though
I' m not so sure of i t.
20 . . . . Rb8!
Duri ng the game I thought thi s was
the l osi ng move, but i n fact i t i s Bl ack's
onl y chance. After other moves he wi l l
si mpl y be crushed .
21. fS!
The onl y move, but I thought I had
al ready seen the ' refutati on'. 22. . . .
exf5? 2 3 . Rb1 +- ; 2 2 . . . . Nb6? 23.
Qxa6; 22 . . . . Rb4 23. Qxa6 Ne5 24.
fxg6! ! See the comment after move
23. f6+??
Uh, oh ! Thi s is the begi nni ng of a fata
morgana that was to vi cti mi ze the
enti re pl ayi ng venue. I thought I had
cal cul ated everythi ng bri l l i antl y: thi s
i ntermedi ate check forces the bl ack
ki ng to the f-fi l e, after whi ch I pl ay my
rook to f1 wi th tempo, preventi ng Nf3+
at the same ti me. What both pl ayers
hadn't seen i s that Bl ack actual l y
doesn't need Nf3+ at al l . Correct was
the si mpl e yet horri bl y compl i cated
23. fxg6! , whi ch I had turned down i n
vi ew of 23 . . . . Rb4 ( 23 . . . . Nf3? 24.
Ke2 Qxc3 25. Qxa6! +- and d6 fal l s;
23 . . . . fxg6 24. a3 ! ) 24. Qxa6 Nc4 ( 24.
. . . Nf3 25. Ke2 Nd4 26. Bxd4 cxd4 27.
Qa7+- ) and t hi s seemed t o me t o be
too ri sky for Whi te. However, I had
mi ssed that Whi te now al so threatens
Qa7+ and xf7. Thi s makes the posi ti on
so compl i cated that I now present the
bel ow vari ati ons i n the hope that the
reader can add hi s own fi ndi ngs to
them. My tentati ve concl usi on i s that
the posi ti on can be hel d . . . by both
pl ayers. 25. Ke2! The correct way
to pl ay for a wi n. Now we get two
vari ati on compl exes :
Variation A: 25 . . . . Qxc2 26. Bd2 ( 26.
Rd2? Qxc3) 26 . . . . Nxd2 A fasci nati ng
posi ti on, whi ch has cost me many an
hour's work. I ni ti al l y, I thought that
Bl ack can now draw wi th the tri ck
Rxe4+, but then I real i zed that Whi te
can sti l l pl ay for a wi n by gi vi ng two
i ntermedi ate checks. The vari ati ons
are too ni ce not to show - hopeful l y
the reader wi l l forgi ve me for t hi s
smal l si destep : 27. Qa7 ! The i dea i s
to protect c3, and we wi l l soon see
why thi s i s necessary ( not the di rect
27. Rxd2 Rxe4 28. Kf3, as now Bl ack
has the pretty 28 . . . . Rf4 ! ! ( 28 . . . .
Qxd2 29. Nxe4+- ) 29. Kg3 ( 29. Kxf4?
Qxd2-+ ; 29. Ke3? i s i mpossi bl e now i n
vi ew of 29 . . . . Qxc3 - here we see why
i t i s useful for Whi te to protect c3 ! )
29 . . . . Rg4 30. Kh3 Qxd2 and Whi te
has to gi ve perpetual check) . 27 . . . .
Kd8! Now thi s i s the ri ght square. 28.
Qa5! The i dea becomes cl ear. 28 . . . .
Kd7! Or al so to c8 ( i n any case the
ki ng cannot go to e8, si nce then Whi te
wi ns beauti ful l y: 28 . . . . Ke8? 29. Rxd2
Rxe4 30. Kf3 ! Rf4! ( 30 . . . . Qxd2 3 1 .
Qb5+- ) and now: 3 1 . Ke3 ! ! and c3
i s protected, therefore Whi te wi ns ! ) .
29. Rxd2 Qxc3 ! Now thi s i s necessary.
( agai n, bad was 29 . . . . Rxe4 30. Kf3 !
Rf4 3 1 . Ke3 ! ! +- ) 30. Qa7 Kc6 3 1 . Qa6
Kc7 32. Qxd6 Kb7 and i t l ooks as i f
Whi te cannot make any progress,
al though he can keep tryi ng wi th, for
i nstance : 33. Qf4! ? Rb2 ! 34. Rhd l ! ?
( 34. gxf7 Qc4 3 5 . Kf3 Qc3=) 3 4 . . . .
fxg6 35. Rxb2 Qxb2 36. Rd2 Qb5 37.
Kf2 uncl ear.
Variation B: 25 . . . . Qxc3 ! ? I thi nk that
thi s i s the safest way for Bl ack. By the
way, after 26. Qa7 ( 26. Rd3 Qxc2 27.
Bd2 Rd8! ) he woul d have t o fi nd the
bri l l i ant 26 . . . . Ke8! ! (26 . . . . Kd8 27.
Qxc5 ! ( 27. Bxc5 Qxc2 28. Kf3 Rb2-
+) 27 . . . . Qxc2 28. Kf3 d5 29. Rxd5!
exd5 30. Qxd5 Kc8 31 . Qc5 Kd7 32.
Qxb4+- ) 27. Qxf7 ( 27. gxf7? Kf8) 27 .
. . . Kd8 28. Rd3 ! Qxc2 29. Bd2 and
now another pretty tri ck : 29 . . . . Qxd3!
( 29 . . . . Re8 30. Qxg7) 30. Kxd3 Ne5
3 1 . Ke3 Nxf7 32. Bxb4 Ne5 (32 . . . .
cxb4? 33. gxf7 g 6 34. Kd4+- ) 33. Bc3
Nxg6 34. Bxg7 Rg8 wi th a compl i cated
endgame. Both si des have thei r trumps
and thei r sources of worry - chances
are probabl y about equal .
23 . . . . gxf6 24. gxf6 Kxf6
24 . . . . Kf8 25. Rb l +- ; 24 . . . . Kd8 25.
Rbl +-
25. Rhfl Kg7 26. Rb1
Pl ayed wi th ful l confi dence, and here
I l eft the board to take a wal k. So I
was goi ng to wi n, and apparentl y my
opponent thought the same, for when
I returned he had pl ayed :
26 . . . . Rb4??
The expected move. Whi te remai ns a
pi ece up. Not unti l the next day di d it
si nk i n to us al l that we had col l ecti vel y
mi ssed a si mpl e tri ck. Qui te si mpl e - i f
onl y you see i t! - was : 26 . . . . Qa3 ! ! ,
after whi ch Bl ack si mpl y remai ns two
pawns up. There are no vari ati ons.
Terri bl e.
27. Rxb2 Nc4+!
Thi s i ntermedi ate move confused me.
I hadn't seen i t! Now I cannot go to
d3 wi th my ki ng, as then b2 fal l s wi th
check! I now saw that I coul d go to e2,
but then pawn c2 mi ght fal l prey to the
bl ack bi shop ( whi ch wou l d capture on
e4 first) . Therefore, I pl ayed my ki ng
i mpul si vel y to the onl y other square
where it protected c2, compl etel y
forgetti ng that my bi shop on e3
remai ned unprotected now. 27. . . .
Rxa4 28. Nxa4 Nc4+ 29. Kd3 Nxb2+
30. Nxb2 d5 3 1 . Bxc5+-
28. Kc1??
28. Ke2 Rxa4 29. Nxa4 Nxb2 30. Nxb2
Bxe4 3 1 . Nc4! Bxc2 32. Nxd6+- wi ns
easi l y for Whi te, especi al l y si nce he
wi l l eat up al l the queensi de pawns. I t
i s unbel i evabl e that I di dn't go for thi s,
but maybe thi s game had sapped too
much of my energy al ready.
28 . . . . Rxa4 29. Nxa4 Nxe3!
Of course. Now i t's a compl etel y
di fferent story. The bl ack centre i s
dangerous, and Whi te's pi eces are off
si de. Suddenl y the posi ti on is hi ghl y
uncl ear, a nd I woul dn't be surpri sed
i f Bl ack i s al ready better here. I n
any case Bottema di spl ayed fl awl ess
techni que from here on.
30. Rg1
Another possi bi l i ty was 30. Rel Nc4
3 1 . Rb3 wi th an uncl ear posi ti on .
30 . . . . Nc4 31. Rb7
3 1 . Rb3 ! ?
31 . . . . Kf6 32. Nb6
Exchangi ng kni ghts l ooked l i ke the
correct deci si on, but now i t seems to
me that thi s exchange favours Bl ack :
hi s ki ng can become acti ve more
qui ckl y. However, 32. Nc3 Ke5 wasn't
a bed of roses for Whi te ei ther.
32 . . . . Nxb6!
The ri ght deci si on . True, Whi te now
wi ns back a pawn, but Bl ack remai ns
the more acti ve. 32 . . . . Ne5? ! 33. Nd7
Nxd7 34. Rxd7 favours Whi te, si nce the
bl ack pawn front wi l l be anni hi l ated ;
32 . . . . Ne3 33. Nd7 Kg7 34. e5!
33. Rxb6 Rd8!
33 . . . . Ke5 34. Rg5
34. RgS! ?
Whi te wants t o have two passed rook
pawns, but unfortunatel y these cannot
be set i n moti on qui ckl y enough. There
were more i mportant thi ngs to attend
to frst : the march of the central bl ack
pawns, supported by thei r ki ng, wi l l
be fast . I nci dental l y, i t was doubtful
whether there was anythi ng better for
Whi te.
34 . . . . Bxe4 3S. RxhS dS! 36. Rxa6
Now Bl ack i s very acti ve. Neverthel ess,
here I sti l l thought that I ought to be
better wi th correct pl ay. Those two
passed pawns . . . but the whi te rooks
do not coordi nate at al l and the bl ack
pi eces are much better posi ti oned .
37. Ra3 c4 38. Rg5! ?
Bl ack bei ng i n sl i ght ti me-troubl e, I
tri ed to confront hi m wi th a di ffcul t
choi ce. But obvi ousl y he does not
exchange rooks.
38 . . . . Rh8!
38 . . . . Rxg5? 39. hxg5+ Kxg5 40. Rc3 !
and onl y Whi te can pl ay for a wi n .
39. Rh3 Bf5!
Sol i d and strong. Bl ack pl ays the
endi ng excel l entl y. 39 . . . . Rxh4? i s
what Fri tz wants to pl ay, but after 40.
Rxh4 Kxg5 4 1 . Rh8! the whi te a- pawn
i s very dangerous.
40. Rh2 d4
Rb6 52. Ka i ( 52. Kci Rf6-+) 52 . . . .
Bxc2 ! 53. Rxc2 Rxh6 54. Rxfl Rh i 55.
Ka2 e4 56. Kb3 Rbi 57. Ka2 Rb6 and
Bl ack shoul d wi n.
42 . . . . dxc3 43. Rxc3 Bd3 44. a3! ?
I n order to be abl e to pl ay the ki ng
to d2. The i mmedi ate march of the
h- pawn woul d al so end badl y, for
exampl e: 44. h5 Ke5 45. Kd 1 ( I hadn't
seen thi s possi bi l ity, by the way) 45.
. . . Kd4! ? ( 45 . . . . f 5 46. h6 Kd4 47. Rci
f4 l ooks good for Bl ack as wel l ) 46. Rci
e5 ( 46 . . . . c3 47. h6 e5 48. Rh4 e4 49.
h7 Rh8 50. a4 f5 5 1 . as f4) 47. Rh4 e4
48. h6 f5 49. h7 Rh8 50. a4 f4-+
44 . . . . Ke5 45. Kd2 Kd4?!
More convi nci ng was 45. Rb8! 46.
Kd i Kd4 47. Rci c3- +.
46. Rf2?!
After thi s move the game i s l ost. More
White has made no progress tenaci ous was 46. Rh3, i ntendi ng to
whatsoever wi th hi s pawns, hi s ki ng take twi ce on d3, but obvi ousl y Bl ack
posi ti on i s sti l l bad, and the bl ack pawns woul d not al l ow thi s : 46 . . . . Be4! 47.
are starti ng t o become menaci ng. I t i s h 5 f5 48. h6 f4 and Bl ack shoul d wi n.
cl ear that somethi ng has gone wrong .
41. Rg3 Ra8
41 . . . . c3 ! ?
42. c3
Thi s appears to favour Whi te, but thi s
remai ns to be seen. Another possi bi l i ty
was 42. Kb2 Rb8 (42 . . . . c3 43. Kb3
e5 44. Rf2) 43. Ka i ( 43. Kci c3) 43.
. . . c3 1 and Bl ack seems to wi n after
al l , see : 44. h5 Rb2 45. Rgg2! ? ( 45.
h6 Rxc2 ( 45 . . . . Bh7 46. Rf3 Ke7 47.
Rhf2 ! ) 46. Rxc2 Bxc2 47. a4 Be4 48.
as d3-+) 45 . . . . e5 46. h6 Bh7 and
now, for exampl e : 47. a4 Ke6 48. as
Kd5 49. a6 Rb6 50. Rg7 Rxa6 5 1 . Kbi
46 . . . . f5 47. Rf4+ Ke5!
Al so here, Bl ack chooses the correct
pl an. Hi s ki ng goes back to f6 and then
he merri l y starts rol l i ng hi s pawns.
48. Ke3 Kf6! 49. Rf2 e5 50. h5 f4+
51. Kd2 Kf5
Onl y here di d I real i ze that for the first
ti me in more than a year I was goi ng to
score a zero i n the team competi ti on.
Fortunatel y, my team had al ready won
the match .
52. h6 e4 53. Rh2 e3+ 54. Kel f3
A sorry si ght. The bl ack pawns wi l l
reach the other si de, whereas the
whi te ones are nowhere to be seen.
To ease t he pai n I pl ayed on for a bi t,
agai nst my better j udgment, of course.
55. Rxd3 cxd3 56. h7 Rb8 57.
Rh5+ Kg4
And Whi te resi gned . A tense,
i nstructi ve, and, above al l , di ffcul t
Anal ysi ng your own games i s a l ways
useful . You can l earn concrete thi ngs
as wel l as draw general l essons from
i t. Often i t takes a l i ttl e ti me before
you can use these new i nsi ghts. I n
2001 , Merij n van Del ft suffered a
pai nful l y qui ck defeat at the hands
of the Bel gi an master Mi chel Jadoul .
Extensi ve anal ysi s showed what had
gone wrong. Not unti l two years l ater
di d the same openi ng reappear on the
board, and fi nal l y Merij n was abl e to
use hi s new knowl edge :
GM Dori an Rogozenko
Merij n van Del ft
Hamburg, 7 J une 2003
Anal ysi s : Merij n van Del ft
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4.
g3 0-0 5. Bg2 d6 6. 0-0 Nc6
An i mportant nuance. After 6 . . . . e5 7.
d4! I woul d have been forced t o pl ay
the l i ne wi th 7 . . . . Nbd7.
7. d3
After thi s move Whi te can no l onger
hope for an openi ng advantage; 7. d4.
7 . . . . e5 8. Rbl a5 9. a3 Re8
Al though thi s vari ati on is known to be
equal , i n 2001 I suffered a pai nful l oss
wi th i t agai nst Jadoul . Thi s ti me I was
better prepared .
10. Bg5
1 0. b4 axb4 1 1 . axb4 e4 1 2. dxe4
Nxe4 1 3 . Nxe4 Rxe4 is comfortabl e for
Bl ack. More accuracy is needed after
1 0. Nd2, and now:
a) 1 0 . . . . Be6? 1 1 . Nd5! gi ves White
a pl easant advantage as Bl ack wi l l no
l onger get i n d5 : 1 1 . . . . h6 1 2. b4 axb4
1 3 . axb4 Rb8 1 4. b5 Ne7 1 5. Qb3!
Keepi ng the bi nd. 15 . . . . Nf5 1 6. e3
Nd7 17. Qc2 Ne7 18. Ba3 Nf6 1 9. Qb3
Qd7 20. b6! Whi te breaks through. 20.
. . . c6 2 1 . Nxf6 Bxf6 22. Bxd6 Ra8 23.
Qc3 Nc8 24. Ne4 Bg7 25. Bxe5 1 -0,
Jadoul -Van Delft, The Netherl ands tt
200 1 ;
b ) 1 0 . . . . Nd4! 1 1 . e 3 Ne6 1 2 . b4 axb4
1 3 . axb4 c6 Now Bl ack mai ntai ns a
dynami c pawn structure. 1 4. Nf3 Bd7
1 5 . Qc2 Qc7 1 6. Bb2 h5 1 7. Ra 1 Rxa 1
1 8. Rxa 1 d5 ! ? 1 9. Nxe5 d4 20. Nxd7
Qxd7 2 1 . Nd 1 dxe3 22. Nxe3 '1- 1
Gurevi ch- Shi rov, New Del hi 2000.
10 . . . . h6 1 1. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. b4 axb4
13. axb4 Bg7 14. b5 Ne7 15. Nel?
Thi s move i s too sl ow. The attacki ng
scheme that I use i n thi s game i s
known from the fol l owi ng game : 1 5.
Nd2? e4! 1 6. Qc2 ( i f 1 6. Ncxe4? f5 and
the kni ght cannot go back) 1 6 . . . . e3 !
1 7. fxe3 Nf5 1 8. Nd1 h 5 1 9. Rxf5 gxf5
20. Nfl h4 wi th advantage to Bl ack,
Vagani an- Lauti er, Mani l a 1990. Better
is 1 5. Qc2 or 1 5 . Qb3.
15 . . . . c6 16. Nc2 d5! N
On two occasi ons, Akopi an di d not get
more than a draw wi th 16 . . . . Be6 1 7.
Nb4 Qd7.
Artur Yusupov and Roeland Pruijssers duri ng Youth Meets Masters. (photo www.
17. Nb4?
Consi stent, but bad . Whi te shoul d
al ready have opted for a modest set
up wi th 1 7 . bxc6 bxc6 l S. cxd5 cxd5
19. Qd2 ( 19. d4 Bf5) , after whi ch
Bl ack keeps the better of the pl ay wi th
19 . . . . Bf5
17 . . . . e4
Bxe3 3 1 . Kg2 QxcS, Whi te can sti l l
fght. The text move l oses at once.
26 . . . . Bd4+ 27. Khl Nxg3!
Not a di ffcul t concl udi ng move, but a
pretty one.
The fol l owi ng attacki ng game brought
The whi te bi shop has to stand by Roel and Prui jssers wel l on hi s way to
hel pl essl y whi l e the l ong di agonal is hi s Dutch U- 20 ti tl e:
occupi ed by bl ack pawns.
1M Roel and Pruijssers
lS. Qb3 Be6! Roi Mi edema
Venl o, 30 Apri l 200S
Bl ack keeps the tensi on, after whi ch Anal ysi s : Roel and Pruij ssers
White i s the one who has to budge.
1. e4 e6 2. d4 dS 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. eS Ne7
19. cxdS S. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 cS 7. Qg4 0-0
S. Bd3 Nbc6 9. QhS Ng6 10. Nf3 Qc7
1 9. dxe4 dxc4 i s very good for Bl ack. 1 1 . Be3 c4 12. Bxg6 fxg6 13.Qg4
Qf7 14. NgS QeS lS. h4 Ne7 16. Qe2
19 . . . . cxd5 20. Na4 Qd6 21. Rfcl b5N 17. g4 Bd7! ? lS. hS
RecS 22. RxcS RxcS 23. Qdl
23 . . . . e3!
Thi s themati c sacri fi ce i s made
preci sel y at a moment when the whi te
kni ghts are hopel essl y out of pl ay.
24. fxe3 Nf5 25. Qd2 h5 26. e4
After 26. Nxd5 Bxd5 27. Bxd5 Qxd5
2S. Nb6 Qc5 29. NxcS Bh6 30. Qb4
Al ternati ves are l S. Kd2! ? and
l S. Nh 3! ? The i dea i s to frst put
a kni ght on f4 and onl y then pl ay
h5. However, I had done thi s mysel f
once, and i n the game Prui jssers -
Gri goryan, Worl d U- 1 S champi onshi p,
Kemer 2007, it seemed too sl ow.
lS . . . gxh5
l S . . . h6 1 9. Nh3 g5 l ooks l i ke the best
sol uti on for Bl ack. However, White
has 20. f4t and even though Bl ack can
defend tenaci ousl y, i t l ooks as i f the
whi te attack wi l l crash through frst.
19. Rxh5 h6 20. Nh3 Qg6! ?
A new i dea by my opponent. However,
it l ooks too sl ow. 20 . . . Qf7 ! ? 2 1 . Nf4
Ng6! ( 2 1 . . . a5 22. Kd2 b4 23. Rg 1 )
22. Nxg6 Qxg6, wi th the fol l owi ng
possi bi l i ti es :
a) 23. 0-0-0 b4! ? 24. cxb4 a5
b) 23. Rh3 ! ? as ( 23 . . . Be8 24. 0-0-0)
24. g5
c) 23. g5 Be8 24. Rh4 h5 25. 0-0-0
Qf7 26. Rd h l Qf3=
21. Nf4 Qe4 22. f3 Qh7 23. Kd2
23. Rh3 ! ? as 24. Nh5
23 . . . a5 24. Rg1?
24. g5! b4 25. gxh6 g6 ( 25 . . . gxh6
26. Rg l Kf7 27. Nxe6! ) 26. Rg5
24 . . . b4?
24 . . . Ng6! 25. Nh3 b4 26. g5 Rf5 !
25. g5 Rxf4 26. Bxf4
Thi s turned out to be al l preparati on
by the bl ack pl ayer.
26 . . . Qf5 27. Qh2
27. Be3 ! ?
27 . . . Be8!
27 . . . b3 ! ? 28. gxh6 ( 28. Kc l ! ?) 28 . . .
Qxc2 29. Ke l ! Qbl ( 29 . . . Qxc3 30. Bd2 ! )
30. Kf2 Qc2 3 1 . Kg3 Nf5 32. Kg4 Be8
33. Rh3 gxh6 34. Qxc2 bxc2 3 5 . Rh2
Ba4 36. Bxh6
28. g6!
28. gxh6? Qxh5 29. Rxg7 Kf8 30. Qxh5
Bxh5 3 1 . Bg5 Nf5 ! ( 31 . . . Ng6 32 . Bf6 ! )
32. Rb7 Bg6! 33. h7 Bxh7 34. Rxh7 Kg8
35. Rhl bxa3=
28 . . . Qf8 29. Bxh6 Bxg6 30. Rhg5?
30. Rh3! gxh6 3 1 . Rxh6 Qg7 ( 3 1 . . . bxc3
32 . Kxc3 Kf7 33. Qh4) 32. Qh3! ( 32.
Qh4 Kf7) 32 . . . Ra6 33. cxb4 ( 33 . Qh4?!
Ra7 ! 34. Qh3 Ra6=) 33 . . . c3 34. Kxc3
Rc6 35. Kd2 axb4 36. axb4 Rxc2
37. Kd l Rc6 38. Rg4 Bl ack i s al most i n
zugzwang; 30. Rxg6 Nxg6 3 1 . Rg5 Kh7!
30 . . . Qf7?
30 . . . Qxf3 ! 3 1 . Kc l ! ( 31 . R5g3 Qf5
32. Kcl bxa 3! 33. Rg5 Qf7 34. Kbl
Rb8) 3 1 . . . Qxc3 32. Rxg6 Qa l 33. Kd2
Qxd4 34. Kcl Qa l =
31 . Rxg6! Nxg6 32. Qh5 Qf5 33. Rg5!
And Whi te wi ns easi l y. 33. Qxf5 ! ? exf5
34. Rxg6 Kh7 3 5 . Rxg7 Kxh6 36. Rg l
bxa3 37. Ke3 woul d sti l l gi ve Whi te
wi nni ng chances, but they woul d have
been smal l er than i n the game.
33 . . . Qf4+ 34. Kd1 bxa3 35. Rxg6
Qf7 36. Bxg7 1-0
BS.l computer programs
Nowadays, the role of the computer becomes more and more important in chess
training. Computer programs like Fritz and Chessbase have various functions:
- Database function: In a database with several millions of games, like Chessbase
Megabase, you can look up positions, openings and opponents. You can also
create your own databases where, for example, you save your own games,
build up a collection of positions (see the next paragraph), or save opening
- Analysis function: With chess engines you can analyse positions. Examples
of such engines are: Fritz (please note that Fritz is the name of the umbrella
program as well as the name of the engine), Rybka, Shredder, and Junior.
These engines have their strong and weak pOints. For example, Fritz is
stronger in tactics, whereas Rybka is better at positional play.
- Opening book: The opening book of a chess program contains opening theory.
Rybka's opening book has been written by Jeroen Noomen from Apeldoorn.
- Playing function: The Fritz program also allows you to play against the
computer. The program Chessbase is more aimed at study and has more
extensive database functions. Both programs can be used to play against
other people on the Internet.
BS.2 Building up databases with own games and positions
An ambitious chess player should thoroughly internalize his experiences from his
own games. The analysis of games and positions increases your knowledge and
your understanding of chess, and it contributes to the development of skills. It
is very useful to collect played games in a database of a computer program and
add verbal comments and variations to the moves. This is called annotation,
and it helps you develop researching skills and self-reflection. Annotated games
offer good starting-points for discussions with a trainer.
Besides building up a database with own games, it is also useful to create
a second database containing instructive positions from your own games. A
chess player regularly misses tactical tricks in a game, or he makes a positional
mistake or cannot find a good plan. This can happen in tournament games and
competition games, but also in Internet games. Such blunders may come to
light when you are playing through the game with a computer chess program,
or during analysis with the opponent after the game, or during a discussion of
the game with a trainer. Especially if there is a creative or a thematic move in
the position, it is worthwhile to analyse it. If a player prints out such positions
or saves them in his own positions database, he will have excellent exercise
material which he can use repeatedly.
Pattern recognition is the basis of chess, and repetition is the mother
of learning. A thematic position is a certain type of position with individual
characteristics which occurs regularly in games. A grandmaster has thousands
of thematic positions stored in his memory. If a position is thematic, a youth
player will not always recognize this. However, it may come to light during an
analysis with his trainer. If a position is saved in a database it will be available
at a later stage and can be studied again. By regularly repeating thematic
positions, a chess player will recognize similar positions earlier in a game.
If a chess player consciously thinks about which positions he wants to save
in his database, and why, these will be better stored in his memory than if he
only observes certain positions superficially. Only if a chess player recognizes
a certain position or a tactical motif, will he be able to take its characteristics
and its dangers to heart. The next step is developing the skill to create such
positions on the board himself.
The illustrated position is taken from an Internet game by the then seven
year-old Thomas Beerdsen from Apeldoorn, who won a national youth title at
nine. Analysis with the programs Fritz and Rybka mercilessly brought to light
that the game would have been immediately over after the move lO . . . Pb4.
In a Monday evening training group in which Thomas took part, the position
was discussed. During the discussion, various thematic characteristics of the
position were labelled and various variations were played out until the end.
Ambitious youth players will do themselves a favour if they check in every
game they play whether there was an interesting moment which is suitable for
storage in their own positions database.
Lue9tbZbZZU - Thab. Vtspe pll. 7m + o 20 0001
J 1 G
N0|N= jSchaomer I 0 I
Ouesl62S220 - Thol&sb981284 0-1
D Vrlchpe pi. m+ 0. 03.12.0[on, Om}
Bz:7' 1.d4 PI6 2.LgS 4 dS 4 3.Lx16 o
exl6 J 4.e4 \ Le6 D S.eS b6 b1rh9dUI
een remse .ono 6.Pe3 4 bxeS o 7.dxcS 1 LxeS
2 8.e3 10 Pe6 1J 9.D&4 1 Ld7 ell 4
U-U b 11 .Dh4 22 Lb 11D 12.e4 J Lxe4 7
13.Dxe4 4 Te8 14.PxI6+ 34 Oxl6 10
IS.0xe8. S Txe8+ o 16.Le2 z Ox12+ o 17.Kd2
UwMbZbZZd06leen remse md Pd4 V
6lO77JOpgeven? (Log: AvcO.2s. "ox-07s)
Rybk 1.0 B 32-blt I 10 ... Pb (1/35)
-+ (-2.6q Oiepte=16 I 0:01:27
10 ... Pb4 11.0b3 Pld5 12.0-0. c 13.e4 Pf4 14.[
(2.&4) OleptB. 13 00:00.29 8;8k
10 ... Pb4 11.0b3 Pld5 12.0-.0 c 13.e4 Pf4 14.
(265) Oiep!B 14 00 0103 1931 N

. -

1p| _ _
+ \6 18

KM KWvenster
, bm j
< c m B Il
IlYM70DM$ .. j[ . LutbZZZU-n' [iM . .. 1 1 !!.
Position Thomas Beerdsen in database.
Screenprint of blitz game between Guest 655220 and Thomas Beerdsen
Thematic positions
Chess thinking is largely based on pattern recognition, i.e. recognizing basic
patterns in positions with a certain theme. A thematic position has typical
characteristics. Those characteristics offer certain possibilities and restrictions.
Often there are various themes that simultaneously play a role. A plan can
be founded on the characteristics of those
White is to move. He has 8 possible moves.
Then it's Black's turn. He has 10. Together
this makes for 80 possible continuations.
On each next half-move (=ply), the number
of possibilities grows explosively. Soon it
will become impossible to calculate all the
continuations. If a chess player recognizes
patterns and themes in a position, he can
focus on a limited number of continuations
and calculate them through. He can build his
plan on the results of these calculations.
In this position there are three themes:
the black king is within the square
the black pawns can protect each other
king + two pawns versus king wins
Now what remains is to arrange the themes in the right order: frst collect
the white pawn, then promote your pawns and give mate with king + queen.
In other words, you have to think in phases. Sometimes it is also possible to
transpose from a certain position into a known theme. Again, a simple example:
White to move draws by playing Ne3+. White exchanges his knight against the
rook and we are left with a thematically drawn position. The bishop is of the
wrong colour, and if the white king goes to h1, Black can never win.
It is important for a chess player to know
the characteristics of as many positions as
possible. To a large extent, knowledge is
recognition. What you do not know, you will
not recognize. A chess player cannot take into
account possibilities that he does not see in a
position. Thematic positions can be found in
games, in books, and during trainings. It is
useful to write them in a notebook or enter
them in a database. By regularly repeating
thematic positions, a chess player will be
better able to recognize them, and to create
similar positions in games.
85.3 Dangers of computer usage
The computer is an extremely useful aid in all kinds of areas (see elsewhere in
this chapter), but it also involves a number of dangers. In the paragraph about
analysis we already indicated that it is important to first analyse yourself before
you look with the computer. All the conveniences of the computer can easily
make you forget that during a game you will be on your own again.
Firstly, your own calculating skills will weaken, and working with the
computer will provoke laziness. Secondly, you should not indiscriminately
accept everything that the computer says. Just as the written word is not
the gospel truth, neither is the computer's verdict. An engine like Rybka is
reasonably reliable, but especially the early versions of Fritz used to change
their assessments of positions every other minute. It is good to realize that the
primary task of the engine is to calculate moves; the assessment of the position
is secondary and more or less arbitrary. So the computer's verdict can never
be used as a compelling argument. Moreover, the computer doesn' t explain
anything in words, it only spits out moves. The moral of this story is that you
should always keep thinking for yourself and make your own assessments. An
engine is only as strong as the player who works with it.
Even professionals at the highest level sometimes have trouble with the
dangers of the computer. In the eighth match game for the World Championship
between Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Leko (Brisago 2004), Kramnik put all
his trust in a computer analysis that had been rounded off under great time
pressure that same morning. However, the variation turned out to contain an
enormous hole, which was beyond the computer's horizon. The entire variation
appeared on the board, and even though Leko had to think up everything over
the-board, he managed to put his fnger on the sore spot and won the game in
grand style. In fact, Kramnik lost that game without having made a single move
by himself.
85.4 Chess magazines
There are all kinds of chess magazines available. In The Netherlands, the
English-language magazine 'New in Chess' is published. In chess magazines,
strong players discuss games from tournaments and competitions. They also
often contain book reviews and interviews.
85.5 Chess books
An enormous amount of books have been written about chess. Many books are
about openings, tactics or game analyses. A good advice to youth players is to
take a look at chess books at the home of chess friends or in the library, and
study the subjects that they fnd interesting. If you find something interesting,
you will learn as you go along, and the offered information will be in tune with
your own level. Some chess clubs have their own libraries. This is really helpful
for youth players who do not yet have many chess books themselves.
Depending on the reader's level, certain authors can be recommended. It must
be kept in mind that young players will largely depend on books in their mother
Young players may have trouble with the language used by some authors.
In Dutch chess literature, Max Euwe's use of language can sometimes be a
little dificult for young players, but 'Judgement and Planning in Chess', 'Chess
Master vs. Chess Amateur' and 'Chess Amateur becomes Master' are instructive
works. A magnificent book about Dutch chess culture is Donner's 'The King'.
Elsewhere in this book, other examples of instructive chess literature have been
mentioned. There is a great English-language supply of chess books. Good
authors are John Nunn (who has also written several titles for beginners), Mark
Dvoretsky and Artur Yusupov (for advanced players), Jeremy Silman, Yasser
Seirawan, and Lev Alburt.
Youth players should steer clear of reading material that is too difficult. A
book which is full of complicated variations can keep a young novice without
guidance away from chess for twenty years. If your budget is limited, but you
still want to have chess books, you can go to a market. These often have book
stands where you can buy second-hand chess books for a few euro apiece.
B5.6 Browsing
Fascination is the best possible motor for development. That which you like
most, you will learn easiest and best. Browsing is another word for 'rummaging
about'. It is a pleasant and useful activity. A trainer can make his pupils aware
of this by asking them to go to the library and choose a few chess books. At the
next training the pupils can take their books and tell something about them.
The trainer can add remarks and advice.
B5.7 Chess movies
There are various chess movies around that are suitable for youth players, like
'Long Live the Queen', 'Searching for Bobby Fischer', and 'Chess Fever'. The
latter movie dates from 1925 and is in black-and-white. Throughout the movie
there are shots from a tournament in Moscow that was held simultaneously,
and world champion Capablanca plays a small role in it. Especially the young
kittens of the protagonist are a guarantee for great succes if this movie is shown
to young children. It can be found on the Internet for free. A chess club can
purchase such movies, which are fun and sometimes also instructive, and show
them, or lend them out at trainings. School clubs can also show chess movies.
For example, on a 'chess day', when there is also a simultaneous display or a
blitz tournament, or a strong player who discusses a game in an entertaining
way on the children's level.
B5.8 Chess CD-ROMs and DVD's
Publishers are putting countless chess CD-ROMs and DVD's on the market, with
chess programs, and containing material about openings or games collections
of famous chess players. A useful DVD for learning tactics is 'The Step-by-Step
Method'. On this DVD there are around 100 subjects that are clearly explained
with texts and examples. For each subject there are several dozens of exercise
positions. A great advantage of DVD's is that they give direct feedback by
showing the right answers. The DVD of the chess program Fritz, published by
Chessbase, also contains video footage. In the Dutch version there is a film
on which Merijn van Delft explains the chess rules. There are also a number of
fragments from videos where grandmasters explain games. Various publishers,
like Chessbase, have published a series of DVD's on which (grand)masters
discuss games. On the screen, the chess student can watch the master, who
gives explanations. There is also a chessboard on display, on which the moves
are executed. Watching these videos is an efficient and leisurely way to learn.
Every year Chessbase puts out a 'Megabase' with around three million games,
60,000 of which are commented. Strong players make use of such databases
when preparing for their opponents. In order to stay up-to-date, they replenish
their databases weekly with games downloaded from the Internet. This can be
done, for example, on the English website The Week In Chess (www.chesscenter.
com/twic/twic. html).
85.9 Internet sites
There are thousands of Internet websites about chess. They give information
about clubs and tournaments, but also about many other aspects of the game.
A great advantage is that most of the information is free and easily accessible.
Recommended is the website by the Dutch fiction writer and endgame specialist
Tim Krabbe. There are also Internet sites where a player can solve tactical
exercises and gain points for them, like the Berlin Emrald site. Websites of
national chess federations often contain extensive chess calendars. Other
interesting websites are and by
Peter Doggers. The SBSA has its own Dutch-language website: www.
85.10 Chess on the Internet
On the Internet there is always an opponent ready to play. There are all kinds of
chess servers - a number of them are free of charge. Many top players play via
ICC, for which payment is required (there is a reduced tariff for youth players
and students). If you purchase the program Fritz, you can play for free against
people from all over the world via the Chessbase server. A trainer can give a
brief explanation to youth players of the way these servers work. It is even
better if youth players explain this to each other. This will save the trainer time,
the youth players will learn to communicate better, and they will contribute to
the good of the collective.
86 Training procedures
86.1 Pawn structure
For beginners, a pawn is only an insignifcant little thing. Nevertheless, pawns
have been called 'the soul of chess'. A trainer can make the importance of the
pawn structure clear to young novices with an exercise: asking them to play
a blitz game and stopping the clock after a few minutes, when material is still
even. The trainer asks the players to assess the position. Then he removes the
pieces from the board and asks them again to assess the position. Then the
trainer gives his own assessment and tells the students about passed pawns,
backward pawns, pawn islands and other pawn structures.
86.2 Seven-column notation
Chess players write down their games. Youth players are well advised to learn
this as quickly as possible. If necessary it can be done step by step, writing down
frst ten, or fifteen, or twenty moves. Training games can also be written down on
a scoresheet. This has the advantage that the games are saved and the player
can later analyse them - by himself, or also with the help of a computer, or with
another chess player or a trainer. As a rule, young novices play the first move
that seems reasonable to them, without looking for better alternatives. Also,
most of the time they hardly pay any attention to the opponent's possibilities.
A trainer prefers his pupils to assess various candidate moves, not playing the
frst reasonable-looking move that comes to mind.
During a training game, a trainer can ask his pupils to write down games on
a so-called seven-column scoresheet. The first three columns are for White, the
next three are for Black. For the white player, column 1 is for the move played
by White, column 2 is for an alternative move by White, column 3 is kept open
and reserved for a good move that the trainer will later indicate, column 4 is for
the move played by Black, column 5 is for Black's expected move, column 6 is
again kept open and is reserved for the move that the trainer will later indicate.
Column 7 is for remarks during the post-mortem. For the black player, column
2 is for the expected move by White, and column 5 is for the alternative move.
Youth players acquire new ways of thinking more quickly if they gain experience
with an inspiring exercise than if a trainer explains his noble intentions with an
abstract story. We can compare this with behaviour in traffc. A car driver will
sooner slow down to 20 mph before a speed ramp than before a warning sign.
With the present exercise, the trainer will gain more insight in the thinking
process of his pupils, especially if he analyses the game with his students
afterwards. The exercise will teach the student to improve his ability to search
for various candidate moves, and to anticipate his opponent's actions.
This exercise should not be done too often, for that would become boring.
It is superfuous if the students are already good at weighing up alternatives
against each other and anticipating the opponent's play. Of course you could
work with more columns - for example, a column where the time use can be
noted. But this is not recommended as it will mean too much 'paperwork'.
Moreover, it is preferable not to raise too many issues at once. This is confusing
and it reduces the learning effectiveness. However, a player can write down
his time use during competition. This is officially allowed by the world chess
federation FIDE. Such information gives the trainer insights in his pupil's time
86.3 Correspondence chess
Correspondence chess is a form of chess where opponents send each other
moves in turn. In former times, this was mostly done by mail, but today
correspondence chess is mainly played by email. This chess variant has separate
organizations and tournaments, and there is a separate world championship.
The players send the moves before an agreed time limit. Usually, it is permitted
to use different aids, like computers, books, and even advisors. Even though
such aids can be very useful, the influence of the player himself remains
important, since for many moves strategic choices have to be made of which
the consequences can only be calculated a few moves deep. Correspondence
chess can be a useful training form and an interesting new experience. It can
also stimulate enthusiasm for the game. School teams can play other school
teams. It is nice to play school teams in other countries. The proposed move
can be discussed weekly in training groups with strong players. In Apeldoorn, a
group of youth players, among them Merijn van Delft, played correspondence
chess by mail for two years with the strong Dutch Premier League player Nico
Schouten. Every week they were anxious to know what new moves there would
be in the mail !
B6.4 Visualization of move sequences
Visualization means: to make something visible for yourself. In a mental training,
visualization means that you imagine how a future situation may look, in what
way you will act, and which role you will play. In chess we speak of visualization
of a sequence of moves. This means: to calculate a move sequence by heart
and to view the position that results from this sequence with your mind's eye.
This is an important skill for a chess player. Young chess players develop this
skill spontaneously as they play more serious games. After all, you have to
think ahead in chess, which involves making plans and calculating variations.
It is possible to exercise visualization. By doing this, a chess player
simultaneously trains his concentration as well as a serious mentality. There
are various visualization exercises that a trainer can present as a game in the
form of a competition. During a training, the trainer slowly announces a number
of half-moves one by one, starting from a position that is put on the board. The
number of half-moves depends on the level of the group. Next, the trainees are
asked to take turns playing half-moves on the board. Each correct half-move
is worth a point. If you make a mistake, you're out. In another exercise, the
trainer mentions a number of squares on which pieces and pawns are standing
in an ending. This exercise can be done 'blindfold', without a board, or with an
empty board. Then the trainer asks on which square a certain piece should be
placed. Obviously, the level of difficulty can be varied by selecting positions
with more pieces and pawns or less, or with more complications or less. Chess
players can also exercise visualization by reading a scoresheet and playing
through the recorded game in their mind, or playing it on the board. In a
session with advanced players, a trainer can sum up a sequence of moves and
then ask them to assess the position. This gets more complicated if there are
more possible variations.
Some trainers now and then resolutely wipe all the pieces off the board. Then
they ask their pupils to put the pieces on the right squares again. It is doubtful
if this will make a trainee a better player. But the extent to which they succeed
will provide an answer to the question how well the students understand the
position - unless they have a photographic memory. A variation on this theme
is to set up, or have the students set up, a previously discussed interesting
position at the end of a session, after which the trainees explain what is going
on in that position. Research shows that chess masters only have to look for
five seconds at a logically built-up position, and then they will be able to set it
up correctly again. Bad players do not manage this. If the pieces are randomly
placed on the chessboard, neither of the two groups will be able to reconstruct
the position. The explanation of this phenomenon is that good players recognize
certain patterns in a position. They do not memorize the placement of separate
pieces or pawns, but chunks of information. For example, they do not see five
loose pieces of wood, but a castled king's position. Since they also recognize the
logic in a position (with certain possible striking differences), they only need to
memorize a few characteristics.
86.5 Theme tournament
A theme tournament is a tournament where the participants are obliged to
play a certain opening or variation. This is a suitable method to acquire a good
knowledge of such an opening. Participants are given an A4 sheet beforehand,
containing information about the opening and sample games with added
comments and variations. The trainer can also send them a pgn-file with
opening traps. Before the tournament, the participants can play this opening
in a few games against the computer or via a chess server. If the tournament
lasts only one day or an afternoon, time is limited, and a rapid tournament is
the obvious form to choose. It is useful to play more than one game, as then
various aspects will come up for discussion.
A tried-and-tested training procedure is when a trainer starts a rapid
tournament by introducing the theme on a demonstration board for about twenty
minutes. Then the participants play three rapid games - changing colours after
every game, of course. The trainer walks around and observes the games. Afer
each game the participants analyse with their opponent for a few minutes. After
each round, the trainer takes half an hour to discuss instructive moments from
the games that have just been played. After the third game, the concentration
of many youth players will start to fade. Then, instead of analysing for half an
hour, the trainer can give a clock simul with the obligatory opening moves.
86.6 Game quiz
A trainer can discuss a game with students and ask them at various crucial
moments what is the best move. The students can earn points for giving the
right answer as well as for managing to give good grounds for these answers.
The game under discussion can either be a game by the training participants,
or an interesting game by a well-known chess player, or a game with a clear
theme. Youth players often enjoy looking at a game by their own trainer. The
advantage of a point sytem is that this simulates a competitive situation. Youth
players very much enjoy getting the chance to earn points during trainings. They
will concentrate better, and this will increase the success rate of the training.
86.7 Training decathlon
Athletes perform in decathlons. These are competitions where they pit
their strengths against others on ten items. Chess players can also use the
decathlon procedure for training. Inspiring and effective trainings have certain
characteristics: the participants are active, they are allowed to choose their
own short breaks, they learn by discovery, and they enjoy what they are doing.
A well-built-up training decathlon can meet these criteria. A decathlon consists
of ten different items. For every component the trainer can award pOints,
depending on the performance level. We will give an example below, but on
this theme countless variations are possible.
The winner of the decathlon may win a small prize, or it may also be a
battle for honours. If there are many participants, several trainers and coaches
can divide the programme between them. The groups then circulate along the
different trainers. The best trainers can take care of those items where the
level of the trainer counts. Experience shows that well-motivated children,
starting from, say, ten-year-olds, can easily sustain a decathlon that lasts a full
afternoon. Once after such a decathlon, the then ten-year-old Gillian Visschedijk
from Apeldoorn said: 'Well, we haven't done a lot' to her mother, who had been
worrying about the length of the training day. More than five hours looks like a
lot, but there had been two ffteen-minute breaks. During the components of
the training programme, the participants had been allowed to take regular short
breaks. For example, they could remain idle for a while during the completion
of a questionnaire, or wait after their move until the simultaneous player came
round again. Gillian, who later became Dutch girls' champion just like her sister
Marijn, didn't notice how much she had learned. It is comparable to the amount
of energy that children spend on play during the day: they can go on forever, it
seems. If a training has a playful character, children will enjoy spending a lot of
time on it, and without noticing it they will learn many things.
Here is an example of a decathlon programme:
1. Play through a classic game from a book by Euwe, 30 minutes.
The trainer gives comments on this game on a demonstration board, or,
if the group is small, on a normal playing board. At five pOints during the
game, he asks them to come up with a crucial move, and to explain their
choice. The participants write down their moves and their explanations on
paper. Each correct answer is good for one point, and a good argumentation
(which may consist of either a variation or a verbal explanation) also nets
them one pOint. During the discussion of the game, the trainer also answers
questions that crop up spontaneously. In addition, the trainer explains to
them the importance of studying classic, well annotated games, and the best
way to go about this.
2. Playing out an endgame, 30 minutes.
The teacher plays out the position(s) simultaneously, with the losing colour.
After that, he explains the correct plan. Ten pOints for a win - and also a few
pOints for every partially correct solution.
3. Clock simul, 60 minutes.
The trainer and the participants each receive half an hour on the clock. The
participants write down the first fifteen moves on a seven-column scoresheet.
First, the procedure for this sheet is explained. Seven columns seems a
lot, but during the game you only have to fll in four - two more than you
normally do. Afterwards, the trainer discusses several positions from the
game. A win is good for twenty pOints, a draw earns you ten pOints. A player
can also earn points for the quality of his game.
4. Short analysis questionnaire, 30 minutes.
About the simultaneous game that has just been played, the participants fill
in a shortened version of the analysis questionnaire (see elsewhere in this
book) with ten questions. Seven questions are about technical aspects, three
are about a psychological subject. The teacher then discusses the answers
from the completed questionnaires and, if necessary, sets up some positions
from the games on the board. He also explains the function of the analysis
questionnaire. For every adequately completed question a participant gets
one pOint.
5. Two blitz games, 30 minutes.
The trainer makes as balanced a pairing between the participants as possible.
The participants play five-minute blitz games, using a clock. They can play
against the same opponent all the time, or also against varying opponents.
A win is good for ten pOints, a draw for five pOints.
6. Exercise sheet with ten tactical exercises, 30 minutes.
The participants get fifteen minutes for these exercises. The trainer corrects
the exercises and discusses the mistakes made. Every correct answer is
worth two points. The trainer discusses the use of exercising tactics and the
best way to do this.
7. Quiz with ten questions about study tips, 30 minutes.
In the first ten minutes, the participants fill in a questionnaire which verifies
if they handle their self-study efficiently. The questionnaire can consist of
a mixture of open questions and multiple choice ones. The trainer spends
twenty minutes on a discussion of the answers. Each correct answer is worth
one pOint.
8. Indicating the crucial move in two opening traps, 30 minutes.
The students must determine what the crucial mistake is in two miniatures
(= games of maximally twenty moves). The trainer tells them something
more about the opening in question. A correct answer is good for five pOints.
9. Five quiz questions on general chess knowledge, 15 minutes.
This item consists of questions about chess rules, the participants' own club,
the name of the national champion, etcetera. Discussion after fve minutes.
Each correct answer is worth two pOints.
10. Visualization, 15 minutes.
The trainer shows the opening of a spectacular game on the board - for
example, a game by Greco or Morphy.
Next, he asks the students to visualize ten half-moves toward a crucial position,
i.e. they must find those moves without playing them on the board and then
write them down. Then the trainer executes the ten half-moves from the board
position. Each correct half-move is worth one pOint. Anyone who makes a
mistake drops out.
86.8 Chess puzzles
A child's interest in chess increases if it continues making new discoveries in
a nice and playful way. Varying the methods helps create an instructive and
inspiring learning climate. As a form of training, chess puzzles are a suitable
variant. Chess puzzles are easy to make. You print out a big diagram with a
chess position, cut the sheet into four pieces, and provide all four parts with
both a number (for the position) and a letter (for the quadrant). For every puzzle
the order of the quadrant letters must be different. The task is as follows: lay
the four quadrants on the table, arranged in such a way that a logical chess
position is created, and then solve the position. Of course, the positions can
have different degrees of complexity. The trainer can write the correct order of
the quadrants and the solutions on an answer sheet. Such chess puzzles will
look more professional if you paste cardboard on the backs of the puzzle pieces
and plasticize them.
86.9 Psychological tips
Youth players can take profit from numerous psychological insights about study
procedures and self-management. The better they understand the importance
of an insight, the more motivated they will be to apply it. Insights sink in
best if they are acquired via discovery learning. The trainer can provide many
insights in a playful way during trainings, by connecting them to concrete
events in games played by his trainees. During each training, the trainer can
ask questions about psychological aspects, and the trainees can discuss these.
This should be done in a well-balanced way. Too much information at once
will have a confusing effect. The trainer can conclude the discussion with a
summary and the answers to his questions. Youth players will not acquire all
these psychological insights at once. In a future game they may take them into
account, but it remains a question if they will apply these insights well. Here
also, the adage applies that repetition is the mother of learning. For a sample
list with questions, see the appendix 'List of psychological tips'.
86.10 Simultaneous display
A simul(taneous display) is a form of competition where one strong chess player
takes on a number of different opponents at the same time. As a rule, the
simultaneous player is White, and he is allowed to take back his move as long
as he has not made his move on the next board. As soon as the simul player,
who circulates from one board to the next, returns to the board, his opponent
must make a move. The opponent is not allowed to make a move until the simul
player is standing at his board. All sorts of variations on this basic form are
possible. For example, the simul player can take Black, or allow his opponents
to skip their turn a few times. The simul player's rounds become shorter as
time passes, because gradually other opponents will be forced to lay down their
kings. There are also simuls where all the boards are occupied all the time. The
players who have been beaten are replaced by new participants. The clock simul
is another variant, where the simultaneous player and his opponents receive a
limited amount of time on the clock. The participants push their clocks as soon
Simul by Merijn van Delft. (photo Cocky van Delft)
as they have made a move. In this variant, the simul player is well advised to
go criss-cross from one board to the other and to divide his time well between
the stronger and the weaker opponents.
Simultaneous exhibitions against (grand)masters are often organized during
festivities when a club celebrates a jubilee, or as a means to promote the game
- for instance, on a market or during a tournament. Adult players or strong
youth players can also give simuls on club evenings, or to the youth section
of a club. Strong club players can give simuls on primary schools in order to
give more exposure to their club, for example during a school festival. All that
is needed for such an activity are a simul player, a simple announcement on a
poster, and a space where chess boards with pieces can be put on tables. The
simul player will do many opponents and the audience a favour if he discusses
a few game fragments afterwards.
A spectacular variant is the blitz simul, where the simultaneous player takes
on four opponents with the clocks set on fve minutes for both sides. Another
strong player might give live commentary. Yet another variant is the blindfold
simul. Here, the simultaneous player plays 'blindfolded' (i. e. without seeing the
pieces) against several opponents who do have boards with pieces before them.
An assistant calls the moves out loud, and as a rule the audience is suitably
impressed. Apeldoorn player Johan Wolbers once played blindfold on three
boards with a paper bag over his head and with his back to his opponents, on a
sports and culture manifestation on the Market Square in Apeldoorn.
Many club players enjoy taking on a top player in a simultaneous exhibition.
Many youth players will also consider this quite an experience. Forty years after
the event, one of the authors vividly remembers how his position collapsed
against grandmaster Robert Hubner, when he had forgotten for a moment that
capturing en passant was possible. As strong players quickly recognize patterns
and combinations, know their openings, calculate fast and also possess a good
endgame knowledge, they are often able to find a strong move within a few
seconds. A ninety percent score is quite normal for a simultaneous player.
Often they concede a single draw as a reward to a player who has defended
The simul is suitable as a form of training. For example, a trainer can play
a certain opening simultaneously against his pupils, and discuss the games
afterwards. Young children learn best if they immediately get comments on
their moves. A simul player can immediately tell them what he thinks of their
moves, and combine this with a bit of explanation. A player may, for instance,
be allowed to take back his move five times. The simul is also a useful device
for a trainer to practise middlegame and endgame positions with his pupils. An
advantage of this is that the trainer can see how his pupils play, and thus how
they think; another advantage is that the students stay focused on the subject,
since they are actively taking part. A variation on this theme is when students
take part in a simul in twos and are allowed to consult each other about the
game. Chess players can also play each other simultaneously. Bronstein was a
great champion of this variant - preferably in a theatre accompanied by music.
Sipke Ernst and Arthur van de Oudeweetering once demonstrated this idea
during a chess festival in Apeldoorn. They played blitz on four boards at a time.
This is spectacular to watch and good for the physical condition of the players!
86.11 Tactical exercises contest
It is important to exercise tactics on a daily basis. It is advisable to alternate
between easy and difficult positions. This can be done in different ways; for
instance, on certain days you take only easy diagrams, and on other days
diffcult ones. Another variant is to make ten easy and two difficult exercises
every day. Variety is the spice of life. A youth player can work on a different
theme each day. He can also exercise tactics in different ways. There are books
with tactical diagrams, and on the Internet you can find all kinds of free-of
charge tactical gamebases that can be downloaded in a computer database.
The Step-by-Step Method on CD-ROM contains a lot of good tactical exercise
material. Doing a tactical exercise-solving contest with a training partner can
have a motivating effect. For example, both partners have to solve 20 diagrams
within a certain time span, and then they count who has the most correct
86.12 Talent day
On a talent day, young talents can get a foretaste of more serious group trainings.
A talent day can be useful to stimulate participation in top trainings, and it can
also be one of various good selection methods for scouting possible talents.
'Stichting Bevorderen Schaken Apeldoorn' has organized several talent days in
order to promote its youth trainings to school chess players in Apeldoorn. In
consultation with the chess clubs in Apeldoorn, SBSA organizes a youth training
in which talented and motivated young chess players participate. There is space
for both youth players with great ambition, and second-rank players who want
more training than their own (school) club can offer them. There are a few
national-level youth players who no longer participate in the group trainings,
as it is not possible to form a homogenous group with a sufficient amount of
players. That would become too expensive, since the trainings are paid for
with contributions by the participants. Furthermore, those strong youth players
al ready attend national trainings with the Dutch Chess Federation KNSB. SBSA
does offer them possibilities to join workshops with (grand)masters. In return,
they sometimes give individual trainings to young talents.
Over the years, SBSA's talent days were created in various ways. In the
spring of 2005 a series of three free-of-charge meetings was organized, for
which participants could subscribe separately. This was partly made possible by
a grant for talent development from the Dutch Olympic committee NOC*NSF,
which was received by mediation of the Dutch Chess Federation KNSB. One of
the talent days consisted of an evening where multiple Dutch champion Loek
van Wely gave a simul against nearly ffty opponents. He walked around the
Apeldoorn Mind Sports Centre in a square, and parents were allowed to stand
behind their children. To each child the simul player spoke a few friendly words.
Of this simultaneous display a flm has been made, which has been put on a
CD-ROM. All the participants received a copy.
On another talent day, more than fifty participants were divided according
to level into a morning group and an afternoon group. Each group was divided
further into four groups of six or seven children. These groups circulated along
four trainers, who each discussed a certain theme for 45 minutes. Lucas Smid
discussed openings and opening traps, Martin van Dommelen did endgames,
Merijn van Delft analysed a game by Kasparov (a player whom most youth
players will know), and Mark Brussen used a computer to explain the possibilities
of the chess program Fritz. The participants also played a few blitz games with
him, and they did a little quiz with questions on chess knowledge. Of this talent
day, a CD-ROM with flms and pictures was made for the participants.
The third talent day was organized as a theme tournament. Dozens of
participants were asked to play three rapid games with the King's Gambit.
Beforehand, they were given an introduction in two level groups by SBSA
trainers Lucien van Beek and Martin van Dommelen. During the playing rounds,
the trainers walked around and observed the games. After each round they
discussed games with their own group. On these last two talent days, the
presence of parents was also allowed. Of course, the latter were not allowed to
interfere with the trainings.
After these talent days, a selection was made, in consultation with the
trainers, of players that were to be invited to the regular SBSA youth training.
This training consists of eight meetings on Fridays and eight on Sundays, and
is divided into several groups.
The programme also involves a workshop day called 'Youth Meets Masters',
two theme tournaments around certain openings, four SBSA rapid tournaments,
and several incidental activities, like simuls and game discussions by (grand)
masters. A trainer cannot make judgments about youth players after a single
match or training - except in the case of a super talent. For some players, it may
just not be their day. A reasonable assessment is only possible if you look at a
player's games at different pOints in time. It is useful to observe a player while
Participants of the talent day.
he is playing. In a conversation, a trainer can learn more about the player's
motivation and his way of thinking. Also, trainers, leaders of school chess clubs
and parents can sometimes provide useful insights in the child's personality, as
well as details about particular circumstances. For the assessment of a youth
player's talent, it is important to take into account how long he has been playing
and how much - or how little - training he has received so far. Additional
information can be gained via rating lists and achieved diplomas. Moreover,
some children are late-developers, who start to perform at a later stage than
Premature conclusions can easily lead to 'false positives' (wrongly selected)
and 'false negatives' (wrongly not selected). Actually, 'talent day' is a somewhat
unfortunate term. There are many examples of young chess players who, on
the basis of motivation, have grown to perform better than others who were
natural talents. In a selection there will soon be drop-outs. These things happen
in top-class sports. The organizers of a talent day may ask themselves how a
child emotionally will experience rejection. Of course, a child must learn to cope
with setbacks, but it is a completely different thing to needlessly frustrate its
motivation and its talents. In any case, a talent day can be organized in such a
way that all participants will experience that day as an inspiring and instructive
one. Perhaps it is possible to organize follow-up trainings for all the motivated
children, for example, by dividing them into a top group and a sub-group. You
can call these groups 'A' and 'B'. A motivated second-rank player of today may
be the organizer of a talent day in the future.
86.13 Chess variants
Several different variants of the chess rules have been thought up, like 'Bughouse
chess' and 'Janus chess'. These variants can make a nice change now and then.
They may also be useful as an exercise in piece coordination. Via the Internet
you can find a lot of information on chess variants.
86.14 Fairy-tale books
Chess can be promoted to children in many different ways. It is important
for beginners to discover the game's secrets in a playful way, and to derive
pleasure from it. There are chess courses for absolute beginners in the form of
fairy-tale books. There are also nice CD-RaM's like 'Fritz & Chesster'. After that,
Step 1 of the Step-by-Step Method can be used as a repetition. At the start of
the course the movie 'Long live the queen' can be shown.
86.15 Winner stays on
'Winner stays on' is a chess version of square soccer. Two players play blitz
while the others watch. The losing player has to give up his seat to another
player. In case of a draw, the black player remains seated. Prompting moves is
absolutely forbidden, but cheering one of the players on is permitted.
Star soccer player Edgar Davids said in an interview with the Dutch magazine
Rails: 'In the end it's all about respect. Street soccer players don't need a referee.
Look, such humiliation will give you food for thought. If you've been nutmegged
and made fun of, you will work on your skills. Practise-practise-practise, train
train-train. That's how it worked with me. ( . . . ) We used to organize square
soccer tournaments. Then you would play very good guys, three against three,
and you would get a lot of resistance. You can show off, but when you were
down 1-0 the fire got into it, you know. Because the winner stayed. Then you'd
be the one that got the sneers. I didn' t fancy that.' Just like street soccer, blitz
chess can be a good education. 'Winner stays on' is also popular at parties due
to its social character.
87 Miscellaneous
B7.1 Monday-evening training
The 'Monday-evening training' is a suitable training variant for a trainer with
a group of youth players. While lending itself well for variation, this training
method does not demand great technical qualities of the trainer, since the
students mainly work with prepared material. A trainer's motivation is more
important than a lot of Elo points. The key to the story is that you embark
together on an adventurous journey into the wondrous world of chess.
On roughly twenty to thirty Monday evenings every year, several youth
players from Apeldoorn, aged seven to thirteen, visited Karel van Delft at home.
In recent years these players were Armen Hachijan, Thomas Beerdsen and
Martijn van Blitterswijk. The training lasts more than an hour and a half. During
a short break there are three-minute blitz games and soft drinks. The training
takes place in a study. The participants are seated at a chess table with an
inlaid board, and the trainer is seated next to it at a desk with a computer
on it. Discipline during the training is important. Jokes are OK - it's good to
alternate exertion with relaxation, otherwise you cannot last for an hour and
a half, and the training won't be any fun. Excessive chatter and fooling around
are not accepted. This will needlessly shorten the training time, and the trainer
also has better ways to spend his time. These training sessions are regularly
attended by one or two parents. They do not interfere with the training - still,
this is unusual. There is hardly a chess trainer in the world who allows parents
to attend trainings. Practice shows that both the trainer and the pupils often
feel inhibited by their presence.
The training is aimed at technical subjects, learning to express what you
think (which stimulates systematic reasoning and thinking in concepts), and
also at an increase of self-knowledge and self-management. As a rule, one
training consists of six to eight items. It's important that the participants have
fun. They are working very actively and interactively during these sessions.
The training is built up according to the principle of discovery learning. The
subjects have a degree of complexity that the participants can handle with a
little effort. In case a subject turns out to be too difficult, the trainer reduces
the problem to various sub-questions. Apart from this training, the boys do
their tactical training at a club or by themselves, and they take part in the SBSA
youth training. There, trainers at Premier League level discuss their games with
them. Also, two of the boys discuss many of their own games with a private
The Monday-evening training starts with a brief inventarization of recent
Karel van Delft gives a Monday-even ing training.
games and experiences. The trainer gives tips and asks critical questions, for
example about their time use and their concentration. He also stimulates the
participants to react to each other. Tactics are important. Before every training
session, the participants are given twenty tactical positions from a tactics
database to study. During the training session, a few minutes are spent on
the solution of six of these positions on a sheet. Each good solution is worth a
pOint. This competitive element is popular, and it stimulates the boys to practise
tactics at home. Youth players want to attack. Regularly positions are put on the
board from manuals on mating attacks. A good book for young players is 'How
to beat your dad' by Murray Chandler. Most of the discussed positions are put
on the board. This can be done at a fairly quick pace. One participant sets up
the white pieces, the other the black pieces - the others watch carefully if the
position is correct. The advantage of this is that variations can easily be played
through until the end and that a real practical game is simulated.
The training is made as varied as possible. Between the discussions of
two items with board positions, the trainer discusses the weekly SBSA email
messages for a few minutes. Often these messages contain photographs of
well-known players or tournaments. Now and then, an interesting link to a
website is passed on, or a book is referred to. The trainer also discusses with
the pupils which tournaments will be held in the coming weeks. Sometimes the
programme includes a fragment of a chess video or a DVD. Regularly, a classic
position (e.g. Saavedra) or study (Pogosiants, Afek) is put on the board. In
many training sessions, several positions with frequently occurring themes are
shown. Lev Alburt's 'Chess Training Pocket Book' is a rich source.
When solving exercises, each participant first has to think for himself. Then
the trainees discuss the possible solutions. The group members give answers to
relevant questions like: what's going on here, what patterns do we see? A good
question is half the answer. Participants are not allowed to propose moves until
the trainer considers that all of them have had enough time to develop an idea.
If a solution appears to be at hand, it is played on the board, and the trainer
reveals if the exercise is solved correctly. If the trainer isn't a strong player
himself, he should prepare well in order to be able to give expert comments.
With the help of concrete positions, lots of chess concepts pass the review - for
example, a 'sea-snake' or a 'tempo' - as well as psychological insights (why do
you attack forward?). This is preferably done with questions. If possible, the
other participants give the answers - not the trainer. The trainees enjoy helping
their training partners to make discoveries by asking directed questions.
Interesting game fragments by well-known players are a recurring theme.
Sometimes the boys investigate a position first on the board, and then with
Fritz. Experience is the best teacher for them to work with this program.
The positions may be obtained from the Internet, like e.g. some fascinating
endgame position by former Dutch champion Loek van Wely. Often the positions
are derived from games by the players of Schaakstad Apeldoorn's first team,
which plays in the Dutch Premier League. A position by a (well-)known player
like Sipke Ernst will appeal more to the boys' imagination than a position by
an unknown grandmaster. They know Sipke because, like other Schaakstad
Apeldoorn players, he regularly gives youth trainings in Apeldoorn.
At the end of each training session, each participant mentions one position or
SBSA youth training by Yochanan Afek. (photo Cocky van Delft)
insight that has been instructive for him. This stimulates them to refect on the
contents of the training. The trainer makes a brief report on each training and
sends this to the participants by email. Sometimes he will add game fragments
in pgn format. During the break and after the training, players and parents
always have the opportunity to have a private talk with the trainer. Now and
then the trainer will also communicate with the parents by email.
SBSA is an abbreviation for Stichting Bevorderen Schaken Apeldoorn (Foundation
for the Stimulation of Chess in Apeldoorn). This foundation was established in
September 1998 by Cees Visser, Merijn van Delft and Karel van Delft. Later there
were several mutations within the board. The foundation's aim is to stimulate
chess in Apeldoorn - on top level as well as recreational level. The observation
that the existing clubs in Apeldoorn did not radiate a great urge for innovation
at the time triggered the establishment of the foundation. SBSA has a small
board that meets only a few times per year. The tasks are divided between
the board members, with the secretary coordinating things where necessary.
Volunteers lend a hand with various activities. The foundation organizes various
tournaments every year (a weekend tournament, a blitz championship and
five rapid tournaments), organizes a training series for the strongest youth
players named 'SBSA Youth Academy' and incidental activities like simuls and
workshops, gives advice when asked, and spreads information about chess
Children of the Makula chess club. (photo Cobie Joustra)
activities as well as chess content. This is done on a website, with free-of
charge weekly email newsletters, and a free-of-charge yearly chess paper
(which appeared nine times untill 2008. Sometimes SBSA also gets attention
in various media.
Activities are largely paid for by participants and sponsors. Sometimes a little
extra money remains, which is then used for another activity. SBSA exchanges
ideas and experiences with chess players outside Apeldoorn in all kinds of ways.
The weekly SBSA email newsletters are also sent to several hundreds of chess
players outside Apeldoorn. There are even several dozens of readers in other
countries. Regularly, guest trainers from elsewhere are invited. Following world
Children of the Makula chess club. (photo Cobie Joustra)
chess foundation FIDE's motto 'Gens Una Sum us' (We are one people), SBSA
has introduced school chess in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. This is done on
the school for poor children of the Makula Foundation, which was established
by Rogers Mutebi and Cobie Joustra. SBSA has found several sponsors and sent
chess material, and with the money the Makula Foundation pays its teachers:
frst an ICT student, later former students.
SBSA enjoys a good cooperation with the chess clubs in Apeldoorn. A number
of players from Schaakstad Apeldoorn's first team give youth trainings. The
SBSA is of the opinion that it is important for the development of a local chess
culture that several members of a club's frst team are youth trainers. If youth
players have regular contact with strong players, they will learn from them.
Such contacts also stimulate their fascination for chess, and their motivation to
train. Now and then SBSA is having its cake and eating it: a (grand)master is
hired to give trainings to adults and strong youth players, and in turn the latter
give free workshops. This way trainers are created, and there is an increasingly
active involvement of the stronger players from your city or town.
At the intercession of the Dutch national chess federation KNSB, SBSA has
received a subsidy from the national sports federation NOC*NSF. Partly with
this money, a series of (partly experimental) activities were started to develop
youth chess in Apeldoorn. A report on these activities has been made by Willy
Hendriks, who has been following the project on behalf of the KNSB. His fnal
report has been included as an appendix in this book. In The Netherlands, an
increasing number of chess foundations are established, alongside the regular
clubs. As it turns out, this leads to more activities.
87.3 Two- or threedimensional training
During trainings and self-study, games and positions are investigated two
dimensionally (with diagrams) as well as three-dimensionally (on the board).
The question is if it makes a difference in training effect whether a position is
studied in a diagram or on the board. Karel van Delft devoted a brief research
project to this question in 2006. A search in chess literature did not yield any
information; strong players are predominantly of the opinion that the impact
of a board position could be greater than that of a position on paper or on a
demonstration board. As part of the experiment, participants of the SBSA youth
training solved tactical positions and filled in a questionnaire. This research
is included as an appendix in this book. The tentative conclusion is that both
two- and threedimensional presentations contribute to chess development, but
it is easier for a player to become immersed in a position if it is presented on
the board. Here also, it pays to think about the information on offer, to dare to
experiment, and to apply what you can use in practice.
B7.4 Training with Dvoretsky
Mark Dvoretsky is regarded as one of the best trainers in the world, and he
has educated a lot of players on their way to grandmastership. His best-known
pupil is Artur Yusupov, with whom he has always maintained cooperation - the
two are a well-known duo. In the past years, Dvoretsky came to Apeldoorn for
trainings several times, and he has become a member of Schaakstad Apeldoorn.
In 2003, all experiences with Dvoretsky were recorded on a CD-ROM called
'Mark Dvoretsky in Apeldoorn', an SBSA publication.
Dvoretsky regards himself as a trainer for advanced players, starting from a
2200 rating. His books (often written together with Yusupov) are simply a must
for players with title aspirations. Their five-part cycle 'Training for the tournament
player', 'Opening preparation', 'Technique for the tournament player', 'Positional
play' and 'Attack and defence' is well-known. 'Dvoretsky's Endgame manual' is
a classic. His approach is based on skills (variation calculation) and a certain
way of thinking rather than on concrete knowledge. The books contain many
tough exercises. A good way to train is by putting the starting positions of these
exercises on the board, giving yourself 10 or 15 minutes time on the clock, and
then concentrating and trying to calculate as much as possible. In short: forcing
yourself to work hard, racking your brains, and then comparing your results
with the solution. This has a technical training effect, but it also enables you to
acquire a good competitive attitude.
By using his books a training session with Dvoretsky can be simulated quite
faithfully, but of course it is much more inspiring to attend a training session
with the man himself. In Apeldoorn there have been workshops with Dvoretsky
where he explained his approach to a broader audience, as well as trainings
that concentrated on a certain concrete theme. His collection with thousands
of training positions is famous. They are arranged according to theme, which
enables students to concentrate on weak points. Merijn van Delft has also
received individual trainings by Dvoretsky a couple of times, in which they
analysed his own games. One of the most instructive moments from these
trainings was the following:
Merijn van Delft - GM Maris Krakops
Groningen, December 1997
Analysis: Merijn van Delft
46. Rb7?
The text move seems very logical and obvious, but it fails to grasp the crux of
the position. Here is a brief overview of what this position is about:
White's passed b-pawn will bring him the win, but it is vital to keep the black
king out of play. The very strong pawn on g6 is also potentially very weak, and
therefore it needs some support. In short, the rook belongs on the sixth rank!
During the game I understood that I could harass the black king with a Ba3
check, but what I didn't grasp was that a white rook on the e-file would really
keep the black king imprisoned. In other words, e6 is the ideal square for the
white rook. Some more general laws propagated by Dvoretsky:

Good positional play consists of building your own plans and preventing
your opponent's plans.

A prophylactic move is a move that removes the threat of your opponent

and at the same time improves your own position. The latter is essential,
as otherwise every defensive move would be prophylactic.

In general, but especially when converting a technically winning position,

prophylaxis is an important (i.e. necessary) resource.
I assume that after the above, the short move sequence 46. Rb6 KfS, 47. Re6
Be7, 4S. Re4! is no wizardry for anyone. I have analysed more than ten games
with Dvoretsky, and we enjoyed many instructive moments along the way, but
I think this was my most enlightening experience with him.
46 . ... Kf8 47. Ba3 Ke8 48. Bc5 Rd5 49. b4 Rg5 50. Kc2 Rxg6 51. Kb3
Rgl 52. Kc4 Rcl 53. Kd5 Rdl 54. b5 Rxd3 55. b6 Rb3 56. Kc6 d3 57. Rd7
Bg5 58. b7 d2 59. Rd5 Bf4 60. Bd6 Bxd6 61. Rxd6 Rc3 1/-12
Mark Dvoretsky gives a training to Irina Gorshkova, Marijn Visschedijk and Merijn van Delft.
Mark Dvoretsky plays Viktor Kortchnoi for Schaakstad Apeldoorn .
Mark Dvoretsky and Karel van Delft.

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Drawing by Trix Meurs
B7.S Chess and autism
Chess is a suitable sport for many children and adults with an Autism Spectrum
Disorder. Scientifc research on this subject is lacking, also on an international
level. Experience indicates that chess stimulates social, emotional and cognitive
A 'super championship' for Jaap de Vries
'Mate', Jaap de Vries (9) announces frmly. After an attack on the enemy king,
Jaap manages to score his third full point during the national chess championships
for pupils in Gouda. 'My rating is rocketing sky high!', he shouts.
Jaap is not very keen on a conversation with a total stranger. But this changes
if he is allowed to play a game of chess with him. Then he talks incessantly
between moves. 'If I play chess, I keep learning more and more. It's a fun sport,
actually.' Jaap wants to learn to play good chess. 'This is a super championship!',
he says.
Jaap is sufering from Asperger's Syndrome. Because of this, he has few social
contacts. In between tournament rounds, he plays games on his Nintendo. In fact,
this is precisely what does allow him to make contact with other children, who
come to him to see what game he is playing. 'If you share his interest, he is open
for contact', his mother Annemieke has noticed. 'These games look individualistic,
but for Jaap they are an opportunity to make contact with other children.'
Jaap de Vries
Jaap takes in sounds much more strongly than others, says his mother. 'His
brain does not filter away these background sounds.' That is why he wears
custom-made earplugs when he plays chess with other children. He keeps his
kinetic unrest under control with a toy snake that he can fiddle with.
Jaap plays chess every week, in the youth section of De Wijker Toren. Trainer
Jan Sinnige teaches a group of four beginners. 'Jaap has a good contact with
the other children of the group, but not with children from other groups of the
youth section', he says.
'At the chess club he can gradually build up contacts', Jaap's mother says.
'He has no friends in the neighbourhood. At the chess club he feels at home.'
Maarten Beekhuis: contacts through chess
In the coming season, Maarten Beekhuis (26) will make his debut in the second
team of Homburg Apeldoorn. He has an Elo rating of 2126. 'I've been playing
chess for almost twenty years now. During a game I'm fanatical, but I don't
study very hard. I think that I like chess because I'm good at it.'
Maarten suffers from the classical form of autism. After a stay of several
years in the Leo Kanner House (a centre for treatment of young people with
autism) in the Dutch town of Doorwerth, he is now living in a protected housing
unit in Twello. There he works half-time in the public library. 'The rest of the day
I'm doing everyday business like shopping and cooking. I also occupy myself
with the computer, I read, and I play Scrabble.'
Maaren Beekhuis
As a chess player, Maarten has achieved some successes. He became Dutch
champion with the E-team of De Schaakmaat and with the school team of the
lower classes of the City Gymnasium in Apeldoorn. At one Dutch individual
junior championship (under 12), he came fourth.
'I'm probably more self-involved than most people, but I like to have
social contacts. My autism makes this difficult.' Autists take language literally.
'Sometimes people mean something else with what they say, and I often miss
that. That makes me uncertain.'
Autism occurs in different forms. 'In any case, autism is hereditary, and
there are certain symptoms - in my case, a need for structure and clarity. My
perfectionism makes it difficult to separate main issues from side-issues. And
new things are scary for me.'
During a chess game Maarten is in his element. 'I'm very good at focusing.
Via the health institute GGNet I play indoor soccer. That's fun, but it's also hard.
I am a slow thinker and I cannot size up a situation at a glance: should I pass
the bail or make an action myself?'
Tom Meurs enjoys strategic thinking
Tom Meurs (17) has Asperger's. This pre-university education student has been
playing chess since he was eleven. 'They needed a player for the school chess
team. So I quickly learned the rules, and it was fun.' Soon he became a member
of the chess club in Ermelo, and he joined the chess camp of De Schaakmaat at
Tom Meurs (left) with his trainer Merijn van Delft.
the Open Dutch Youth Championship. Tom trained with the Stichting Bevorderen
Schaken Apeldoorn (Foundation for the Promotion of Chess in Apeldoorn), and
now plays in the second team of Homburg Apeldoorn. His Elo rating is 2175. 'I
want to cross the 2300 mark within a year. 1 train with 1M Yochanan Afek for
two hours every week, and via email with 1M Tibor Karolyi, with whom I have
stayed in Hungary for a week.'
Tom often doesn't understand exactly what other people mean. 'Sometimes
I attach too much meaning to it.' An advantage of his Asperger's Syndrome is
that he is good at concentrating. 'Especially during trainings. A disadvantage
is that during a tournament I sometimes feel less at ease, which is bad for my
In recent months he has taken up boxing. 'That's a strategic sport. Taking
blows, fighting back. You become self-confdent, because you have to dare to
attack as well. It is very much like chess.'
The nice thing about chess, Tom thinks, is that it is a very strategic game.
'It offers you full scope to apply all your understanding and your creativity.
You really have to work hard; analyse, make plans, look deeper than your
Tom has a tip for chess trainers. 'At De Schaakmaat they wanted to slow me
down when I had fnished Step 4 in one week. Other children fnish two pages in
a week, but a kid with Asperger's, who is enthusiastic, can do a lot more. Such
kids should be allowed to go ahead.'
His social skills have improved a lot compared with ten years ago. 'Whether
this is because of chess, I don't know. I've also learned a lot from the support
of my parents.'
What is autism?
Autism is a congenital neurological disorder. Symptoms are: limited social
skills, a need for structure, and problems with emotions, empathy, self-image,
language, imaginative powers and locomotion. Autists have trouble internalizing
sensory stimuli as a coherent whole. Autists often have a limited feld of interest,
in which they can specialize strongly. To cope with the complexities of the
outside world, autists seek refuge in fixed habits and patterns. We speak of the
Spectrum of Autism Disorders. Category classifcations are: classical autism,
MCDD (Multiple Complex Development Disorder) , the Asperger's Disorder, and
PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specifed).
Approximately one in every 200 persons has an autistic disorder. Boys suffer
from it six times more frequently than girls. The better their environment is
geared to their needs, the more autists will be able to develop their qualities.
Chess is suitable for autists
'Chess is definitely a suitable sport for autists. The rules of the game are
clear, there is no physical contact, it's nice and quiet', says Heleen Kers from
Apeldoorn. Via Heleen, a dozen children of De Ambelt - a school for special
education - have joined the school chess club De Schakel. 'You can teach them
in a normal way, but you must give them individual attention. And the teacher
must use straight language.'
In Putten, the 'Foundation for Groundbreaking Talents' organizes chess
lessons for young people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This is done
in cooperation with the local chess club PSV DoDo. Initiator Jacqueline van
den Brink: 'They are often able to think very logically, and this fits in well with
chess, which is a game that is very structured and surveyable. Autists are often
perfectionists. When playing chess, they have a grip on what they are doing.'
The experience of Poulien Knipscheer, a chess trainer and pedagogue from
Rotterdam, is that as a trainer you have to express yourself very clearly, and
give a lot of information. 'To autistic children who learn to play chess, it's better
to explain everything in one go than to introduce the rules and their exceptions
step by step.'
Chess is a good means for creating mutual contact, is the conclusion of
recreational and leisure activities coordinator Wicher Struik of the Leo Kanner
House. 'By joining this little club they belong somewhere, and that strengthens
their identity.' Peter Hamers gives chess lessons in the Leo Kanner House as a
volunteer. 'When giving chess lessons to autists, your group should be small
and surveyable. You must state clearly what you are going to do during the
lesson and you must stick to that. Their mastering of the game adds to their
self-respect. It also makes them feel more appreciated.'
Four autistic boys between seven and twelve years old receive one-hour chess
lessons from Willem van der Hulst, who is on an Early Retirement Scheme, on
a weekly basis. 'The most important thing is to have patience. Now and then
they are very busy and impulsive. You must tell them clearly what is expected
of them. Also, you have to motivate them, as they often find it hard to take
initiatives by themselves. You can see how much fun they're having. I have
the impression that chess is very good for their development - intellectually,
socially and emotionally. It also gives them self-confidence, as they learn to be
good at something.'
Walk-in Centre InsideAut in Alkmaar has a chess club. Many people with
autism like to play chess and they do it well, says professional employee Carola
Zwartjes. 'It is safe and structured here. At a 'normal' club, people with autism
often miss social association with other club members.'
The Australian 1M Alex Wohl has trained the talented Trevor Tao in the 1990s.
'You have to explain everything as simply as possible', he says. 'You should not
assume that certain knowledge is present, or that something will be understood.
You have to check all the time if what you say is getting across. With many
autists you can communicate really well, but it's different than with most other

Cl Organization
Cl.l Top-class sport and recreational sport
Top-class sport and recreational sport are often worlds apart. But this does
not always have to be the case. Of course you do not have to bother a seven
year-old girl who attends lessons and plays a weekly game at the school's
chess club with information about grandmaster games. But a simul with twenty
other children against a strong former student of the school can be a lot of fun.
Children will be amazed that such a boy or girl can play so many opponents
at a time. Parents who come to watch will also think of it as a marvellous
achievement. Their amazement will grow when they watch a blitz game - they
never imagined that chess pieces could fly over the board so quickly! In The
Netherlands people have never played chess as massively as when Max Euwe
became World Champion. People clung to the radio massively. We are talking
about a time when there weren't any computers - there wasn't even tel evision.
Even though hardly any Dutchman will understand the difference in level
between the World Champion and the Dutch number 1000, still having a
champion can stimulate many people to start practising a sport. Although,
people are not always up to date everywhere. Once grandmaster Artur Yusupov,
a member of Schaakstad Apeldoorn, visited the town house of his home town in
Germany. He mentioned his name to the civil servant, who frowned: 'Yusupov,
Yusupov ... , that's a well-known name.' A chess grandmaster nods politely in
such cases. 'Ah, now I remember', said the civil servant. 'Of course - you are
the husband of the coach of the school's chess team that took second place in
the national championships!'
Many top-class chess players enjoy the experience of now and then giving
workshops to well-motivated youth players. This not only applies to top players
at the local club, but also to international masters and grandmasters. In order
to analyse a game, an interest in children is the chief didactic prerequisite. If
necessary, a more didactically experienced person can be asked to assist. The
children will have a feld day. Actually, top players are more often than not
willing to do this. It's just that nobody asks them. In fact, that was exactly what
grandmaster Jan Timman replied when asked why he was hardly involved in the
education of young top talents. The authors of this book know from their own
experience that he was already prepared to give workshops years ago.
For talented youth players, teaching is a good possibility to develop
communication skills. It also forces them to reflect more closely on the matter
at hand.
By the engagement of stronger club players, masters, and talented youth
players for regular trainings or guest trainings, more youth players will get the
opportunity to further their development.
For years Apeldoorn has known a primary school competition, in which
more than twenty primary schools play against one or more other teams. This
competition was an initiative by a few enthusiastic chess club members, like
Hessel Visser. In the past, once in a while a talent would break through, but
he would have to find his way to the top (or not) all by himself, with only his
parents' support. After Marc Jonker, Renate Limbach (as trainers), and Karel
van Delft (as an organizer) had set up a top training programme for youth
players, many Apeldoorn youths developed quickly and achieved regional and
national titles. This has resulted in a dozen or so players having a 2000 rating
- or much higher - who play in the foremost teams of Schaakstad Apeldoorn
The trainings did not get off the ground without a struggle. A number of club
members feared that top-class sport would be at the expense of the pleasant
atmosphere at the chess clubs. Practical experience shows that a number of
youth players who received extra trainings in the past have by now become
active chess organizers. A number of these former youth players, such as
Martin van Dommelen, Stefan Kuipers, Sjef Rijnaarts and Roeland Pruijssers,
give trainings themselves today.
C1.2 Chess club or foundation
Dutch chess clubs often have a weekly club competition, and club teams
participate in competitions against other clubs. Sometimes there is an
entertaining evening with, for example, a blitz tournament. Clubs have -less and
less - club bulletins, and more and more clubs have their own websites. Many
clubs have a youth section of their own. Many of them organize tournaments
where players from other clubs are welcome. A limited number of clubs play
on top level, with or without the support of a sponsor. Here and there, chess
foundations are established by people with ambitions that reach beyond those
of the local club(s). Some clubs cooperate under the umbrella of a foundation
for part of their activities, like tournaments and trainings.
One reason for establishing a foundation may be that many fellow club
members aren't interested in more than their weekly game. Sometimes they
fear the financial risks of extra activities. Often they just prefer things to stay
as they are. A foundation with a few enthusiastic people often turns out to be
more decisive than club boards, which have ofen grow indolent over the years
and do not have a clear vision of their possibilities and their future. It can
be finanCially advisable to separate the relatively large tournament budgets
from the modest club funds. Obviously it is a good thing for chess clubs and
foundations to cooperate where possible.
Armen Hachijan during a club evening of Schaakstad Apeldoorn. (photo Cocky van Delft)
Karin Pruijssers during a club evening of Schaakstad Apeldoorn. (photo Cocky van Delft)
C1.3 Policy plan
In a policy plan, an organizaton writes down its aims and how it wants to achieve
them. This can be combined with an organizational set-up including a division
of tasks. For example, a club can make a policy plan which states that it aims
to realize top-class sport, recreational sport, talent development and promotion
of their sport. This involves a wide array of activities. These can be put on a
list, which also contains the names of the responsible board members and
other staf members who are responsible for the activities. Using such a policy
plan, the board can evaluate regularly and give account at general meetings.
The chairman or the secretary can keep an eye on the day-to-day proceedings.
The advantage of a policy plan with an added organizational scheme is that the
activities are clearly structured, the various responsibilities are put on paper,
and if something goes wrong this will quickly become clear.
Cl.4 Costs
In comparison with many physical sports, chess is a cheap sport. Weekly club
evenings and walk-in hours for novice youth players are not expensive. Talent
development, however, does have a price. That's normal. Why should it be free
of charge? Nevertheless, where chess is concerned, some club members and
parents have a different opinion. They are, of course, fully entitled to this, but
as a rule their objections will hamper youth players in their development. For
the organization of good trainings and the achievement of good results, good
trainers are needed. And they tend to cost money. Why should a chess trainer
earn less than a music teacher or a tennis coach? And an ambitious youth
player also needs books and a chess computer program.
Cl.S Volunteers
With all kinds of sports, many tasks are performed by volunteers, and only
trainers receive payment. Some organizations suffer from a lack of volunteers,
whereas for other organizations this is much less of a problem. The difference
is not only a question of 'good or bad luck'. It turns out that every organization
that has a sufficient or even a large number of volunteers, fulfils a few specific
conditions. It is important that one single person or a small group of people
act(s) as (an) enthusiastic pioneer(s). Volunteers like to be taken seriously by
their organization. They do a better job performing their tasks if they feel that
their opinions are listened to, and if they themselves bear the responsibility of
giving shape and content to their tasks. More people will be willing to volunteer
if their tasks are clearly described, and if a club asks them to do activities they
are interested in, and/or which do not take too much time. It is a good thing to
express your appreciation for the volunteers with a nice activity. This may be,
for instance, a simul with a strong player, or a fun tournament between them.
SBSA was once involved in the organization of a tournament where supervisors
of the more than twenty school chess clubs in Apeldoorn took part. Volunteers
can also have limitations or bad character traits. They may forget things or
be a little casual with their appointments. It is fatal to a club, and certainly to
top-class sport, if volunteers view their activities as being free of obligations.
It is important that someone bears the fnal responsibility for each activity. In
consultation with volunteers, he can see to it that appointments are kept, and
communicate regularly by email or telephone, or verbally.
L. to r. Sipke Ernst, Manuel Bosboom, Arthur van de Oudeweetering and Merijn van Delft win the national KNSB
cup for Schaakstad Apeldoorn in Groningen.
C1.6 Calendar
Planning activities per year is convenient. It enables everyone to know timely
what is on the programme. It also enables a good changeover of activities. It
is useful if everyone involved knows where they can consult the calendar - on
a clubsite, for example.
Cl.7 Evaluation, second opinion
An organization will function better if the board evaluates its activities regularly.
This involves making an inventory of experiences and opinions, and establishing
what can be improved the next time around. It will lead to a better commitment
if all the staff members of an organization get the chance to give their opinion
and see that the board takes them seriously. A board should also explicitly
involve youth players in the youth policy of the organization. Evaluation can be
done in different ways: in passing, during brief conversations, in meetings, or
via inquiries.
Anyone can make a mistake. Therefore, people who perform a task do well to
regularly ask others for a second opinion. For example, it is not a lot of work
to have someone else read through a press release via email before you send
it around. It may contain spelling mistakes, or the author's intentions may
be unclearly formulated, or he may forget to mention the time schedule or
the playing venue. The same goes, for instance, for tournament scenarios or
training programmes. Never forget that a chain is only as strong as its weakest
link. A sound board is also useful. In SBSA's early years Petra Stellwagen, Daniel
Stellwagen's mother, actively thought along with the foundation via email about
the development of activities.
Analysis in club venue 'De Brinkhorst' after the match Schaakstad Apeldoorn - HSG.
C2 Communication
C2.1 The importance of communication
A chess organization that wants to function well, should communicate well. This
should be taken into account with all its activities. It is rather unfortunate if at
the start of a Premier League game two boards remain unoccupied, if these
players do not take the trouble to call the team captain and the latter does not
have their mobile phone numbers at hand. Appointments about such things
are no luxury. Good communication leads to better involvement. A club board
confers with the members at the annual general meeting.
But a chairman can also occasionally make a short speech at the start of
a club evening, bringing the members up to date on topical issues in a few
sentences. Bulletins, a website and email newsletters are different means to
involve members and other interested people in your organization. The board of
a club can hang announcements and information about tournaments on a notice
board which also displays the club competition results. Good communication is
two-way traffic: you tell people things and you listen to them. Organizers will
gather a lot of information if they regularly ask committed people for their
L. to r. Arthur van de Oudeweetering, Lucien van Beek, Merijn van Delft and Manuel Bosboom win the Dutch blitz
team champion ships for Schaakstad Apeldoorn in The Hague.
C2.2 Inquiry
With an inquiry, a chess club board can gather information from its members.
This can also be a useful instrument for the development of an active youth
section. Since a club board can bring all kinds of questions to the attention of
youth players and parents with such an inquiry, this also has the effect of an
activating research project: by presenting possibilities you will hand people
ideas. In the appendix section we have included an inquiry that was once held
at De Schaakmaat when we were setting up a youth training programme there.
C2.3 Contacts with the media
Via media like radio, tv, newspapers, local papers and Internet sites, a chess
organization can generate free publicity and in this way involve more people
in its chess activities. Sponsors are always interested in publicity. A tried
and-tested recipe to get sponsors mentioned in the media is by connecting
the sponsor's name to that of a club or an event. Schaakstad Apeldoorn, for
example, has acted under the artist's names of BIS and Homburg Apeldoorn. In
full, the Apeldoorn weekend tournament is called ROC Aventus Open Apeldoorn
Chess Championship. A chess organization can generate exposure in the media
via contacts with journalists. It is practical to first make a press release, then
contact journalists in person or via telephone, and then send them the press
release. It is important for an organizer to think about the question why a
journalist should want to receive his information, and to keep his message
concise. A journalist will only be interested if he thinks that his readers or
listeners will be interested. This may be the case if, for instance, a well-known
chess master takes part in the tournament. A journalist is always looking for
news, that is: information that is new and interesting for the public.
C2.4 Press release
A press release should be short and sweet. The receiver should get an answer
to six questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how. The information
should be actual. A press release should contain information about the sender,
his phone number and email address. This allows a journalist to contact him
without trouble if he wants to have more information. Producing pieces of
beautiful prose doesn't make much sense. Usually, journalists write down their
own version of a story, though editors from local papers sometimes copy the
delivered texts in full. It is wise to timely contact journalists personally (two
weeks before the event) to make practical appointments about the sending of
a press release or a report on an event. It is practical to make a press list (with
names of contact persons where possible) of media that may be interested in
chess activities.
C2.S Email newsletters
Via email messages, an organization can keep in contact with relations in a
quick and cheap way. An example is SBSA's weekly email newsletter. It has
a standard format. On top is the SBSA logo and the heading 'SBSA email
newsletter', followed by the number of the newsletter and the date. The next line
mentions that earlier email newsletters can be read on the foundation's website
www. For non-Dutch-speaking relations, a summary in English is given
first. This is followed by a table of contents and a list of attachments. These
attachments are mostly pgn files with interesting games that are connected
with an article in the email newsletter. The editor of the SBSA email newsletters
is SBSA's secretary Karel van Delft. He writes a number of texts himself, but
every year there are around 70 different people who also send in texts, photos
and games. Every now and then the editor will slightly edit these texts to make
them more reader-friendly.
The articles are presented in the order indicated by the table of contents.
Under a heading in bold letters the text is given. An article often starts with a
picture, and sometimes it contains a chess diagram. Articles and photos are
accompanied by the name of the author or the photographer, unless the text or
picture has been made by the editor. Pictures serve to illustrate the texts and
brighten them up. They are highly appreciated by most readers. Furthermore,
players' faces will become known to those who do not know them yet, and
those who do know them will enjoy recognizing them. Also, pictures will liven
up the atmosphere of the described events. There are several calendars at
the end of the newsletter: a general calendar of chess activities in Apeldoorn,
the competition dates of the Dutch Chess Federation KNSB, a youth calendar,
and a calendar with SBSA youth training dates. Then there is a list with data
of Apeldoorn chess clubs and their websites. The articles range from extensive
tournament reports to results and tournament announcements with lists of
applied participants. The reader can quickly find his way in the newsletters
by their clear, standardized lay-out. One reader may only be interested in a
workshop by a grandmaster, another may want to read an extensive report on
a tournament where a youth team took part.
The editor arranges the texts in a Word file. After the newsletter has been
sent, the Word file is cleared of all the information that is no longer topical, and
this file is used as a basis for the next newsletter. Throughout the next week
texts are sent, and the editor often places them in the next newsletter on the
same day already so as to have less workload on Sunday evenings, when the
messages are sent around. Pictures are scaled down with a thumbnail program
(50 to 200 kb) and then copied in Word with the Paint program. This way the
newsletter will be less than 2Mb even if it has twenty pictures. pgn files are
mentioned in the list of attachments and are ready for use on the computer's
desktop. Before the editor sends the newsletter on Sunday evening, he copies
everything from Word into Outlook. Attachments are added, and the newsletter
is sent with the help of several mailing lists.
The newsletters keep SBSA's relations up-to-date about events and
developments. There are around 600 recipients, about one-third of whom are
inhabitants of Apeldoorn. Of the others, several dozens are contacts outside
The Netherlands, or chess players from the rest of the Netherlands. Many of
these are people who regularly participate in events in Apeldoorn, or chess
organizers. Attracting participants to events is partly done with the email
newsletters, which saves us a lot of correspondence work.
C2.6 Internet site
An Internet site is an effective means of spreading information. It can contain
texts, pictures, films, game collections, and tournament calendars. The
webmaster may be a member of the board, or a volunteer who simply enjoys
the work. Websites are very cheap these days. For a few tenners a year you
can already make one. A weblog is a simpler version of a website. It consists
of one single page upon which pictures and texts can be placed. This is often
free of charge. Ruben Kuijper, who participates in SBSA youth trainings, has his
own weblog on which he reports on his experiences, his favourite chess books,
and his games.
C2.7 Flyer, poster
Flyers and posters are approved means of attracting participants to join activities
- even more so if they are made up in colour, with an attractive illustration.
It is easy to make a flyer on A4 format on a pc. Such a fyer should contain
information, a contact address, possibly a logo, and sometimes a picture to
attract attention. Excess information is not advisable. The marketing formula
AIDA is a good guide for design and content. The formula stands for Attention
(which it should attract), Interest (which it should arouse), Desire (it must be
desired) and Action (it should inform which action can be undertaken to make
use of the offer). Chess organizers can also design a poster themselves on a
computer - they are often made on A3 format. It can be put on paper either by
printing it out yourself, or by handing in a digital file on a usb stick or a CD-ROM
in a copy shop. Organizers of bigger tournaments often engage professional
printing companies, but this is only possible with a sufcient sponsoring
budget. Spreading flyers and posters can be done by fellow club members. The
organizers can hand out the information at tournaments and clubs. They can,
for instance, pin up posters in libraries, at tournaments, in community centres,
on the windows of private houses, in shops, and in schools.
C2.8 Making a CD-ROM or a DVD
A chess organization can make a report on CD-ROM or DVD about a jubilee
evening, a chess tournament, a workshop day, or various other activities. One
disc can contain pictures, flms, pgn fles with game collections, and texts. A
short preface may be given in a Word fle. There is a lot of free-of-charge study
material on the Internet. A trainer can gather useful material and put this on a
disc for his young pupils. With software that can be downloaded free-of-charge
on the Internet, a picture can be made into a box sleeve. In the same way it is
possible to make a sticker to put on the DVD or CD-ROM. The making of such a
disc doesn' t have to cost more than one euro apiece.
C2.9 Club bulletin
A club bulletin is an opportunity to involve members more strongly with their
club. It can contain actual communications, but also enjoyable stories and
reports on competitions. The club bulletin can also contain actual information
about, for example, the club board, membership dues, a calendar of activities,
or other pieces of information. Club bulletins on paper are increasingly giving
way to email newsletters and/or websites. ASV, in the nearby Dutch city of
Arnhem, for instance, has been publishing a weekly two-sided A4 sheet with
information and game reports for decades. This can combine perfectly with
other publications. The advantage of such an information sheet, which is
literally handed out, is that it will be quite hard for club members to miss the
C2.10 Sponsors
Sponsors are important to help a club pursue a sport on a certain level.
Sponsors provide money with which strong players can be hired for a team, or a
tournament with an attractive prize fund can be organized. By attracting strong
players, a team will be able to play on a higher level. Also, their contribution will
help raise the level of young talents in a club. As a rule, youth talents will not be
able to develop much further than the level of the best player of their club. The
higher the prize money, the greater the chance will be that strong players visit a
tournament. If it is known that a few strong players, e.g. (grand)masters, take
part, this will attract more other players as well.
It is not easy to attract sponsors for chess activities. Chess is not a mass
sport, and chess organizations - club boards, but also regional and national
chess federations and the world chess federation FIDE - are often rather
amateurish. A sponsor wants to get something in return for his money. A chess
organizer who wants to bring in sponsors must think of motives why a sponsor
would want to give money or, for instance, provide a playing venue. The
organizer must create a win-win situation. Practice shows that chess sponsors
often have affnity with the sport themselves, or they sympathize with the
volunteer work of the organization. Often relatively small amounts of money are
involved: a few hundred euro. Such sponsors fnd it advantageous to sponsor
a chess activity or, in any case, they do not mind spending a small part of their
sponsoring budget on it. With bigger tournaments that generate more publicity,
the sponsorship will ft in with their public relations policy and then the grounds
for the sponsorship will be more commercial.
In Apeldoorn, our weekend tournament has been sponsored for years by
the local ROC (i.e. Regional Education Centre), which advertises as a sports
education centre. The workshop event 'Youth Meets Masters' is financially
supported by a shop-owner in Apeldoorn whose son is a chess player. With his
working days, this shop-owner cannot do any volunteer work, but sponsoring
enables him to make a contribution. His son is not a youth player any more (he
is a chess organizer in another town now), but the shop-owner is still sponsor.
Often organizers mainly look out for their own interests - they need money. It
is advisable to also look at sponsorship from the other side and to investigate
what can motivate potential sponsors, and how the organizers can approach
them personally. It's more effective to have one pleasant conversation than
twenty unanswered begging letters. A talk with a sponsor will go better if the
organization describes the activity that is to be sponsored concisely on half an
A4 format sheet beforehand, listing also their promotional activities. In general,
not a lot of money goes around in chess. This is where many boards of chess
clubs pay for being too amateurish. In order to spread the risks, it is advisable
for a chess organization to find a different sponsor for each activity. This also
reduces the amount of money that is needed per activity, and increases the
chance of getting more sponsors interested.
C2.11 Live commentary
Live commentary is the explanation by a (mostly strong) player of a game to
an audience with the help of a demonstration board. This may, for instance,
be a competition game that is being played at that moment. A commentator
may also discuss a game from an international elite tournament in a cafe. On a
school club evening, players can show a game they have played against another
school team. Live commentary is an approved form of explaining the game of
chess to people - especially to motivated youth players. This can be interlarded
with amusing anecdotes.
During Premier League home matches, Schaakstad Apeldoorn always
tries to organize live commentary. Many strong players will not be available
on these days, because they are playing themselves. However, there may be
strong players who are no longer active in competition, like Jeroen Noomen
in Apeldoorn, who are willing to give live commentary. Every now and then, a
player who has quickly finished his game gives comments. Sometimes also a
strong reserve player can do the job.
Since the Fall of 2007, Schaakstad Apeldoorn organizes commentary
sessions before the club competition on Tuesday evenings. These 'Buro Post'
game analyses (named after its sponsor) last 45 minutes. In the first year
they were performed by turns by the eighteen-year-old club members Roeland
Pruijssers and Stefan Kuipers, who also give SBSA trainings. They discuss their
own games, and also games from the club competition, taking into account that
there are weak as well as strong players in the audience. This is known as a
'layered presentation', i.e. a presentation given on various levels at the same
time. At the beginning of the session there are roughly ten people present.
This mounts up to around 30 right before the beginning of the games. At the
end of the first season, it was decided to reserve the fnal 15 minutes for a
presentation by a youth player who participates in the club competition. Here,
the commentators function as assistants. The first youth player to do this was
nine-year-old Thomas Beerdsen, who showed a game that had won him the
brilliancy prize at the Dutch U-12 championship.
C2.12 Chess newspaper
A local chess newspaper can inform many people about activities, and with
sufficient advertising sales it can even bring in money. It can be a good visiting
card for a chess organization, and also a means of education. Since 2000,
Schaakkrant (i.e. Chess newspaper) Apeldoorn annually appears in september
as a removable section in the tabloid-format local newspaper 'Apeldoorns
Stadsblad'. This chess newspaper is an initiative by SBSA, with the intention
to bring chess in Apeldoorn to the attention of a large audience. The paper is
an eye-catcher, with several large pictures, a coloured front page, and a state
of-the-art layout. The wide diversity of chess life in Apeldoorn finds expression
in this publication. It contains, for example, tournament announcements,
some attractive fragments from games by Apeldoorn players, interviews with
youth champions, and stories about school chess and computer chess. A list of
addresses of chess clubs in Apeldoorn is included, as well as a number of links
to websites.
The circulation of this newspaper is 68,000. 2000 extra copies are printed to
be distributed at chess events. The 'Schaakkrant' usually has eight pages, half of
which are in full colour. Almost half of the pages are filled with advertisements,
which pay for the paper, and the other pages are available for content. Some of
Berby Hanekamp does the layout of 'Schaakkrant Apeldoorn'.
the advertisements are related to chess. SBSA takes care of editing, attracting
advertisers and collecting pictures. Printing and distribution is done by the
publisher of Apeldoorns Stadsblad, with whom a contract has been drawn up. The
layout is done by the communication agency Nijsen Media B.V. The advantage
of cooperating with such small agencies is that fexible working arrangements
are possible. The budget has been fxed with the publisher of the newspaper.
The company makes invoices for those advertisements that cover its expenses.
The other advertisements are invoiced by SBSA. Usually there is a small proft,
which is utilized for chess activities.
It takes some work to make such a paper. It is important to have good
copywriters and photographers. SBSA often manages to get free or cheap
services by professional volunteers. Quality is important - a text should be a
good read, and a picture should please the eye. Advertising space is sold to
companies and institutions with which SBSA has - often personal - relations.
In an agreement, clear arrangements are made about prices and in which form
the advertiser should send his material to the layouter. For the making of the
paper, a well-worked-out editorial set-up as well as a good production plan
are important. Since it is volunteers' work, it is important to start on time. By
putting all the activities on paper you will not forget anything. The editor sends
the production plan to various people involved, asking them to make a critical
Contacts with the publisher are maintained via a regular paper manager. SBSA
draws up a contract with the paper manager, and a few weeks before publication
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the latter sends a technical memorandum.Such commercial publications are
only profitable if three-quarters of their content consists of advertisements. The
use of volunteers will lower the costs, and the paper will be fnancially feasible
with only one-third in advertisements. After publication of the paper, a pdf
version is also published on the SBSA website by webmaster Marco Beerdsen.
Traditionally, our chess newspaper appears approximately one week before the
Apeldoorn championship weekend. When they think about the contents, it is
important for the editors to realize who their readers are. The larger part of
the audience is not anxious to read extensive club board reports, or to look at
portraits of board members. A deliberate choice has been made in favour of
as many large advertisements as possible. For a volunteers organization it is
virtually impossible to attract a large number of small advertisers and keep in
touch with them.
C2.13 Chess stand on a market or a festival
A chess club or foundation can reach a large audience at markets or cultural
festivals. Club members can, in a stand or simply by putting down a few tables,
play blitz against the public or give a simultaneous exhibition. In a flyer for the
public you can briefly describe what goes on during an evening at the chess
club. A collage of pictures on a board will have great attention value, and it can
provide a sneak preview of a club evening.
Johan Wolbers gives a blindfold simul on the market square in Apeldoorn.
C3 Tournaments and events
C3.1 Weekend tournament
A weekend tournament consists of six rounds with a four-hour time control
(maximally two hours per player per game). One round is played on Friday
evening, on Saturday there are three rounds, and the fnal two rounds are
played on Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon. The players are often divided
into two level groups. Usually, participants are allowed one free round (a 'bye'),
for which they get half a point. In Apeldoorn, two byes are possible in the frst
four rounds. For churchgoers it is possible to take a bye on Sunday morning, for
pub-crawlers it isn't. One of the advantages of two byes is that youth players
do not have to play in the evenings, or if, for example, they have a soccer game
on Saturday morning, they won't have to give that up. Youth players tend to
gain a lot of experience during weekend tournaments. If they fnish their game
quickly, they can spend their time analysing, or watch the stronger players at
it, or play blitz with each other.
A strong chess player can give live commentary on the top boards on
Saturday and/or Sunday afternoon. He can also discuss a game by a promising
youth player. The organization of a weekend tournament is quite extensive. It
is essential to have a good scenario. It is important for the organization to have
enough staff members who can take over the tasks of others if necessary. It is
also important to start early with the preparations. With an organization that
works with volunteers, a lot of things can go wrong. Staff members may fail to
meet their commitments, or there are differences of opinion. In any case, the
coordinator of the event should possess a good deal of patience and endurance.
Artur Yusupov, who is also a chess organizer himself, is of the opinion that every
chess player should work in a tournament organization once in his life. For
certain players it will be very revealing to see what the organization of such an
event entails.
C3.2 Blitz tournament and rapid tournament
As a rule, a blitz tournament lasts one day. The time control of the games is
usually five minutes per player. A rapid tournament usually also lasts one day,
with seven rounds. The time control is usually 20 or 25 minutes per player.
For both of these tournament variants it is important to have a good scenario.
Its items can be taken from the scenario for a weekend tournament. SBSA
organizes four or fve rapid tournaments per year in the Apeldoorn Mind Sports
Centre, and the blitz championship of Apeldoorn is held in a cafe - for instance,
the local Art Cafe 'Sam Sam'. These tournaments are made financially possible
partly by sponsors. The blitz championship is held in a cafe every Sunday
after Schaakstad Apeldoorn's frst team match in the new calendar year. As
a rule, several international masters take part. Before the blitz tournament, a
(grand)master, who also takes part in the blitz tournament, gives a simul to
participants of the SBSA youth training, who also take part in the tournament.
As the international (grand)master is there for the blitz tournament anyway, he
will be willing to give such a simul for a modest fee.
Sipke Ernst during the ROC Aventus weekend tournament.
Sebastian Siebrecht playing Friso Nij boer during the ROC Aventus Open chess championship of Apeldoorn.
Staf members of the ROC Aventus weekend tournament: I. to r. Henk Scholten, Paul Ham and Marco Beerdsen.
Henriet Springelkamp during ROC Aventus.
Tom Smid watches Alexander Kabatianski play during the MuConsult rapid championship.
( photo www. fredlucas. eu)
Merijn van Delft playing Martin van Dommelen during the MuConsult rapid championship.
( photo www. fredlucas. eu)
C3.3 Tournament scenario
The organizing committee of a tournament has to think of many practical things.
In the appendices there is a list with keywords and an extensive scenario for
a weekend tournament. It is useful to include all sorts of practical tips in such
a scenario. At a number of tournaments, for instance, the tournament director
will make a short speech. As this speech will escape the attention of many of
the players, it is more effective to also include important announcements in the
tournament bulletin. The organization can make or break a tournament. It is,
for instance, advisable to keep spare material at hand. It will be frustrating to
discover that the printer cartridge is empty and, consequently, pairings cannot
be printed out. Often, doors will be rattling during tournaments. A towel around
the door-handle or a foam rubber frame will damp the noise.
Freddie van der Elburg versus Armen Hachijan during the MuConsult rapid championship. (www.fredlucas. eu)
C3.4 Chess festival
A chess festival is a nice way to bring chess to the attention of a broader
audience, and to offer adults and young players a few pleasant hours. The
programme can consist of various items. At an SBSA festival in the Mind Sports
Centre in Apeldoorn, international master and T host Hans Bbhm gave a lecture
to more than one hundred attendants about a book that he had written together
with grandmaster Jan Timman. On that same festival, Johan van Mil and Erika
Sziva from the Dutch company ' De Beste Zet' sold chess books, Harold van
der Heijden had a stand where he gave explanations of endgame studies, the
Apeldoorn correspondence chess grandmaster Jacques Kuiper gave information
about correspondence chess, Merijn van Delft played 'opening doctor' at a
table, the board of the Lightning Chess Foundation organized two-minute chess
tournaments, videofilms were shown on pc's, there was a cosy bar, there were
1 40
chess lessons for beginners, a blitz tournament for youth players, and simuls.
On two occasions there was a sponsor who connected his name to an SBSA
festival. It generated quite a lot of publicity for them. If all staff members are
working on a volunteer basis, the costs will not be high. A scenario is very
useful to have at a festival.
C3.S Chess pary
If now and then the members are having a good time, this will improve the
atmosphere in an organization. At a club enjoyable meetings can be organized,
with food, drinks, blitz, a simul, or a nice chess movie.
C4 Youth chess
C4.1 School chess club
The organization of a school chess club can be quite simple. There are enough
children who want to play chess. It is important that there is at least one adult
who wants to spend a few hours on the club every week. Often school chess
clubs hold weekly one-hour meetings. During this hour, children play a game
with each other for half an hour (with or without a clock) and they receive a
lesson during the other half hour. With the pairing program Sevilla, which is free
downloadable, it is possible to quickly and easily make a competition pairing. The
lessons usually follow the Step-by-Step Method. This instructive and structured
method does not require much chess knowledge from the teacher - certainly
not with the frst two Steps. This is just as well, since school clubs often depend
on well-meaning parents who are not strong chess players. It is a good thing
to regularly discuss games with children. A school chess club can inCidentally
invite guest trainers to do this if necessary; for example, an uncle of one of the
children, a member of a chess club, or a former student. Regular trainers who
can analyse with children are often hard to fnd. There is a much greater chance
that a strong player agrees to visit once in a while or, for example, four times
a year. Having a handful of these people over will already secure a number of
worthwhile trainings. If there are several level groups, two adults can divide the
tasks: a chess-playing parent can give lessons to two groups by turns, while a
non-chess-playing parent keeps a look-out during the competition games.
Schools teams can compete against each other. Apeldoorn has a school
competition where dozens of teams play. Another possibility is a 'mass meeting',
where two school teams with, say, fifteen children play each other. A school
chess club should be fun. It can be even more fun when, for example, movies
are shown, simuls are given, and blitz tournaments or twosomes tournaments
(child teams up with parent) are played. Not much material is required to start
a school chess club: a few boards with pieces, chess clocks, and perhaps a
demonstration board. If there are a few chess boards in the school hall, children
can also play chess with each other during breaks. They will spontaneously
teach each other the game. The school can download the Step-by-Step Method
on pc's. Then, children who want to spend more time on chess can peruse
lessons themselves now and then, or solve exercises. Enthusiasm is the
mainstay of the functioning of a school club. In Apeldoorn, Carla van der Hulst
has led the school chess club at a primary school called 'Sjofar' for years. This
nursery school teacher never got past Step 2 herself, but that did not stand
in the way of her success at all. At a certain point, 140 children were playing
chess at her school. There was no shortage of teachers. A few weeks before
the summer vacation, young children could follow a few sample lessons to
see if they enjoyed chess. If after the summer they went on to do Step 1,
their parents were invited to attend lessons as well. A number of them came
to like it, and after a while they became teachers themselves. You can set up
a school chess club with very limited means, and one teacher will be enough
already. Some schools have an extensive organization with many trainers, a
wide range of activities and an own website. In both situations, organizers can
draw inspiration from experiences gained elsewhere. You can easily gather such
information by visiting a few school chess clubs and entering a few keywords in
a search engine on the Internet.
C4.2 School competition
Schools can play each other in competitions. Often this is done with teams
consisting of four players. This takes a little organizing. Someone should take
up the coordination and the communication - for example, via a website or an
email newsletter. You need a pairing, competition rules, every school must have
a contact person, and someone has got to buy prizes (trophies) and hand them
out. It is useful to organize an annual meeting with everyone involved, and to
draw up a scenario. Apart from - or instead of - a school competition, an annual
local school championship can be organized in the form of a tournament.
C4.3 Youth chess tournaments
Many clubs regularly organize youth chess tournaments. Usually the time control
is 20 or 30 minutes per game, so seven games can be played in one day. In a
number of regions, clubs cooperate to organize a Grand Prix series. Children quite
enjoy being able to accumulate points in an overall list of rankings. Organizers
will do themselves a favour if they draw up a good scenario with a clear division
of tasks. Before the first time that you organize such a tournament, you are
well-advised to take a look at the organization of another tournament. Many
organizers will gladly share their experience with others.
C4.4 Chess camp
Various clubs in The Netherlands organize chess camps at tournaments that
last more than one day, like for example the Open Dutch Youth Championship in
the region of Twente. The young participants camp there and are accompanied
by their parents. Often there is a strong player present, who regularly analyses
games with the children.
CS Miscellaneous
CS.l Creative Tournament
Creative thinking - what does this mean anyway? - is quite a hard thing to
do. This conclusion was drawn by participants from the 'Creative Youth Chess
Tournament' held in Apeldoorn in 1994. This was an initiative by what was then
the top youth training section of ' De Schaakmaat'. The tournament had various
sponsors, notary office Dijkstra de Graaff being the main sponsor. The starting
point of this two-day tournament was that creativity is a thinking skill that
can be developed up to a certain pOint. By way of a warming-up, participants
were given a summary of the book 'Creative Chess' by Amatzia Avni before
the tournament. A tournament book was made afterwards, entitled 'Op zoek
naar het onverwachte' (i.e., 'In Search of the Unexpected'). In the event,
twenty strong youth players took part - some of them from Apeldoorn, others
from elsewhere in The Netherlands. On the list of participants were today's
grandmasters Erik van den Doel and Sipke Ernst, as well as the international
masters Lucien van Beek, Martijn Dambacher and Merijn van Delft. Most of
the participants were of the 1979 vintage, which is the most succesful one
in Dutch chess history. Perhaps this is a coincidence (after all, by definition
one vintage will have to be the strongest) - on the other hand, the fact that
these youth players did many things together and stimulated each other may
have contributed to this success. In the tournament, the participants played
six rapid games, and in between they attended lectures by the chess masters
Joris Brenninkmeijer (a psychologist), Leon Pliester (a psychologist), Renate
Limbach, Herman Grooten, and Dharma Tjiam. General practitioner Kees Gorter
held a lecture about physical condition and nurture. Karel van Delft, also a
psychologist, was the tournament coordinator. The lectures were about themes
Renate Limbach gives a lecture during the Creative Tournament.
1 43
Participants of The Chess Experience. ( photo Ferdi Kuipers)
like the development of creativity in chess, the thinking (process) of the chess
player, creativity and endgame studies, the power of pattern recognition, and
the history of the theoretical development of chess.
CS.2 The Chess Experience
In July 1999, six strong youth players from Israel, six from Germany and twelve
from The Netherlands gathered together in Apeldoorn for almost one week. In
the evenings they played matches, and during the day they trained together
with Artur Yusupov and Mark Dvoretsky. There were also recreative and sportive
activities, such as an indoor soccer tournament. A rapid chess tournament was
also on the programme. The players stayed with host families in Apeldoorn.
The team coaches were Yochanan Afek (Israel), Uwe B6nsch (Germany) and
Loek van Wely (The Netherlands). The latter made his debut as a coach for
the occasion free of charge. The event took place under the name of 'The
Connection1 Chess Experience'. With this name, the main sponsor PinkRoccade
honoured the memory of its predecessor, the Rijks Computer Centrum (i.e.
'National Computer Centre'). Its founder, Willem Jan Muhring, had been a chess
player who had promoted chess as a sport in The Netherlands together with
Dutch World Champion Max Euwe. The organization of the event was in the
hands of PinkRoccade and SBSA. The website has a report on the
event. The city of Apeldoorn and the Dutch chess federation KNSB were sub
This formula was inspired by meetings between coaches together with
their pupils representing different republics in the former Soviet Union. The
idea came up in a conversation between Mark Dvoretsky and Yochanan Afek,
when both were staying at Karel van Delft's home. The participants quickly
became enthusiastic. The formula turned out to be attractive, and when the
strongest players agreed to take part, it became an attractive challenge for
the others as well. Later, this event led to similar meetings between youth
teams from Germany and The Netherlands. Participants in this event were
(including the titles they had at the time) GM Boris Avrukh, 1M Alik Gershon, 1M
Alex Rabinovich, Michael Kobrin, Nati Ribshtein and Yevgeni Rapoport (Israel),
FM Fabian Dettling, Jan Gustafsson, 1M Heiko Machelett, Florian Graf, Stefan
Bromberger and WFM Jessica Nill (Germany), GM Erik van den Doel, 1M Ruud
Janssen, 1M Dennis de Vreugt, 1M Sipke Ernst, Lucien van Beek and Maarten
Solleveld (The Netherlands A), and Merijn van Delft, Tom Middelburg, Nico Vink,
Marten Wortel, Jeroen Willemze and Daniel Stellwagen (The Netherlands B).
CS.3 Three-day chess event in Apeldoorn
Starting in 1997, an annual three-day chess event was organized in Apeldoorn
for ten years on end. This originated at the top training of De Schaakmaat,
later it was done by SBSA. The event (of which the frst edition even lasted
four days) consisted of various activities in which strong youth players from
Apeldoorn took part, but also players from the rest of The Netherlands and
sometimes Germany. Players from 'outside' stayed at the homes of chess
players in Apeldoorn. One of the first participants was eleven-year-old Daniel
Stellwagen, who later, as a grandmaster, participated as a trainer. Each year
the items on the programme changed. Sometimes the event was combined
with a home match by Schaakstad Apeldoorn, a chess festival, or the Apeldoorn
blitz championship. In another year, an exposition of chess photos was held
in the city hall during the event. Tournaments, simultaneous exhibitions and
workshops were almost without exception part of the programme. There were
also lectures.
In the first year, pupils of national karate coach Jaap Smaal (white), who lives
in Apeldoorn, and pupils of the Fred Groote kempo school (black) performed
a living chess game in the city hall in Apeldoorn - they played the famous
Anderssen-Kieseritsky game. On their heads they wore paper chess pieces.
Frans van Veen, chairman of De Schaakmaat, gave a few chess lessons on
every school for the occasion. Former draughts World Champion Ton Sijbrands
announced the moves to the public that had come focking in. In the second
year, the Apeldoorn choir The Musical Selection Singers sang songs from the
musical 'Chess' in the city hall. After that, Johan van Mil and Merijn van Delft
played a blindfold game (and drew). Youth players made their moves on a
garden chess set, which made it easy for the audience to follow the games.
Chess composer Cornelis Siagmolen from Apeldoorn, who was already past
ninety, composed tournament problems for various editions of the event. One
time the organization discovered a dual solution. In such cases you can ask
for a new problem, but a simpler idea was to ask the audience to name both
solutions. A few elderly men knew why this was done. 'These days you have
computers and of course they don't want you to use them to fnd the solution',
one said to the other. The Three-day chess event was the precursor of the later
'Youth Meets Masters' event. After ten editions this formula was abolished.
Every now and then it is time to take a new course.
Living chess game in the Apeldoorn city hall.
Ton Sij brands reads the moves during the living chess game in the city hall, Apeldoorn.
Merij n van Delft plays a bl indfold game with J ohan van Mil in the Apeldoorn city hall.
Merij n van Delft gives a training during 'Youth Meets Masters'. ( photo www. fredlucas. eu)
Manuel Bosboom during 'Youth Meets Masters', ( photo www,fredlucas,eu)
CS.4 Youth Meets Masters
Youth Meets Masters (YMM) is an annual event in Apeldoorn that is organized
by SBSA on the fnal Friday of every Christmas holiday. During YMM, a number
of groups with youth chess players attend a workshop given by a strong player,
often a (grand)master. The idea of these workshops is to pass on knowledge and
insights, to give tips for study, and also to create a fascination for the game. The
workshops enable people to make contact with each other, and friendships are
struck up. Youth players from Apeldoorn as well as the rest of The Netherlands
take part in YMM. The workshops have a duration of approximately fve hours.
The players are of roughly equal strength in every group. Each group is a
mixture of youth players from Apeldoorn and from outside. Some sessions are
given in English, because some of the trainers are from abroad. Sometimes
there is a group consisting exclusively of girls, with a female trainer. In recent
years, the training is often held in the Mind Sports Centre in Apeldoorn. Most of
the groups are seated in one big hall.
The programme consists of various items. There is a basic set-up, but a trainer
is free to deviate from this pattern. Some of the items are: an introductory
round (the trainer asks questions like: who are you, how do you train), a (clock)
simul with analysis after the games, and other themes to be selected by the
trainer. Some trainers show one of their own games, others take a classic game.
Explanations are given to the participants, and they are questioned about
certain moves in the game. Sometimes a study-like endgame is discussed,
sometimes chess problems. With the youngest age groups, the simul player
gives comments during the game itself. During such a performance, Manuel
Bosboom once made quite an impression by showing how good he was at piling
up pieces.
In the appendices there is a list of questions that can be used in a talk
about (self-)training. The participants get a score form (see appendices), where
pOints can be scored on each item. Each group winner receives a chess book.
The participants are enthusiastic about YMM. This can be gathered from the
texts that 49 of the 59 participants sent in for the CD-ROM about the event
that was made in 2005. It is quite an experience to train with a master, and
YMM is an inspiring event with a pleasant atmosphere, where participants can
also get acquainted with players from elsewhere in the country. There are costs
involved - trainers, hallrent and organization expenses must be paid. These
are covered by a participant's contribution of ten euro supplemented with a
sponsor's contribution by Van der Mey Jewellers. Parents of participants are
allowed to watch during the workshops, provided they keep their distance.
Some parents also make themselves useful by making sandwiches and helping
behind the bar. On a number of occasions, the participants were offered home
made soup and snacks made by parents and volunteers. Eating together tends
to create an excellent atmosphere. Originally, blitz chess was an item at the
YMM workshops - in recent years the Apeldoorn youth blitz championship has
been held in the two final hours. This is a seven-round Swiss event played in
one single group. There are various (rating) prizes in the form of chess books.
During this day, digital photographs and a film are made. These are later put
on a CD-ROM, along with the material used by the trainers and a selection from
the games.
Participants, trainers, staff members and the sponsor later receive the CD-ROM
Alexander Kabatianski gives a training during YMM. ( photo www. fredlucas. eu)
Sipke Ernst gives a training during YMM. ( photo www. fredlucas. eu)
Artur Yusupov gives a training during YMM.
Manuel Bosboom gives a blitz simul during YMM.
1 51
as a concrete memory. During the day itself, the participants receive an issue of
the Apeldoorn Chess Newspaper of that year. SBSA sponsors regularly provide
small presents for all the participants. The day is organized by a working group
of the SBSA. The scenario contains the following items: date, time, playing
hall, bar staff, chess material (boards, pieces, clocks, demo boards), trainers,
attracting participants and pairing them (participants can apply via a notice
in the SBSA email newsletters), ordering scoresheets, chess books as prizes
(for groups and for blitz), making score forms, making photographs and a
flm, making CD-ROMs, bringing along Chess Newspapers, budget (collecting
contributions, contact with the sponsor, payments).
Not only the participants, but also the trainers find the YMM formula inspiring.
Alexander Kabatianski, who takes part every year, emphasizes how he can
always read the inspiration from the children's faces. He calls this the 'inner
chess flame'.
The late Rob Hartoch told us about his experiences as a YMM trainer in an
interview given elsewhere in this book. The trainers are largely recruited from
among the players of Schaakstad Apeldoorn's frst team. In 2005 the workshops
were given by Artur Yusupov, Daniel Stellwagen, Sipke Ernst, Alexander
Kabatianski, Manuel Bosboom, Arthur van de Oudeweetering, Merijn van Delft,
Rob Hartoch, Lucien van Beek, and Evi Zickelbein. Nine out of these ten trainers
are members of Schaakstad Apeldoorn. Daniel Stellwagen started years ago as
a participant in a precursor of YMM and now he has given several workshops
himself. The trainers frequently dine together after the workshop. On several
occasions, Artur Yusupov gave a training to the YMf1 trainers themselves in the
same weekend.
cs.s Match of Champions with live commentary
In June 2008, SBSA organized the KVDC Match of Champions in Art Cafe Sam
Sam in Apeldoorn. Four rapid games were played between Dutch champion
Jan Smeets and Dutch U-20 Champion Roeland Pruijssers from Apeldoorn. The
audience could watch the games in a small room in the back of the cafe. The
champions played on a DGT board, which was connected to a laptop in the front
of the cafe. There, Merijn van Delft gave live commentary. After the match,
Smeets and Pruijssers gave explanations to the audience. Afterwards, the
games were also shown on the Internet via the SBSA website. Chess organizers
can organize similar matches between, for instance, an international master
and a local youth talent.
CS.6 Lightning Chess Foundation
A local chess culture will really blossom if initiatives are developed in various
places. In 2002, former Apeldoorn youth players Thomas de Hoop, Barend
Tempelman and Youri Gerritse started the Lightning Chess Foundation, which
has successfully organized the official Dutch Lightning Chess Championship
ever since. In this chess variant both players get two minutes for the entire
game. The tournament is held in the Apeldoorn city hall, a top location in the
heart of the town. The organization is well-worked-out, the staff consists of
many active volunteers, and thanks to a range of sponsors a sizeable prize
1 52
fund is guaranteed. Internationally recognized specialists like Roland Schmalz,
Manuel Bosboom and Daniel Fridman are on the roll of honour. All information,
including tournament reports with flms, can be found on the website www.
I ig htningchess. nl.
Lightning Chess.
David Bronstein and Peter Boel.
David Bronstein plays Dharma Tjiam.
D1 David Bronstein
'Researching, developing possibilities. That's what chess is about. '
'You shouldn't solve problems, you should create them', said grandmaster David
Bronstein (72), who gave a guest training in Apeldoorn on October 8, 1995.
Good calculation of variations is useful, but what matters most in chess is the
way you approach problems. That is also what chess trainings should be about.
By researching and discussing together, you can increase your understanding of
chess and derive joy from it. Various strong youth players joined the workshop:
Tim Lammens, Merijn van Delft, Jochem Snuverink, Tim Remmel, Dennis de
Vreugt, Joyce Fongers, Joost Hoogendoorn, Vincent Deegens, Joost Mellegers
en Jaap Houben. Freelance journalist Peter Boel made a report for the local
newspaper 'Apeldoornse Courant', and guest trainer Dharma Tjiam of De
Schaakmaat was present as a listener. The training session was organized by
Karel van Delft with financial support by local waste paper trader Schrijver.
Bronstein is positively brimming with ideas about creativity and coaching.
He shows great respect for the Dutch World Champion Max Euwe. With Euwe,
Bronstein shares the urge to let others share his passion for the game. We
haven't been able to report any positive utterances about today's Dutch
chess prominents. Money and pOints, that is what they are after, Bronstein
thinks. Dr. Euwe was of a different mould; at least he loved chess and he
wanted to teach it to young people. 'I wonder if these boys here would have
learned to play chess if there had been no Euwe', Bronstein said. A weekend
with Bronstein is overwhelming. What an abundance of energy this man has!
And his understanding of the game is stupendous. Obviously, without this
understanding he would never have been able to off-handedly produce so many
games and positions that corresponded to the questions put forward by the
training participants.
One time, in 1951, Bronstein was almost World Champion, but when the
match ended in a 12- 12 tie, Botwinnik kept the title. However, with 'Zurich
1953' Bronstein did put the best tournament book of all time to his name. This
book is still available.
Bronstein is not exactly charmed by the current generation of top players.
They prepare the game to death and hardly dare to tread new paths. He plainly
calls Kasparov and Anand 'gangsters' who do not stoop to cashing 1.5 million
dollars for games where hardly anything new is tried out. 'It has never happened
before during a world championship that in a game, the players repeated
the previous game with changed colours and then agreed to a feeble draw.'
Bronstein thinks this is outrageous, and he thinks that Karpov's games are
more instructive than Kasparov's. Bronstein thinks it is even more outrageous
that he himself has been given an Elo rating of 2400-something. 'I am being
judged by my current competition results. As I am getting older, I'm not so
good at visualizing (calculating by heart) any more, and because of this I lose a
game now and then. I don't want to be judged by my results, but by my ideas.'
And there is nothing wrong with his original ideas, as this training session has
made clear. Still, at many tournaments free boarding and admission is given
only to 2500+ grandmasters. 'Because they have stuck a low rating on my
mind, I now have to pay to participate. As if I have no ideas any more. It's
preposterous, there is no more respect for older players like Smyslov and me.
Take the Donner Memorial, last year they even put us in a separate group
Obviously you have to study technique, understand positional play and know
something about openings, but in Bronstein's opinion the most beautiful thing
in chess is the combination. For youth players he has a crystal-clear piece of
advice: winning games is not important. You will, eventually. Enjoy the game,
try to confront your opponent with problems. Points are not important, the
main thing is that you learn new things about the game every time. You should
think independently, develop your own ideas and not rehash theory. Studying
endgames and, at crucial points, frst trying out for yourself what is possible, is
the best way to fnd out what you can do with the pieces.
Bronstein was also critical during the training session. To his mind, the youth
players too frequently asked for concrete solutions, for example to opening
questions. Such knowledge can be found in books. It is more important to
develop your own way of thinking. By playing through creative games, you can
pick up many themes that you will be able to use in your own games. That is,
if you have the guts to think independently and make decisions.
He made a compliment to Joyce Fongers ( 15 years old, and the Dutch U-20
girls champion). Technically her game has many flaws, but at least she tries
out ideas and goes on the attack, showing the right attitude. Bronstein found
it tiresome that the players hardly entered any discussion with him, so that
he was the only one talking for most of the time. The participants eagerly
absorbed everything he said - they hung on his lips and were deeply impressed
by everything he dished up. But discussion and research are the basis of
development, Bronstein claims. That's what a training should be about; it should
not be one-way traffic from teacher to student. A chess player who wants to
develop should ask questions and come up with ideas. Investigating all kinds
of issues will help you think independently. Only then will you be able to find
beautiful questions yourself, and will the game come alive for you. The 'secret'
of his creativity is very simple, Bronstein says: 'Just keep on searching for
interesting ideas and don't worry about results.' Often magnificent combinations
are possible if you look further than your nose ('The secret of the Russian Chess
School is that we studied a position until its very end').
Bronstein thinks it is terrible that many chess players are so afraid to lose
that they do not play interesting games any more. Without reason, they go
through life as nervous wrecks instead of inventors. He has a pOint of advice
for those who want to get rid of this attitude, which was followed up during
the training: play each other on four boards at a time, then analyse the games
together. This way the result may be 3- 1 or 2,5-1,5, which will do more justice
to the balance of powers. Bronstein is charmed by the fact that on the digital
chess clocks the option of the 'Bronstein system' has been included. With a
time increment after every move, you never have to lose on time. Analysing
together after a game is very important, Bronstein claims. You can push each
other to new heights. By confronting your ideas with the your opponent's, and
both of you will get new ideas that neither of you would have found separately.
'I like to play against computers, because at least they do not come up with
all sorts of excuses when they have lost a game', Bronstein says sarcastically.
Again, he means that many players attach too much importance to gathering
pOints. Instead, they'd better look for what other moves were possible during
the game. Even the winner has probably missed all kinds of marvellous ideas,
and therefore a little modesty is in order. Being ashamed of a lost game is about
the most stupid thing Bronstein can think of: what matters is what you can
learn from your games! You will be doing yourself a bad turn if you never dare
to try something new. 'These days, many chess players prepare entire games
at home, and they try to beat each other that way. That's not chess. You have
to try and discover new possibilities at the board. You are not fghting a human
being, you are fghting to develop new ideas.' In other words, in fact you are
fighting yourself and pOints on the scoreboard do not matter - the only thing
that matters is what you learn.
In chess, what matters is how well your pieces cooperate. Bronstein calls
this 'energy'. In various positions he indicated on cards which squares were
controlled by the pieces. With this aid, you can check if the pieces cooperate
well. In a game you search for possibilities to pinpoint the weak spots in the
position of your opponent. Bronstein's aid helps you to understand certain types
of position. Players follow the fashion too much, i.e. the issues of the day, and
because of this they only play certain openings. Bronstein thinks it is short
sighted nonsense to claim that a move is no good because it is not in the books.
And even if a position is no good, you have to know why this is so. Rehashing
other players' moves will not get you anywhere - you must investigate positions
critically and make your own judgement. Only if you have found out yourself
why certain positions are good or bad, you will know how to handle them and
be able to play a proper game of chess.
Bronstein claims that chess is more than just calculating variations. He
applauds the fact that during trainings at De Schaakmaat there are regular
discussions about all kinds of views and experiences. He thinks it is highly
important to learn to think independently and to solve problems on your own.
By exchanging thoughts you will gain new insights - not only factual knowledge,
but also a 'philosophy', a way of thinking. Playing against a computer together
and discussing what happens is an excellent training method, Bronstein thinks.
He also considers playing through annotated games where ideas are explained
verbally to be an excellent exercise. 'You have to look between the moves', he
says, and you can formulate your ideas in words. That's what it's all about. It's
not about variations, because they are only elaborations on ideas. Of course, it
is useful to train variation calculation - for instance, by putting an interesting
position on the board and then calculating all kinds of continuations in your
head. The best way to develop this skill is by starting at a young age, and doing
it regularly.
Creativity means using your imagination. Fear will only paralyse your fantasy.
Only if you look in every direction with an 'open mind', you will see many things.
That something may go wrong and you may lose a point now and then, is a price
that you should be willing to pay for conceiving beautiful ideas. And Bronstein
has proved that this attitude may get you a long way too. You can develop
your imagination by taking inspiration from interesting games by players like
Tarrasch, Simagin, and Boleslavsky. Bronstein himself loves flexible positions,
where the pawn structure is not fixed. By playing through a number of his
games, you will see how a pawn mass may 'suddenly' get rolling (although you
should keep in mind that there can be no attack without proper preparation),
opening many lines, along which the pieces execute the sentence over the
By just rehashing moves you will not learn anything. That is why Bronstein
advises to regularly look first what you yourself would play in a certain position
when playing through a game. This will make the game come alive for you, and
you will understand it better. In order to become a really creative player, you
must learn to investigate and to reason independently. 'First think for yourself,
and only then ask, or look up in the book, what's going on.' It is quite unwise
to adopt things indiscriminately. 'You shouldn't believe anyone just like that,
you shouldn't believe me either. I don't want to give you advice anyway, I only
want to make my convictions clear.' Bobby Fischer may have been talking about
'crushing the other guy's ego', Bronstein's approach is much more friendly. 'You
do not beat your opponent. He makes wrong evaluations and that is why your
position is better. But the winner also makes all kinds of mistakes. You have
to have respect for your opponent. After the game you can investigate all the
possibilities together. Investigating, and developing possibilities - that is what
chess is about.'
Karel van Delft, October 1995
02 Loek van Wely
'Believe in yourself and keep on fghting. '
Name: Loek van Wely.
Born: in Heesch.
Age: 23.
Rating: 2605.
World ranking: 56.
Title: GM (since November 1992).
Profession: chess player.
Loek van Wely has played chess since he was four years old. His father taught
him the moves, and Loek even managed to take his chess board to nursery
school ('That's when things had already gone wong'). He thinks that he has
become such a good player because he has played so many games and he
always analysed with his opponent afterwards. Apart from that, he has read
many chess books. He thinks Max Euwe's 6-part series is very good, and the
same goes for the ' Master versus Amateur' triptych. Van Wely has also learned a
lot during KNSB trainings with Cor van Wijgerden, and from individual trainings
with Herman Grooten.
Last year, David Bronstein called Kasparov and Anand 'gangsters' because
Simul by Loek van Wely at he start of the SBSA Youth Academy.
in their PCA world championship match they pocketed 1.5 million dollars
without doing anything creative on the chess board. Van Wely thinks that this
assessment of the match is correct. However, he also thinks that Bronstein's
version of the story is a little too black-and-white. 'Kasparov does create new
ideas, even if he has prepared them at home.' Van Wely thinks that Bronstein
has become somewhat embittered because young players have little respect
for the old guard. 'Glory fades quickly. Jan Timman also complains about this,
he is sometimes seen as an old man past his prime.' Van Wely himself knows
perfectly well what the qualities of both grandmasters are, even if their Elo
rating is not so high any more. By the way, in his opinion a good book to study
is Timman's 'The Art of Analysis'. Bronstein's Zurich '53 (the best tournament
book of all time according to the connoisseurs) is probably also excellent, but
Van Wely does not know that book. He has played Bronstein once. ' He came up
with a quite original idea and he could probably have drawn. But he wanted to
play a beautiful game and then he got what was coming to him. You have to be
realistic. If you want too much, you can lose.' Van Wely does not believe that
the current generation of elite players only plays for money. 'Sportive honour is
also definitely at stake', he argues.
Van Wely does not say very much about his stay in Elista with father and son
Kamsky. It struck him that Gata is a very nice lad who works very hard. Van
Wely also had to work very hard as his second. He wouldn't want to spend the
rest of his life that way. Moreover, Loek wonders whether it is useful to study
more than eight hours a day. At a certain point you are no longer able to absorb
information, so then it is better to take up other things, like sports. ' Kamsky
senior arranges things with an iron hand, which is not always a very pleasant
experience', he has found out after two months of cooperation.
On the basis of a few blitz games Van Wely draws the conclusion that things
do not look so bad for the top youth players of De Schaakmaat. 'There is
still hope', he ventures. Just like with many Dutch youth players, the opening
knowledge of some of the 'Schaakmates' is 'heavily overdeveloped'. 'It is better
for them to acquire a better understanding of the middle- and endgame by
studying books. It irritates me now and then. They know all kinds of opening
lines - as if they are reciting a lesson. And then, as soon as some real chess
has to be played, they do not understand anything of the opening. Take the
Sveshnikov. With my rating, I hardly understand it. It's better for them to play
Dragons or King's Indians. They can learn from those. I didn't study openings
seriously until I had a 2400 rating.'
Van Wely thinks that his own strongest point is also his weakest: 'My
optimism. Also, I can put up a great fight. Sometimes that's unwise, sometimes
I want too much when I should be happy with a draw. That would allow me
to divide my energy better during a tournament.' Van Wely doesn't smoke or
drink, and he does a lot of ftness sports. 'I notice that this often gives me more
energy during the last two games of a tournament than I had before. Moreover,
I think I will last longer this way. If you look at Anand and Gelfand, you'll see
that they are becoming fatter and fatter.' In an interview with 'New in Chess',
Van Wely once said that psychology was nonsense and does not play any role
whatsoever in chess. Dharma Tjiam claimed that Van Wely said this to 'avoid all
the fuss'. Van Wely has to laugh when he hears this. ' Did Dharma say that? Yes,
that's about right.' On top level, psychology does play a role, as he knows from
experience. 'You have to be able to handle the tension if there is a lot at stake.
You have to be able to cope with defeats, and your irritation threshold is also
put to the test. Some players try to bamboozle you in all kinds of ways. Don't
think it's all wine and roses at the top. Instead of popping off for a pint together,
they play with the gloves off. That said, there is a good deal of camaraderie
between the Dutch top players.' For Van Wely the most important psychological
rule of thumb is: keep believing in yourself and keep on fghting, then you will
go a long way.
International chess master and psychologist Joris Brenninkmeijer thinks it is
a good thing for top chess players to deepen their knowledge of psychological
factors. His lament that where psychology is concerned, it's easier to talk to a
piece of wood than to Van Wely, is duly confirmed by the latter. However, Van
Wely's grin leads us to suspect that he does indeed recognize the importance of
psychological issues, though he does not necessarily want to chat about them
with Brenninkmeijer. Suddenly Van Wely starts to laugh. Psychology - yes,
actually he does apply it now and then. In the Germany Bundesliga he once
blundered a piece after nine moves of theory in a quiet opening. His opponent
sank into thought for half an hour. Van Wely whispered to one of his opponent's
team mates that he had blundered a piece. As expected, the player duly passed
on this information to Van Wely's opponent, who fell into even deeper despair.
In the end, he did not dare to take the piece and lost the game.
At the moment, Van Wely occupies 56th place on the FIDE rating list. He does
not know when he will reach his ceiling. But he does think that a 2680 rating,
and with it a place in the top-ten, should be within the range of possibilities.
'Adams is also in the top-ten, and he's quite a heavy boozer. He isn't exactly
a model of hard work. I think that strong nerves, the right attitude and talent
can get you a long way.' As is well known, many Russian grandmasters have
had the opportunity to work with a master three or four times a week during
their youth. Van Wely and other Dutch top players had to make do with a few
individual trainings and a few group trainings per year. 'But I compensated for
that by working through many chess books by myself. If you want to reach
the top, it's largely up to yourself.' But working hard is not enough, Van Wely
thinks. It also depends on what you do. 'Today, young players are mainly busy
keeping their databases up-to-date. The importance of this is relative. It does
not automatically improve your understanding. It's better to play a few lesser
moves and understand what is going on in a position.' Understanding is largely
based on the recognition of themes in a position, Van Wely supposes. You
grow familiar with these themes by playing and analysing many games, and
also by playing through many commented chess games. He also stresses the
importance of regular tactical exercises. 'Your level will drop very quickly if you
don't do that. If you do practice regularly, you will recognize tricks more easily
and you will be able to weave them into your own positions as well.'
In general the level of chess journalism in The Netherlands is reasonably
good, Van Wely thinks. Especially Gert Ligterink (de Volkskrant) and Hans
Ree (NRC) are very good in his opinion. At New in Chess they are too tame
sometimes. 'I had reluctantly agreed to write comments to one of my games
with Timman. I wrote, among others: 'it's my turn to kick Timman's ass', but
they left that out.
I don't much care for that kind of censorship. Ten Geuzendam wants to remain
friends with everybody. That is why (the Dutch magazine) Vrij Nederland had
such a namby-pamby interview with Piket, Timman and me.'
The Netherlands is a good country for chess, with many good tournaments and
many books. However, the Dutch training culture is heavily underdeveloped, Van
Wely thinks. He does not exclude the possibility that he might have gotten much
further with better training and coaching facilities. 'What's more, the 'country',
i.e., everything outside the two bulwarks of chess, Leiden and Amsterdam, is
being discriminated against. The KNSB is now drawing up contracts with a few
strong youth players. This means that a lot of money will go to a few players
from Leiden and Amsterdam. I think this is a bad thing, since a number of other
good youth players don't get any chances this way.' Van Wely is partly drawing
from his own experience. Twice he wasn't able to take part in a world junior
championship because he had to pay for expenses himself. 'The next time,
when they noticed that I had a good chance to win the world title, suddenly
there was money. But then I stood frm and didn't go.'
There's one misunderstanding Van Wely wants to clear up. The story went
that he hadn't called the federation to announce that he would not play in the
Dutch championship until he was leaving for Kalmykia. 'That's not true. I told
them a week-and-a-half earlier. But then they threatened me with lawsuits
and exclusion from other tournaments. That's why at first I agreed to play.
But when I spoke to a lawyer friend of mine, and some things turned out to
be different. Then I called it off on account of having been unduly pressed.' By
the way, Van Wely has been restored to favour again by the KNSB. For that
he had to lay 2, 100 euro on the table. '900 euro because a new flyer for the
Dutch championship had to be made, and a fne of 1, 200 euro. This money
will be put in a youth fund, which means that I will be paying for trainings of
youth players from Leiden and Amsterdam.' If only for this reason, he enjoys
going to Apeldoorn to draw the attention of a bunch of youth players to their
defciencies, we should understand. He explicitly refuses to accept even travel
Looking back on his own development, Van Wely points to the fact that it is
highly important to visit tournaments with a group of youth players. You will
enjoy yourself, and that is important if you want to learn to play well. Moreover,
you will do a lot of analysing in an enjoyable way, learning a lot while you
play. Van Wely himself has made many trips to foreign countries with, among
others, Joris Brenninkmeijer and Dharma Tjiam. On those occasions, the young
gentlemen didn't mind teasing each other where possible in a playful way. Any
small defeat was a good occasion to rub salt into the wound. Just to keep the
spirit high, of course.
Karel van Delft, June 1996
03 Artur Yusupov
Yusupov and the road to your own top
'Every human being has talents, thi s is my conviction. The only question
is: which talents, and how should you develop them? It i s healthy to have
ambi ti ons, but you have to ask yourself what price you are prepared to pay for
them', says chess grandmaster Artur Yusupov (41), the former world number
3 in hi s sport. Yusupov travels up and down to Apeldoorn a few ti mes a year,
where he occupi es f irst board for Schaakstad Apeldoorn, a team that plays in
the Dutch Premier League. On Fri day, 24 March 2001, he managed to combine
this with an appearance in the sports cafe organized by local chess sponsor ROC
Simultaneous exhibition by Artur Yusupov. ( photo Cocky van Delft)
Aventus during the ' Plenty Jobs' jobs market in the 'Ameri cahal' in Apeldoorn.
Artur Yusupov was born in Moscow, as the second of four boys. Both hi s parents
were mathemati cians. At home they played chess on amateur level, as was
done in many Russian fami li es. When Artur was six, hi s father taught hi m to
play chess, and soon he began to devour chess books. He was utterly fasci nated
by the game.
'My parents didn't mind thi s at all, and I was lucky to grow up in a country
where the state strongly stimulated chess. There were many good trainers
available, and you could play a competi tion game every week. When I was ffteen,
the famous trainer Mark Dvoretsky, who has remained a fri end, started to train
with me, and on my seventeenth I became Junior World Champi on. In 1986
I occupi ed third place on the world l i st, behind Kasparov and Karpov. Nobody
A game analysis with Artur Yusupov during an SBSA youth training. ( photo Cocky van Delft)
ever forced me to do anything, 1 very much wanted to reach the top myself.
And 1 have never regretted it. 1 have been able to visit dozens of countries, and
have a lot of life experience.' After finishing secondary school, Yusupov started
a university study in economics. 'The level of education in Russia was defnitely
not worse than in Western Europe, but the Soviet system had deteriorated into
an absurd, paranoid social order.' After two years, Yusupov dropped out. 'I could
no longer combine my study with top-class sport.'
To achieve results, whether in top-class chess or in graduating at school, you
have to believe in your goal, Yusupov claims. 'You have to be focused, you have
to be totally committed to your goa!.' Which mean that you have to develop
self-discipline and reserve sufficient time to achieve your aim. ' Looking back,
1 think 1 could have made more out of my career. Probably I've been enjoying
life too much. And perhaps 1 should have started giving lessons sooner. If you
give trainings yourself, you begin to think more deeply about things than if
you only study them for your own use.' To have ambitions is healthy, Yusupov
claims. 'But you have to ask yourself what you want and what you are prepared
to give up to get it. You can study night after night, but if this is at the expense
of your family life, you have to either make good arrangements or adjust your
goals.' Yusupov is well-known for his great sportsmanship: 'A bad character is
not a prerequisite for achieving a world top position. 1 think that you also have
to have respect for the people around you. To reach the top you must be hard
on yourself, not on others. But there is a dilemma here: you have to invest a
lot of time and energy into your ambitions if you want to get the maximum out
of your capacities. You have to find a balance between your ambitions and your
social life.'
Ten years ago, after a robbery at his flat where he got seriously injured,
Yusupov decided to leave Russia. Now he lives with his wife and two children
in Germany, where he has founded a chess academy. 'I play for clubs in four
countries, 1 write books together with Mark Dvoretsky, 1 have created the
commercial website together with a few people, now and
then 1 organize a tournament and 1 give trainings.' These days, Artur Yusupov
occupies 50th place on the world ranking list, which means that he is still
getting along fine in his sport. However, he spends a lot of energy on trainings.
'I very much enjoy training with amateurs. The level is not so important - if
people are motivated I'm enjoying it as well. And 1 think it is a fascinating job to
coach young talents.' When Yusupov gives trainings to young talents, he offers
them more than pure technique and understanding. He creates an easy-going
atmosphere where all the participants immediately fee! comfortable. He asks
questions and stimulates people to think and to consult each other. Top-class
sport has everything to do with self-management, and with his attitude, his
questions and his remarks, Yusupov contributes to the education of his pupils.
He feeds their faScination, teaches them to relativize, and passes on a love for
'A good coach is important. You can do a lot on your own, as Bobby Fischer
has shown us, but a good coach can help you to study much more efficiently,
and he can help you develop your social skills. Good education is not just
delegation of knowledge, you also educate your pupils as human beings. With
a good talk and some critical questions, for instance, a coach can help you
become more decisive. He can help you develop a vision, and improve your
self-management. But a coach cannot do everything. The most important thing
for students is to have a strong character. They must be longing to achieve
something themselves and they must spend energy and time on this. Every
human being has talents, and the thing is to determine your own goal, your
own ceiling, on a realistic level, and to determine how you can reach it.'
Karel van Delft, Spring 2001
04 Jan Timman
Grandmaster Jan Timman signed his book ' De macht van het loperpaar' (this
book was later combined with ' De kracht van het paard' into the English
language book ' Power Chess with Pieces') in March 2004 in bookshop Nawijn &
Polak in Apeldoorn. Roughly forty chess players purchased one or several of his
books. Afterwards, Jan Timman spoke with SBSA secretary Karel van Delft in
the local La Paz restaurant.
Timman is still full of ambition
The 'best of the west', Jan Timman (52) was called in 1982, when he was second
on the world's rating list behind World Champion Anatoly Karpov. In 2004 he
can still compete with the greatest players in the world. That is what he says
himself, and he demonstrated it in the latest Corus Tournament, where he drew
with Vladimir Kramnik. However, despite splendid play, he squandered winning
positions against Van Wely and Leko, and Timman ended up at the bottom of
the list. 'I was very nervous and I had too little energy', says Timman candidly.
'I've had his before, but never so often during one and the same tournament.
This was extreme. I don't know how this could happen. I will have to work
on it.' With an Elo rating of 2578, way below his standard, Timman is ranked
seventh on the Dutch rating list. It would, however, be a mistake to think that
in his ffties, Timman is ready to be written off. 'I've had temporary setbacks
before. I can still compete with the strongest players, and I expect to perform
better again in the near future.' That might happen in Almelo, where, during the
Easter weekend, Timman will play a short match of four games with the Dutch
champion, grandmaster Loek van Wely. Timman will also probably be taking
part in another summer tournament, in Amsterdam.
Jan Timman has been a professional chess player ever since he lef school. 'I
do this mainly because I'm good at it, I think. The game still remains interesting,
but if you have been playing for so long, you cannot always perform on top
level.' His life as a professional player has brought Timman many interesting
encounters with lots of people, and he has been to a great many countries. 'I
haven't counted how many, but I have never been in Australia or China yet, for
example.' He says this one day before his umpteenth visit to Iceland, where he
will take part in the Reykjavik Open.
Timman has written many chess articles, among others in New In Chess, the
best chess magazine in the world, of which he is editor-in-chief. He is also the
author of roughly a dozen chess books, and of an autobiographical collection of
articles called ' Een sprong in de Noordzee' (i.e. 'A jump in the North Sea'). He
considers 'Het sma lie pad' (i.e. 'The narrow path') to be his best book. In it, he
discusses games and describes how he fared in various matches for the world
championship in the period 1972- 1986. Of this Dutch-language chess book,
approximately 7000 copies have been sold - less than your average regional
novel. You cannot make a living out of writing chess books, says Timman.
However, he is utterly captivated by the analysis of games, in search of the
ultimate chess truth - and writing chess books challenges him to reflect on
the game. Besides ' De macht van het loperpaar', Timman recently wrote the
book 'Briljant Schaken 2003' ('Brilliant Chess 2003') together with international
J an Timman signs books in books hop Nawijn & Polak.
Merij n van Delft gives a simul during Timman's book presentation.
master Hans Bbhm. In this book, the two authors discuss ten beautiful games
and ten brilliant endgame studies. If this formula catches on, the book will
get a follow-up in an annual series.At the moment, the grandmaster is also
working on a book on the famous Candidates-tournament Cura<ao 1962. As a
writer of chess books, Timman is doing many chess fans an immense favour,
following in the footsteps of World Champion Max Euwe. ' Euwe was more of a
didactician, his books were more aimed at instruction than mine', Timman says.
'The difference is that I write more about clearly defned themes. But I try to
make them accessible to a wide audience.'
In a recent radio talk with Hans Bbhm and the greatest Dutch talent
Daniel Stellwagen, Timman claimed that he didn't know for sure whether he
would want to be a professional player if he were a young talent today. 'The
problem is that these days, a lot of preparation is done with the computer', he
explains. 'You must first acquire an enormous amount of knowledge in order to
keep up the pace nowadays. That makes it less attractive. 'The last time Jan
Timman participated in a Dutch championship was in 1998. Of the fourteen
championships in which he took part, he won nine. 'I would like to participate
again', he says. 'But the problem is that the KNSB refuses to give conditions.' As
a professional player, Timman has his principles, and as long as the Dutch chess
federation does not meet his wishes, the chess fans will have to do without him
during the Dutch championship. And then there is also the issue of the anti
doping test. Like grandmaster Artur Yusupov, Timman thinks that such tests
are irrelevant and to his mind, peeing in a cup and handing it over borders on
the embarrassing. 'Still, this is a problem that can be overcome, and this law
will probably be abolished one day. 'The greatest obstacle for his return to the
Dutch championship is KNSB board member Sytze Faber, Timman says. 'There
is no talking to that man.'
The Dutch writer C. Buddingh' once wrote in his Dagboeknotities (i.e. 'Diary
Notes') 1977- 1985 that Timman would never become World Champion. 'He is
way too friendly, too sophisticated, too amiable, too creative even. To become
a World Champion in this day and age, you need to be an android connected to
a computer.' Confronted with this quote, Timman smiles. ' I don't know if that's
true. I can be friendly and also professional. But one thing is true: Karpov,
Kortchnoi and Kasparov have a certain fanaticism, they can focus on one thing.
I don't have this characteristic by nature, I would really have to arouse such
an attitude within myself.' The grandmaster, who lives in Amsterdam, is highly
interested in endgame studies, and he also composes them himself. He can
talk enthusiastically about this subject. 'It is the way of thinking that appeals
to me, also because of its kinship with practical chess. Endgame studies have
paradoxical, counter-intuitive and esthetic aspects. In the near future I want to
think up something for the celebration of Pal Benko's 75th anniversary. Chess
problems appeal less to me, they are often not practical.'
Timman has never played a match in Apeldoorn. He did stay in Hotel De
Keizerskroon in 1993, during his world championship match with Karpov in
Zwolle. In 1976, 1977 and 1978, he stayed in Apeldoorn three times with,
among others, Donner, during a training camp of the Dutch national selection.
Even then he did not believe that physical training as a means of preparation
for competition would pay off. Fitnessing in a gym, as Loek van Wely does, is
not his cup of tea. 'I swim and I play tennis for fun. Anyway, did Van Wely get
very far with it?', he laughs. On the argument that without fitness, which is
also something that Kasparov swears by, Van Wely might have come less far,
Timman replies benevolently: 'That's true.'
For youth players with ambition, Timman has no tailor-made recipe. 'It is
hard to give a general answer to this question', he says. Of course, tactics
should be practiced regularly, and it is important to play through annotated
games. 'Especially Keres's game collections are instructive. 'Studying opening
books has even less sense - this is more suitable for advanced players. 'Of
course you have to study the basics, you also have to do that if you want to
learn to play the fute. But you have to watch out that you don't start playing
cliche moves.'
As a youth trainer there is no great future awaiting Timman, at least not in
the near future. Now and then he trains with two members of the Dutch national
youth selection at a time, among whom Smeets and Stel lwagen. 'We analyse
games for four hours. The last time was in December, and arrangements have
been made for another training in April. Of course, this is not nearly enough. The
federation has all kinds of training plans for Stellwagen, and I have expressed
my willingness to cooperate. This can be useful - Kasparov has also trained
with Geller, for instance. I hope it is not too late, as Stellwagen is already 17
years old. But I don't know if something will come of it. I don't want to have any
more contact with the member of the board who is in charge of top-class chess
- Sytze Faber. That man does not know anything about chess. He calls me late
at night in Wijk aan Zee when I have to play Shirov with black the next day. I
think that he has to leave, but he will only leave if he is forced to. He enjoys
Karel van Delft, March 2004
Rob Hartoch gives a training during YMM.
05 Rob Hartoch
'This formula is great, they should adopt it everywhere. '
Rob Hartoch looks back with great pleasure at the latest edition of Youth Meets
Masters, where he was in charge of the youngest age group for the third time.
Hartoch tells his story two weeks later in the canteen of De Moriaan, during
the Corus tournament, where he takes part in one of the two highest reserve
groups. Most of the seven children in his training group in the Mind Sports
Centre in Apeldoorn were around eight years old. These four girls and three
boys had one or two diplomas from the Step-by-Step Method. To discuss an
entire game takes up too much time, Hartoch thinks. 'You have to keep it
playful.' The training lasted fve hours, minus two half-hour breaks. That is
perfectly feasible as long as your approach is interactive and varied, as Hartoch
has found out. 'This formula is great, they should adopt it everywhere.'
The training in Hartoch's group started with a presentation of five problems
to the children. In one position a piece had to be won, in another a positional
advantage had to be achieved. The children were allowed to take independently
quite a few decisions during the training. For example, they could choose
whether they wanted to solve a problem on their own or in twos. 'Whatever
they like best. I give them this freedom.' Hartoch first explains the intention of
a theme, and then he lets the children toy with the problem. 'I walk around and
answer questions. It's fine this way, it allows me to step outside and smoke a
cigarette now and then.'
The atmosphere in the group was quite jolly during the entire day. It was a
good thing, Hartoch thought, that his group was placed close to the exit. This
way the children could go to the canteen section without having to walk past
other groups. 'The other groups may have been bothered by my rather loud
voice', Hartoch supposes apologetically. But this turned out not to be a problem.
In the hall there were 59 children, 10 trainers and some more staff members of
the organization, as well as a few parents who occasionally took an interested
look at the proceedings in the various groups. The oldest, strongest groups
trained in the back of the hall, and as you got closer to the exit, the average
age and rating lowered.
Parents and children gave Hartoch many compliments, he says, visibly
pleased. Not a word of this is untrue, as observations of the group and
reports sent in by the children afterwards showed that the children considered
themselves enormously lucky to have been in Hartoch's group. 'They thought
I was a friendly gentleman and a good chess player as well', Hartoch relates
with a smile. Another training item was a blitz tournament. Six children played
a single-round competition with each other, while Hartoch took on Emma, the
smallest of the group - and tasted defeat. She beamingly accepted a booklet
with a handwritten foreword by Hartoch after the training.
In 1965, Hartoch came second at the junior world championship in Barcelona,
and he played for the Dutch team at two Olympiads. He has played against
the giants, and beaten, among others, Paul Keres. There is a whole world of
difference between that level and that of the children. For the international
master from Amsterdam this is by no means an obstacle for enthusiastically
playing chess with the chil dren for an entire morning or afternoon: 'They have
so much fun, it makes me enthusiastic as welL' It reminds Hartoch of the time
he learned to play chess himself. 'I was six. My father was the best teacher I
could have wished for. He wasn't a strong player, but he had fun and explained
the game to me with much pleasure.' Soon he became too strong for his father.
'Then I went on the streets, looking for opponents, and later on I searched the
entire neighbourhood. At secondary school, in the afternoons, I would set off
running to the Leidseplein, because that's where the strongest players in the
city were to be found.' He is grinning. 'But when I tell this to children, I also tell
them that they should make their homework first.' Hartoch has also told this
story to the children in his YMM group. 'We started by introduCing ourselves and
telling each other how we learned to play chess. I also told them who I am and
what I have done in chess.'
Hartoch abolished the notation of the moves during simuls this year. 'Last
year one of the kids started to cry - he could play chess but he couldn't yet
write.' Nor has he given any tips to the children about how they should train:
'They are still too young to overlook such things.' In between events, he did
regularly present quiz questions to the children, with which they could earn
bonus pOints. Questions like: Who is the Dutch champion?, or: Which is the
strongest chess club in Apeldoorn? With older children he discusses the simul
games afterwards. You shouldn't do that with young kids, Hartoch knows: 'They
immediately forget the games, and then they are no longer interested.' You
have to strike the iron while it's hot, which is why Hartoch analyses during the
games. 'Important moves I discuss with them right away. They are also allowed
to take back their moves. This way they can learn something, and it remains
fun. If you want to stimul ate chess, children should have fun. You should make
a social thing of it.'
'If children offered me a draw, I could not refuse', Hartoch says. 'But when
I offered one, there were even some who refused. Then I had to win. Except
against Emma, she was too strong for me. So she got the most pOints. Because
she was so good, she participated hors concours, as I agreed with the other
That's why, as the youngest, she got a special prize.' Children fnd these YMM
days very inspiring. As young as they are, they can be quite fanatical. Marike
had gathered five zeros in blitz, but she kept her drive. 'Touch-move', she
would tell her opponents. 'Well, she lost all games, but judging by the level of
the games the result could have been the opposite in every game. The winning
chances were swinging at every move.' Apparently, Marike wasn't traumatized
by her series of zeros. Hartoch and her father, Gerrit, are friends. 'He called me
on the next day, a Saturday, to tell me that she had won a big trophy at a youth
Four hours nett of chess training is no problem whatsoever for young
children if the YMM formula is followed, as Hartoch has found out several times
already. 'You should allow them to be active - give them free rein. But you must
also indicate clearly what they should do, and be at hand in case they have
questions or they cannot make headway with a certain problem.' The children
could gain pOints on the various items. One year earlier they even got three
points for picking up pieces from the ground. 'They were all fanatically trying
to gain pOints. The element of competition is important for them. That makes
it more exciting. Of course I also give away pOints, but I will always be fair and
take care that the strongest player gets the most pOints in the end.' Hartoch
repeats that he values the YMM formula highly, as it gives every trainer the
freedom to introduce his own methods and subjects. 'We should keep it this
way. Everybody enjoys it. It is also unique that virtually the entire first team of
Schaakstad Apeldoorn gives trainings. I will be back next year.'
Karel van Delft, January 2005

El Analysis Questi onnai re
By analysing your own games, you will learn from your experiences. This will
provide you with insights which you will be able to use in the future. An analysis
questionnaire can help you analyse your games thoroughly.
When you analyse a game, you have to think of a lot of things. The most
important pOints are mentioned in this list. Not all questions apply every time.
Analysing games takes time. But it has the advantage that you discover what
your strong and weak pOints are. Keep in mind that it is better to analyse one
game thoroughl y than ten games superfcially. First fll in the questionnaire by
yourself, and then discuss it with a strong player. It is also useful to analyse a
game with your opponent afterwards. Your opponent may be able to explain
certain things to you. It may also be instructive because he/she may have
thought about the game in an entirely different way than you. This also applies
to games you have won! On the basis of your experiences you can make
additions to the lists. You can also make a list of points of attention that you
want to keep in mind in the future.
Technical questions
1. Which opening was played? Do you play it more often? Why? Do you
know the ideas behind the opening? Do you know the tricks? Is it a quiet
opening or an aggressive one?
2. Until which move did you know the opening (suggestion: look what you
can find in opening books)?
3. Were there any remarkable situations in the opening (e.g. transposition
of moves, unnecessary loss of tempo)?
4. Which moves took you a lot of time? Why?
5. Which of your opponent's moves surprised you? What did you expect
and how did you plan to react?
6. Which of your and your opponent's moves do you find very good? Why?
(you can describe this in variations and/or in words. Did you mainly pl ay
actively (with initiative) or passively (waiting)? Why?
7. Which of your own and your opponent's moves do you fnd very bad?
8. Look at Steinitz's list. Were there any moments in the game when you or
your opponent obtained one of these advantages? Which mistakes were
the cause of this? What were the consequences for the game?
9. Which of your moves marked the start of the execution of a plan? Can
you describe the contents of this plan in words? Do you think now that
this plan was good or bad? Have you changed plans at a certain pOint?
10. Do you know which plan your opponent followed? Do you think you
have given this enough attention during the game? How do you assess
this plan?
11. Were there any moments in the game when you had no idea which
plan to follow? Why did you play the move you eventually played?
(suggestion: it is better to have a small or a mediocre plan than no
plan at all)
1 2. Were you familiar with the type of position? If so, describe how you
have come to know it. If not, was it diffcult to find a plan? Why?
13. Were you able to sacrifice anything? Why did or didn't you do that?
14. Did you at any moment have a choice between a tactical and a
positional struggle? What did you base your choice on? Did you take
the strength of your opponent into account?
15. Which tactical means have you used?
16. Were there any possibilities to simplify into a certain kind of endgame?
Why did or didn't you do that?
17. Di d you at any moment think of alternative moves? What were these
alternatives and to which type of position would they have led?
18. What was the decisive mistake of the game? Why?
19. Which suggestions did your opponent make after the game?
20. Which subjects are you going to study (again) as a result of this game?
21. Which technical rules of thumb can you derive for yourself from this
22. What did you find the most instructive about this game?
Tactical means/combi nation motifs
These means and motifs are aimed at acquiring the advantages mentioned in
Steinitz's list.
1. advantageous exchange
2. twofold attack
3. pin
4. removal of the defender (taking/chasing away)
5. double attack
6. discovered attack/check
7. X-ray attack/check
8. interruption
9. decoy/deflection
10. blocking
11. magnet combination
12. attack on the king
13. occupying the 7th rank
14. hunting and aiming
15. line or square clearance
16. tempo gain
17. tying and/or overburdening pieces
18. zugzwang
19. quiet move
Elements of Steinitz
Permanent advantages:
1. material advantage
2. bad king position
3. passed pawn
4. weak pawns
5. weak squares
6. weak colour complex
7. pawn islands
8. strong pawn centre
9. bishop pair in open position
10. control of a fle
11. control of a diagonal
12. control of a rank
Temporary advantages:
1. bad piece position
2. inharmoniously placed pieces
3. advantage in development
4. concentration of pieces in the centre
5. space advantage
Psychol ogi cal questi ons
1. What expectations did you have at the start of the game? Why? Were
they fulfilled?
2. How did you feel? Why?
3. What did you know about your opponent? Have you taken that into
account? How?
4. Did you have any psychological problems during the game
(nervousness, doubts, recklessness, eagerness, fear of failure, failing
willpower, etc.)?
5. Do you suffer from ' vices' during a game (e.g. touching a piece too
6. How was your self-control? Were you self-confident?
7. How was your ability to concentrate?
8. How was your time management (and your opponent's)?
9. Were you disturbed by things that happened around you?
10. Did your opponent use any psychological tricks? How did you react?
11. Were you tired (before, after)? If so, why?
12. Were you too focused on your own plan or did you also take your
opponent's plan into account?
13. Was it easy for you to make decisions?
14. Have you relieved effort with relaxation?
15. Were you afraid of your opponent? If so, why?
16. How creative were you in this game?
17. Did you show your opponent how you felt (e.g. did you show
18. How was your mood? Did that infuence your play?
19. Did you panic during the game? And your opponent? If so, at what
moment? What could be the reason for this?
20. Did you do any 'wishful thinking' during the game ('I play this, hoping
that my opponent will play that')?
21. Were you occupied by the game or were you thinking about the result,
the public, your opponent, or doubts?
22. Were you in the mood to play well? Why/why not?
23. What did you do when things got difficult?
24. Did you concentrate on a good result (1-0) or on playing a good game?
25. Did you commit blunders? If so, what was the cause?
26. Did you play the game in your own tempo or were you influenced by
your opponent's tempo (slow, fast)? Was that wise in this game?
27. Did you fight until all the possibilities had been tried?
28. Did you divide your time well? Did you take enough time to think
deeply at the crucial moments of the game?
29. Did you stop looking at certain continuations because you 'felt' that
they were impossible?
30. Did you in any way allow yourself to be influenced by your opponent's
31. Can you say goodbye to a finished game?
32. Were you annoyed by your opponent? Why?
33. At certain moments, did you look what you would do if you were your
34. What will you do differently next time?
E2 Score form Youth Meets Masters
Youth Meets Masters, Fri day, January 7, 2005
Mind Sports Centre Apeldoorn,
Dubbelbeek 24, Apeldoorn
11.00 - 17.00h
Organization: SBSA (www.
Coordination: Karel van Delft (k. vandelft@planet. nl, 06-22226928)
Sponsor: Van der Mey Jewellers
Time schedule and contents of workshop can be arranged differently, according
to own judgement
11.15 - 12.15
12.15 - 13. 15
13. 15 - 13.45
13.45 - 14.45
14.45 - 16.00
16. 00 - 16. 30
entry, payment (10 euro, SBSA youth participants have
already paid), forming of groups
everyone introduces themselves, discussion of own game by
trainer + explanation about opening
blitz tournament, trainer joins if amount of participants is
talk about the best way to train, have participants tell their
own story, trainer as well (here the list of points of attention
from the coaching talk can be used)
simultaneous exhibition (write down the games)
discuss games
extension, various (for example: endgame)
Name workshop giver:
Name participant:
For each item you can earn pOints, with a maximum of 90 points. The participant
with the highest amount of pOints in a group wins a chess book.
Duri ng the game di scussi on you wi l l be asked fve questi ons, you can
gai n a maxi mum of si x poi nts for each.
Question 1 .. . . pOints
Question 2 .. .. pOints
Question 3 .. .. pOints
Question 4 .... points
Question 5 . . . . points Total game discussion: . ... points
Bl itz tournament:
Loss 0 paints, draw 3 paints, win 6 points.
The workshop giver joins the tournament in case of an uneven number of
Pairing based on numbers. Workshop giver gets no. 6.
1st round 1-6 2-5 3-4 .... paints
2nd round 6-4 5-3 1-2 .... paints
3rd round 2-6 3-1 4-5 . .. . paints
4th round 6-5 1-4 2-3 .... paints
5 th round 3-6 4-2 5-1 .... paints Total blitz ....... points
Si mul taneous exhi bi tion:
If with clock: Simul player and participants get half an hour each.
Writing down game is obligatory.
Loss 0 paints, draw 10 paints, win 20 paints.
Number of points: ....
Mark for level of the game (maximum: 10): ....
Total for clock simul: .... . paints
Total number of paints for these three items: ....... . paints
E3 Points of attention for consul tati on about (self-)trai ni ng
1. How much time do you spend on chess every day/week? What do you
2. Do you have trainers?
3. Do you have a training partner?
4. Do you keep a chess diary, or do you make notes of the things you do?
5. Do you work with a week schedule, or do you plan the things you have
to do in another way?
6. Do you store your chess information, for instance, in a binder?
7. Do you write down your games during (rapid) tournaments and
8. Do you save your own games in a computer?
9. Do you analyse your games on the board and with Fritz?
10. Do you analyse your games with your opponent afterwards?
11. Do you ever play through annotated games?
12. What chess books do you have?
13. Do you read chess magazines?
14. Do you play chess via the Internet?
15. Do you ever play theme tournaments with a certain opening?
16. Do you visit tournaments regularly?
17. Do you make tactical exercises daily? Which ones? Do you know the
collection of 3500 tactical exercises?
18. Which openings do you play? How do you practise them?
19. Do you give trainings yourself? Where, which, to whom, and how?
20. Do you play correspondence chess?
21. Do you know what 'CIEPC' means? When can you apply it?
22. During a game, do you ever wonder what you would do if you were in
your opponent's shoes?
23. In which school team or club team do you play?
24. Do you ever write reports on chess for a school paper or a club bulletin?
25. How is your time use during games?
26. What is the best way for you to concentrate?
27. During a game, do you apply energy management?
28. Do you know the SBSA Analysis Questionnaire? (see
E4 List of psychol ogi cal ti ps
1. If you want to learn something, which is better: to spend a lot of time
on it in one session, or during various short periods?
2. In what way will you learn to understand something better: by working
on it in the same way all the time, or by working on it in different ways?
3. What is the advantage of playing together against a computer?
4. Why is alternation of procedures important during a training?
5. If you have studied something, you have to ask yourself: 'what have I
l earned here?' Why is that?
6. Why should you analyse games together with others?
7. What is the result of feeling insecure?
8. How should you react if you blunder during a game?
9. What use are mistakes to you?
10. Lasker always tried to create as much tension as possible in a game,
working on his opponent's nerves. What do you think were the
consequences of this?
11. Tal was known for his daring combinations and sacrifces. How do you
think his opponents reacted to this?
12. How did Fischer surprise Spassky at their 1972 match for the world
13. Why is creativity important for chess players?
14. What did the blind man say?
15. In a chess diary you can keep score of new things you have learned.
Name four advantages of a diary.
16. Why is it important to make tactical exercises on an (almost) daily basis?
17. Why is it useful to collect thematic positions in a computer database?
18. Is it good to quickly learn new things right before a tournament?
19. If you find a position very diffcult, it is not clever to panic. What should
you do instead?
20. Is it good to constantly concentrate on the position throughout the
21. What is wishful thinking?
22. During a game, circumstances are different than during a training
session. Conflicting interests are at stake, there is an opponent, there
is an audience, there can be noise in the playing hall. Many players are
self-focused in such cases, which leads to doubt and tension. What is the
best thing to do?
23. What does it mean if you lack self-confdence? How many opponents
does this give you?
24. What are mnemonics and what use are they to you as a chess player?
25. Why is it important to analyse your own games?
26. Which are the factors that determine your performance ability?
27. What is the intention of psychological tricks?
28. Is it a bad thing to lose form?
29. What can you do if you are regularly in time-trouble?
30. Why is it useful to talk about your functioning with fellow team members
and a coach?
31. How useful is it to look for solutions to problems?
32. Do people always look at (chess) problems objectively?
33. Is good planning important?
34. Is it useful for a chess player to give lessons?
35. What is experimenting? Is it useful?
36. What is the best way to internalize all these insights?
1. Several short periods is better, as this will allow you to memorize the
information better.
2. By working on it in different ways.
3. When you play together, you learn from each other as you go along. For
example, about the way you analyse (divide a problem into parts and
assign meaning to those) and the way you reason (if this, then that).
4. It's more fun and your attention won't fade so quickly. If something is
fun, it will be easier for you to learn.
5. In this way you force yourself to check if you really understand it. You
can write the most important things in a chess diary as rules of thumb ( =
general rules). By writing it down, you acquire your knowledge actively
instead of passively, and it will remain in your memory. By going through
your diary now and then, you can refresh your memory. This is useful
during championships!
6. This way you can learn from each other's insights. Moreover, others
may ask critical questions about things you wouldn't realize by yourself.
Everyone has his blind spots. Moreover, you cannot see what you do not
7. You will more easily make mistakes. A little fear of failure is understandable
before or during important games, but it is not useful. You cannot do the
impossible. It's best if you intend to make every game a beautiful one,
and, in any case, if you try to learn from each one. This mentality will
lead to the best results in the long run. It's no use only worrying about
the result.
S. Stay calm and take your chances. Always keep in mind that your opponent
can also make a mistake. Very often, players get over-confdent in better
positions. This is at the expense of their concentration and will soon
cause them to make mistakes - especially if you try to take the initiative
and complicate the play as much as possible.
9. Mostly they will not make you happy. But you can learn from them. So
do just that, and show your lost games to a stronger player. Nobody's
10. His opponents tended to make mistakes sooner.
11. They often got into time-trouble.
12. He changed his opening repertoire. You have a better chance of success
if you are unpredictable for your opponents.
13. You practise creating surprising solutions to problems for which many
others think there is no solution. Einstein said: 'Creativity is seeing what
others see and thinking what no one else has ever thought.' Creativity
can also be described as fnding connections between things that appear
to have nothing to do with each other. Creativity consists of a number of
thinking skills which can be learned.
14. ' First seeing, then believing.' Everything is not what it seems at first
sight. An apparently losing position can sometimes be won by a creative
15. A. It al lows you to reconsider what you have learned and experienced,
B. You build up a good survey of the things you know and can do, C. You
can enter rules of thumb in it, D. It's fun to read it again after a while;
you will see what you have learned.
16. Our memory has limitations. You have to keep skills like recognizing and
executing tactical combinations up to date.
17. Because if you look at these positions regularly, you will sooner recognize
similar positions and be able to make use of your knowledge of the
18. No. You have to learn all year long. It is much more efficient to repeat
certain things right before a championship, like thematic positions in a
computer database, your diary, tactical exercises, and refreshing your
opening repertoire.
19. Think of your opponent. He just might perceive the position as being
even more difficult.
20. No. You have to alternate exertion with relaxation. On balance this will
yield the best results.
21. Thinking what you would want to happen. This is not really useful. It is
better to think realistically about the possibilities offered in the position,
and to make a plan that offers you opportunities and your opponent
restrictions. Wishful thinking is a well-known pitfall. Many people mainly
look at what they want to see, and that is what they verify; i.e. they
check if it is correct. They do not try to falsify (i.e. refute) their own
22. Working in a task-oriented way: you have set yourself a goal (to play an
interesting and instructive game) and you will seriously devote yourself
to this task. You cannot do the impossible. You know what you can do
and that is what you will show. A surgeon is not going to fall into doubt
during an operation, and complain that he was out of form if the patient
dies. Working task-orientedly pre-empts cramped thinking, as you will
be using all your energy for constructive thoughts.
23. That your self-esteem is too low. This gives you two opponents: the
other player and yourself.
24. Mnemonics are thinking tricks that help you structurize your thinking.
For example: CCAP = Check, Capture, Attack, Plan. If one of your piece
is attacked: CIEPC = Capture, Interpose, Evade, Protect, Counterattack.
When assessing a position: MI KOPCP = Material balance, Immediate
threats, King position, Open fles, Pawn structure with strong and weak
squares, Centre and space, Piece Development.
25. You do not learn from books only, but mainly by internalizing your own
experiences: what are your weak pOints, which themes and techniques
should you study more closely?
26. Talent, trainings, motivation.
27. To mislead the opponent and make him insecure. It's best not to pay
attention to your opponent and to play your own game. If an opponent
becomes really annoying, you can either tell him that or call the arbiter.
Chances are that this has a boomerang effect and your opponent
becomes insecure himself.
28. No. Each growing and l earning process has stagnations and temporary
setbacks. See if you can fnd the causes for your loss of form. Perhaps
you have too many other things on your mind, or you have trained too
much or too little. If you have learned many new things, it will take a
while before all those things have found their places in your thinking
system, and this will sometimes cause your thinking system to falter.
Possible solutions: do not worry about your results, look for distractions
now and then by doing something completely different, take a rest and
start training again after a while (analyse games and take pleasure in
l earning from your mistakes).
29. Note the time used for each move. During the analysis in a training
session this allows you to check if you really divided your time well, i. e.:
if you have used the l arger part of your time on crucial moments. Often
time-trouble emanates from indecisiveness, i.e. the inability to make
decisions. As an exercise, you can resolve never to think more than
three minutes about a move, regardless of the consequences for the
result of the game. Also promise yourself that playing instructive games
is more important than winning at all costs.
30. Keep in mind that he who judges himself is subject and object at the
same time. Therefore, he will have blind spots. Don't be afraid to appear
vulnerable and to learn from other people's comments.
31. Of course you do want to have a solution to a problem. But it has to be
a good solution. The famous natural philosopher Isaac Newton already
said that it is important to ask the right questions. By frst l ooking what
the problem is, you will find the best solution. Moreover, this will allow
you to trace pitfalls that you would otherwise miss.
32. No. What moves people is not the things in themselves, but the way
people look at them. Often their state of mind (for example fear,
wishful thinking, or determination to win at al l costs) determines which
possibilities a player sees in a position.
33. Yes. Often people have many things on their minds, and too little time.
By drawing up a programme you can make a list of the things you want
to do and add how much time you have for them. This will give you
more peace of mind and enabl e you to take an effective and effcient
34. The experience of several good chess players is that they have become
stronger by giving trainings and writing articles, since this forces you to
think more systematically about things. In your games you will reap the
fruits of this.
35. To experiment is to try out ideas. That is certainly useful. By experimenting
with playing styles, as well as with your behaviour, you will gather
experience. This will give you a better insight in your strong and weak
points. As a result, you will have a number of extra possibilities at your
disposal. For instance, you may not know for certain whether it is better
to remain seated on your chair for the entire game, or to take regular
short walks. In that case it is best to try both procedures five times and
write in your diary how you liked it. After ten games, re-read your diary
and decide what you will do from then on.
36. By re-reading them regularly. Write down the numbers of tips that you
still have trouble with. Select the most important tip that you want to
keep in mind, and write down in your diary how you get on with it. You
can discuss this with your trainer or with a training partner. If you have
learned to put the tip into practice, you can try your hand at a new one.
ES Keywords tournament pl anni ng
- date
- location (rent)
- starting time, end
- organizational form (working group)
- which age categories/level groups
- amount of players
- invitation policy, maximum number of participants
- playing material (boards, pieces, clocks, demo board)
- press releases
- pairing system (Swiss)
- arbiters
- present for participants
- sponsor(s)
- competition forms (pairings/who plays who; results)
- scenario on paper, divide tasks among staff members
- organizational time schedule before the event
- set up tables in the playing hall
- notice boards for round-by-round results
- competition rules
- presentation (big board at the entrance?)
- microphones for announcements
- First Aid
- organization space
- recreational space (comic books?)
- how many rounds
- opening (by whom)
- time-control
- general supervision on order/quiet
- pins: staff member of organization
- which own contribution, how to collect
- draw up an estimation
- computers, operation, pairing program, transportation
- way of registration, contact addresses, final date
- prizes
- who gives prizes
- treasurer, budget
- rent of playing hall
- cleaning
- printing (invitations)
- round schedule (playing times), breaks
- eating/drinking
- scoresheets
E6 Scenario weekend tournament
The below scenario is based on the ROC Aventus Open Chess Championship
of Apeldoorn 2007, which was organized by SBSA. The tasks have been
anonymized, and for the sake of readability the text has been slightly abridged.
Version 7 September 2007, name of author
1. Date, location
2. Organization
3. Sponsor
4. Layout of location
5. SBSA website online
6. Layout of playing hall
7. Participants, entering participants in the program, boarding possibilities
8. Bulletin for participants
9. Registration on the first day of the tournament
10. Opening
11. Programme
12. Live commentary
13. Arbiters and computers + organization utilities
14. Playing material
15. Order, safety
16. Recruitment and pr
17. Financial matters
18. Catering
19. Cleaning
20. Announcing the tournament to OSBO (i.e. the regional federation) /
KNSB and submitting results
21. Prize-giving
22. Booksellers
23. Chess newspaper
24. Checklist of actions before, at the start of, during and after the event
25. List of telephone numbers
26. Various
1. Date, location
7, 8, 9 September 2007,
De Brinkhorst, Ritbroekstraat 2, Apeldoorn
Arrangements with location manager, confrmed by email
Dates: Friday 7 (starting 17.00h), Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September
(until 18. 00h)
Manager brings keys on Friday
Rent for a socio-cultural tariff (shifts, not all hours)
Send invoice to sponsor (contact person, telephone number)
Halls no. 14 (big playing hall), 13, 9 and 5 for post-mortem analysis and
hall no. 12 for organization
Use of entire building, no other tenants
Manager can be reached via telephone number, email address
Suffcient amount of tables and chairs in the building
Maximally 130 participants
Reserve coordinator: name, telephone data, email
Refrigerators arranged by SBSA with Schaakstad
Microphone arranged by SBSA with welfare organization 'Wisselwerk'
(contact person)
Container for litter is available
Coordinator can be reached by mail and telephone
2. Organization
Stichting Bevorderen Schaken Apeldoorn
Coordination and name of tournament director (mobile phone number)
Communication via email (save copies in Outlook), telephone, verbally
Keeping things up to date in documentation portfolio
Annually extensive documentation of the tournament on CD-ROM, especially
concerning organizational matters.
Division of tasks:
Explicitly mention names for the various tasks.
Where there are no names, the coordinator takes care of the task (or asks
someone else to do this).
Coordination: two names
Staff members for various tasks, with mention of names, tasks, times
Setting up/cleaning up
Digital board
Substitutes in case of odd number of participants
Report in Schaaknieuws
Live commentary:
SBSA website
Various staff members
Organization present: fll in times
[Name] makes tabl e numbers for A-group (with SBSA and ROC Aventus
3. Sponsor
Coordinator maintains contact with sponsor
Arrangements with sponsor:
Tournament is held on 7/8/9 september in De Brinkhorst,
Ritbroekstraat 2
Coordinator arranges use of the building with the manager
Last year's tournament has been documented on CD-ROM - give
several copies to sponsor
Further consultation about future tournaments
SBSA treasurer sends an invoice
Invoice De Brinkhorst directly via Accres
100 posters. Same procedure as last year, updated
Digital fle with new poster in jpeg to put on website and in email
newsletter. Useful to send a proof
150 presents for participants (120 small for participants, 30 bigger
for staff members)
Aventus Communications asks chairman of the board to do prize
Afterwards coordinator sends digital pictures with text for Aventus
Before the event, Aventus does internal pr via its magazine Aventijn
and its own website
Digital version of flyer with tournament data is mailed by coordinator
SBSA generates publicity for the tournament via various media (see
Coordinator can collect posters and presents at Aventus
Contact data Aventus
Chess newspaper
Date of publication.
Who signs advertisement contract Chess newspaper (full page, full
colour, price: see agreement).
Quarter page advertorial is delivered by Aventus, as well as
tournament announcement.
4. Layout of location
Play in big hall (top boards on the stage, long rows of tables).
Analysis in three small rooms.
Organization in small room.
Bar next to reception in the hall.
Inner court and walk-around for recreation.
Live commentary in the back of the hall on the left + pc connected to
digital board.
Borrow microphone via 'Wisselwerk'.
Refrigerators and spare catering via contact Schaakstad (keys of refrigerators
and storeroom).
Take First Aid kit along.
S. SBSA website onl i ne
Report on the tournament with result lists (Sevilla), reports, pictures and
SBSA webmaster coordinates.
Games of masters in A-group online after each round, if possible.
Who enters the games in Chessbase?
Webmaster uses SBSA laptop.
Work in the organization room.
Coordinator checks possibility of fixed telephone line - if not, wireless or
from home.
Also laptops for pairing (via fellow club members).
6. Layout of pl ayi ng hal l
Friday 16. 30h: layout of playing rooms
Top boards on stage
Tables in long rows with space in between
7. Parti ci pants, enter participants i n program, boardi ng possi bi l ities
Expect around 110 participants
In case of odd number of participants, four people are available as substitutes.
Substitutes receive half point for every round they do not play.
Application before the event via coordinator (email, telephone).
Titled players, substitutes, staff members, guests, SBSA youth trainers do
not pay entry fee. FM half price.
Enter participants in Sevilla program:
Players in two groups, in alphabetical order, and according to national rating
on list / floppy (plus copy) for registration and pairing with Sevilla.
Publish names of participants beforehand in SBSA newsletters, with national
and, where possible, FIDE ratings.
Webmaster publishes them on the website and enters them in Sevilla already
(with backups).
Make backup of resul ts after each round.
Note birth date and address of participants who don't have a KNSB number.
KNSB wants these data and refuses to acknowledge the tournament results
without them.
Boarding possibilities:
No hotels (to save expenses). Name for coordination. Three addresses.
8. Bul leti n for participants
See appendices - updated by coordinator
In English and Dutch
9. Entry on frst day of the tourament
Registration: A- name, B- name.
collect the money (not: titled players, staff members, SBSA trainers,
su bstitutes)
hand out bulletin for participants, Dutch and English
check byes
entry until 19.15h, new pairing after 19. 30h
Coordinator keeps money during tournament and settles with treasurer.
Hand out presents on Sunday during afternoon round.
Titled players, substitutes, staff members, SBSA trainers free
Adults 30,00
Youth under 20 20,00
During registration, write either amount paid or 'present' (without
payment) behind name
hand out bulletin for participants, Dutch and English
check byes and note changes on list where necessary
Adults 25,00
Youth under 20 20,00
Substitutes, staff members free
After registration, write amount paid behind name
hand out bulletin for participants
check byes and note changes on list where necessary
10. Openi ng
By coordinator with microphone. Summary in English. Introduce yourself.
Announcements during opening:
Welcome. Introduce arbiter. Mobile phones off, otherwise a loss. Refer to bulletin
for participants, check byes. Thank sponsor, keep premises clean. Attention
for Chess newspaper, SBSA email newsletters. Beware of noise nuisance for
neighbours. Smoking outside on inner court.
Results via scoresheets, brilliancy prize a digital clock (jury: live commentator)
Request for silence in playing hall. Any questions?
11. Programme
Round 1: Friday 19.30 - 23.30h
Round 2: Saturday 9.00 - 13. 00h
Round 3: Saturday 14. 00 - 18.00h
Round 4: Saturday 19.30 - 23.30h
Round 5: Sunday 9. 00 - 13.00h
Round 6: Sunday 14. 00 - 18.00h
Six rounds Swiss, 2 hrs pppg.
Two groups: A from 1800 Elo, B maximally 1900 elo.
New rounds are announced with microphone by coordinator.
12. Live commentary
Live commentary [name] Sunday afternoon 14-17h discussion of games.
Brilliancy prize on the basis of games from Rounds 1-5 that have been sent
in, and possibly from Round 6 if the live commentator selects a game himself.
The live commentator decides, the audience thinks along.
13. Arbiters and computers + organi zation uti l ities
Names arbiter and assistant arbiters on the spot in time-trouble phase.
Order Fide competition rules from KNSB.
Lay scoresheets on tables, they also serve as result forms (arbiters).
Order 800 scoresheets with carbon copy.
Computers, install printers, reserve file on usb sticks.
Computers SBSA laptop with printer, three laptops from fellow club
members with printer.
Take paper.
Print out lists A-B for registration.
Number scoresheets per group beforehand (arbiters).
Envelopes for prize money.
Keep byes up-to-date, different name per group.
Number tables with stickers (arbiters).
Pairing first two rounds by rating, then by Buchholz.
Process results and lay aside candidates for brilliancy prize (arbiters).
Record names, addresses and birth dates of ratingless participants at
registration - not necessary if KNSB number is known.
At 19.15h enter participants into computers, those not present get a bye,
possibly pairing against each other
New file name per round
Hang up pairings and results (with SBSA stamp)
'Silence please' signs in the vicinity of the playing hall.
Arbiter starts the clocks at the beginning of the rounds.
Put extra queens beside each board.
Also mention byes on the website.
Arbiter/organization: check empty boards after the start of every round.
Pc's for digital board, pairing, Internet, entering games, spare laptop.
Chessbase program to put top games on website.
14. Playi ng materi al
Top pairings play on wooden boards.
Pieces/boards/clocks from Schaakstad Apeldoorn (calculate the number)
and demo boards and digital board, present in the premises
Take SBSA boards and pieces if necessary
Blitz in auditorium with private clocks, can be obtained at the bar
15. Order, safety
Tournament committee and arbiters keep a close watch on things, besides
this: rely on social control.
Take First Aid kit and put it near the bar.
16. Recruitment and pr
Chess newspaper (door-to-door in Apeldoorn)
SBSA email newsletters, information and lists of participants during a
number of weeks
SBSA email list (approx. 600 addresses)
digital file poster
Send Aventus logo to KNSB website for link to SBSA website
Distribute posters at tournaments and to clubs and four libraries in
Flyers to tournaments and clubs
Announcement on own website
Pre-event story and report in local newspaper
Pre-event story in free local paper
Press release in advertiser
Announcement for calendars of chess media: SchaakMagazine,
Schaaknieuws, OSBOde, internet calendars KNSB, Jonkman, news group
chess, www. schakers. info, www. chessvibes. com
Regional broadcasting company, announcement via website
Local sports magazine
Possible other media (email media list)
Press release, posters and chess newspapers via Aventus channels
Announcement before the event on ROC Aventus website with poster
Contact person emails youth Schaakmaat and school chess clubs (send
Secretary of Schaakstad emails members of Schaakstad
Report: Schaaknieuws
Report SBSA email newsletter
Report in local newspaper
Report on KNSB website (with picture)
Report www. schakers. info (with picture)
Report ROC Aventus website, email pictures
Afterwards, a report on CD-ROM with texts, pictures, games, film,
newspaper reports etc. (for sponsor, staff members and various relations)
Text poster to Aventus.
100 posters: 20 ROC, 25 clubs, 4 libraries, S tournaments, various, and for
furnishing playing hall
Reduced pdf format poster of Aventus to SBSA for digital processing on
website etc.
Dutch, German and English, via website, SBSA newsletters, directed email
messages and hand out at Schaakstad and De Schaakmaat.
Mention parking possibilities.
Mention free entry GM/I M (not: 'titled players')
See separate files.
With digital camera and video camera (charge beforehand).
Afterwards, mail digital pictures to participants.
Webmaster also makes pictures.
17. Fi nanci al matters
Money prizes:
A-group: 1000,00; 500, 00; 250,00; 150,00; 100,00
B-group: 200,00; 100,00; 75,00; 50, 00; 40,00
With equal pOints money prizes are shared, rounded up to the nearest 5,00
Rating prizes:
Five DVD's 'Training with Yusupov' (for categories, see the bulletin for
participants). In case of equal number of points, Buchholz decides
Brilliancy prize: DGT Easy Game Timer 191
Entry fee
A-group: 30,00
B-group: 25,00
Youth (U20): 20,00
1M's + GM's free
Staff members, SBSA youth trainers, children of staff members and
substitutes free
Starting fees and guarantees
A maximum of ten titled players (mainl y from Apeldoorn) get financial
conditions, also place to sleep for titled pl ayers.
1M's Schaakstad prize guarantee, i. e. : their prize is supplied in case it is
lower than their guaranteed starting fee.
Ask team captain to send a mail to the selection of Schaakstad.
Sponsor contribution Aventus
Contributions of participants
Profit catering
Prize money
Rating prizes (DVD's)
Organization (postage, notation, envelopes, petrol, food, organization)
Starting fee/prize guarantees
Hotel, pensions
Uganda school chess
Unforeseen/SBSA overhead
Profits for the benefit of overhead SBSA.
Before: get small change. Coordinator does payments.
Arbiters and staff members get their expenses covered, free food and drinks.
Afterwards a free dinner.
18. Cateri ng
[Name] takes 15 crates of beer and deducts from catering budget.
Sale in reception hall
Take along own coffee cups, sugar, milk
Staff: names and spontaneous eforts
Present as long as the premises are open
Purchases: make a list, buy things
Sale: make a price list
Coffee-maker present as well as cups, glasses
Bring along plastic cups
Dishcloths, detergent, change, coffee filters, napkins, opener, cash box, cleaning
Food and drinks are free for staf members and grandmasters
Take catering gear to premises beforehand
Catering coordinator makes purchases himself, and credit balance goes to SBSA
Catering price list
Red wine
Cola Light
Spa mineral water
Orange Juice
Orange soda
7 up
Ham roll
Cheese roll
Almond flavoured round
Cup a soup
Apple juice
Catering purchases (see list catering coordinator )
Red wine
Cola Light
Spa mineral water
Orange Juice
Orange soda
4 packs of coffee + 4 milk, sugar
2 packets
15 crates (depending on the weather - 15 crates
were used up in the past two years)
5 bottles
3 bottles
90 litres
3 bottles
8 bottles
20 cartons
6 bottles
Rolls 350 pieces
Ham 130 slices
Cheese 220 slices
Butter 4
Almond flavoured roundsl00
Cup a soup 40
Apple juice 5 cartons
Napkins 4 packs of 100 apiece
Saturday morning:
Collect remaining 250 of the 350 rolls
Another 1000 cups
More Cup-a-soup
In case of shortage: borrow from storeroom Schaakstad and replenish later.
Refrigerators already have cold beers and soft drinks, put the same amount in
storeroom Schaakstad.
19. Cleani ng
Premises, toilets
Afterwards and in between events
20. Announcement of tournament at regi onal federati on OSBO and
nati onal federation KNSB, and submitti ng results
Send results to national chess federation for processing.
If no national federation number: submit name, address, club, birth date
and, if relevant, FIDE number.
Results in SBSA newsletters and on website.
With regard to names and addresses of players without national federation
FIDE number instead of national federation number is OK.
Only national federation number is also suffcient.
For procedure sending information: see KNSB website.
21. Prize-gi vi ng
Money in envelopes, sufficient change, determine rating prizes.
Hand out prizes with representative of Aventus (closing speech).
Thank arbiters, catering, webmaster, organization, Accres and, last but not
least, sponsor ROC Aventus.
Bar open until 30 minutes after prize-giving, in the meantime local people/
staff members clean up, appeal on the spot.
22. Booksel l i ng
Ask a bookseller to put up a stand.
23. Chess newspaper
Lay down copies (also from earlier editions) in playing hall .
24. To-do checkl ist before, at the start, duri ng, and afterwards
Actions before
- check parking space in the vicinity and mention it in flyer
- contact with manager where necessary
- collect things to be taken along beforehand (in a crate)
- put byes round 1 on list
- check scenario regularly and update text where necessary
- send information for website to webmaster (update participants, flyer in
three languages, tournament information)
- arrangements for report in Schaaknieuws (text, picture)
- arrangements for report on www. website KNSB
- catering purchase
- check with staff members if they will be present
- recruiting staff members to set up the pieces
- posters to libraries/public institutions, clubs, tournaments
- press release to media
- number stickers
- install Sevilla and Chessbase
- draw up budget and control it
- count playing material
- if necessary, an appeal for boarding addresses in SBSA newsletter
- mail flyer to clubs
- fyer in SBSA newsletter as attachment
- name-plates
- print out ' quiet, please, turn off mobile phone' (lOx)
- print out bulletins for participants (two languages)
- print out lists of participants for registration
- print out catering price list (in plastic standard)
- print out 'please mind our neighbours' near the entry
Contents crate wi th gear
- pens
- photo camera
- number stickers
- box for result sheets
- cash box
- usb stick
- screwdriver
- printing paper
- sellotape
- scissors
- extra cartridge
- floppy discs
- SBSA stamp
- blocnote
- felt-tip pen
- badges with names of staff members typed on them
- connection cable from camera to pc
- batteries
Take al ong:
- Presents Aventus
- posters (furnishing)
- extra laptops, printer
- scoresheets
- Chess newspapers
- bag with spare queens
- rating prizes (glass chess sets, books)
- private clocks for blitz in bar
- DGT timer brilliancy prize
To do before the start
- set up tables and chairs
- set up boards, pieces, clocks, demo boards in the hall
- lay down numbered scoresheets
- install digital board
- number tables with stickers
- registration, check byes, names/addresses/birth dates ratingless players
- put catering ready
- set up computers, printers
- hang up byes near the bar
- put results box ready
- hang up posters near first board and front door
- opening, with microphone
- hang up pairing near the bar and in playing hall
- check other halls
- put name-plates beside boards (possibly only highest boards)
Morni ng of frst tournament day
- buy things for catering and bring to playing venue (16.00h)
- put ready Chess newspapers, laptop, crate with various, presents, camera
- check scenario and do various things
Clean up frst, then prize-giving (mention this in bulletin for participants)
- clear up boards, pieces, clocks, and count everything
- clean up
- take catering gear home
- calculate finances
25. Tel ephone l i st
26. Vari ous
Guests: chairman of Aventus board, Sunday
Points of attention:
Give copies of games for article in Schaaknieuws
Mobile phone number of coordinator, especially on website
[Name] only does things before tournament
Overcapacity for tasks in case of drop-out
Pass on pOints of attention to coordinator and note them for next
Bulletin for participants in Dutch and English.
Flyer in Dutch, German and English.
Bul leti n for participants ROC Aventus
Open Apel doorn Chess Champi onshi p 2007
- Six rounds are played. The time-control is two hours per player, the FIDE
competition rules apply.
- There are two groups: A from 1800 Elo (the organization may allow lower
rated players), B up to 1900 Elo.
- Smoking is allowed on the inner court, not at the main entrance of the
- Taking maximally two byes is possible in the first four rounds, check the list
near the bar - if necessary, contact the arbiters.
- In order to make the number of players even, substitutes may be used -
they get half a point in rounds they do not play and do not compete for the
- The website www. will have reports on the tournament. Also via the
weekly SBSA newsletters. If you want to receive these messages, please
apply to Karel van Delft.
- Results will be sent to the Dutch Chess Federation KNSB for Elo rating; if
you are a member of the KNSB but do not yet have a rating, please give
your birthday and address to the arbiters.
- All boards are in one and the same playing hall.
- The pairing for each round will be hung up near the bar and in the playing
- Pairings first two rounds: Swiss, based on rating, after that: by Buchholz.
- For a bye requested by yourself you receive half a pOint.
- The arbiter determines the place of the clock.
- Players are obliged to write down the moves until they have less than five
minutes thinking time left.
- The foremost sheet of the scoresheet is regarded as the result sheet.
Players are required to fll in the result on this sheet and sign the form. The
scoresheet must be put in the result box on the arbiters' table immediately
after the game.
- You can write 'BP' on the form if you want your game to be considered for
the brilliancy prize (a digital clock). In principle, only games from the first
five rounds that have been sent in are considered.
- On Sunday afternoon, live commentator 1M Rob Hartoch determines who will
be awarded the brilliancy prize, after consulting the audience. Mr. Hartoch
is also at liberty to choose a game from the sixth round for the prize.
Actually, the brilliancy prize is a public award: the audience determines
which game it values most highly.
- Analysing or blitz in the tournament hall are not allowed, this can be done
in various analysis rooms in the premises. It is not allowed to take clocks
outside the playing hall.
- The arbiter is Paul Ham. Assistant arbiters may be appointed.
- Arbiters' decisions are binding.
- The tournament direction consists of Karel van Delft and Marco Beerdsen.
- The tournament directors can be reached via mobile number 06 22 22 69
- In cases not covered by these regulations, the tournament direction decides.
1st prize
2nd prize
3rd prize
4th prize
5th prize
Group A.
1. 000,00
Group B.
100, 00
Brilliancy prize: digital DGT clock.
Rating prizes: The highest-ranked players in the following Elo categories are
awarded rating prizes.
A: 2201 - 2300, 2101 - 2200, 2001 - 2100, 1901 - 2000, up to 1900
B: 1701 - 1800, 1601 - 1700, 1501 - 1600, Elo up to 1500, no Elo
Playing times
Round 1: Friday
Round 2: Saturday
Round 3: Saturday
Round 4: Saturday
Round 5: Sunday
Round 6: Sunday
19.30 - 23.30h
9. 00 - 13. 00h
14. 00 - 18.00h
19.30 - 23.30h
9.00 - 13.00h
14. 00 - 18.00h
E7 Subjects for a parents meeti ng
- technically: structure of the programme
- personality building (self-image, social skills)
- importance of analysing own games
- material (chess material, reading material)
- didactics
- motivation (intrinsic, extrinsic)
- variation
- interaction
- feedback
- differences in level
- challenges
- degree of complexity
- atmosphere
- student tracking system
- analysis questionnaire
- essence of lessons on paper
- week planning
- verbalization (games with verbal comments, analysis questionnaire)
- workload in hours
- use of demo board, or around the table
- procedures
- practice makes perfect
- importance of tactics
- fascination
- support own development
- on an adventure
- performance versus result
E8 Study gui de SBSA youth trai ni ng
Study gui de SBSA youth trai ni ng season 2007/ 2008
For questions, contact trainers or organizers.
General remarks
With group trainings, knowledge, understanding and skills are increased.
Level within groups is as equal as possible.
Learning styles, talent and effort differ.
Chess players themselves are responsiblefor their own input and development.
It is important for parents to feel involved - and also, to be familiar with this
Training participants can profit from the trainings and the possibilities offered
by advice, and by the entire SBSA chess culture.
He who wants to accomplish something must be resourceful, and study and
play a lot.
SBSA trainers and organization will be happy to think along.
Trai ners, organization
Trainers are 1M Merijn van Delft (Friday AB-group), 1M Yochanan Afek (Sunday
AB-group) and Martin van Dommelen (C-group).
Besides, 1M Roeland Pruijssers, Stefan Kuipers and Tom Meurs will be present
as guest trainers and assistant trainers with various activities, e.g. opening
study, as substitutes for absent trainers, and during Youth Meets Masters.
The organization is in the hands of Marco Beerdsen and Karel van Delft.
Trainings take place in the Mind Sports Centre Apeldoorn, Dubbelbeek 24,
tel. 5332766.
SBSA newsl etters, emai l
Via the SBSA newsletters and via email you will receive additional information
about the SBSA youth training.
Keep an eye on the SBSA newsletters for possible announcements and date
The trainings cost 250 euros per year for the A- and B-group, and 200 euro
for the C-group.
Kindly transfer to account number 39.32. 95. 850 in the name of SBSA,
First half before 1 October, second half before 1 February. In consultation
other spreadings may be possible.
Trai ni ng days
Calendar: see below, and/or in the SBSA email newsletters.
It is possible that sometimes a training date is cancelled. These trainings will
be rescheduled at the end of the season.
Absence: check out via email to your trainer and to Karel or Marco.
Parents meeti ngs
On four Sundays, the dates of which will be announced (see SBSA newsletters),
one-hour meetings for parents will be held in the early afternoon, on the
subject of training and coaching. These meetings are coordinated by Marco
Beerdsen and Karel van Delft.
Subjects, procedures and l earni ng goal s A- and B-groups
Friday, with Merijn:
- classic games (Kasparov series)
- themes 'Judgement and Planning in Chess' (Euwe) 60 min
- self-study, tactics, various 30 min.
Sunday, with Yochanan:
- own games 120 min.
- endgames (Silman), studies, various 60 min.
A concrete l ist with subjects will be published at a later stage.
The subjects will be announced in every training report.
Proced u res:
Varying and interactive: demo board, playing out positions simultaneously/
in pairs, group discussion, a 'track' with a number of positions.
Learning goals:
To improve knowledge, understanding and calculating ability. Increase the
fascination for the game. Promote self-study.
- Email at least two self-annotated games in pgn to Merijn, Yochanan and
- Interesting material to study at home is handed out regularly.
- View interesting subjects for yourself via CD-ROM on self-study.
- Trainers will occasionally give you positions to study.
- Tactics (monthly 300 exercises on Tactic Server).
The most important information is summarized afer each training and emailed
to the participants.
Coachi ng A- and B-group
During the trainings, Merijn will devote attention to self-study.
Questions on self-study can be asked to the trainers.
See www. under coaching/training for study tips.
SBSA has a small library where you can borrow books.
See also: supervision during tournaments.
Subjects, procedures and l earni ng goal s C-group
Minimal l evel: Step 3.
Each training
- discuss notable events/tournaments
- discuss own games/fragments, learn Fritz
- basic endgames (Silman)
- technique/plans (Euwe) 'Chess Master versus Chess Amateur'
(for two games, test homework; third game in quiz form)
- mating attacks (Ftacnik)
- the King's Gambit traps/variations
- various/current events/experiences/films/cd-rom self-study
- tactics solve/discuss positions and creative position Krabbe
- closing round 'What have we learned?'
Two lS-minute breaks.
For all items pOints wil l be given (score form).
Frontal explanation with demo board.
10 minutes
90 minutes
20 minutes
30 minutes
20 minutes
20 minutes
20 minutes
20 minutes
10 minutes
Discovery learning in pairs, or play out simultaneously versus teacher,
followed by explanation.
Di scovery learning via group discussion and quiz form.
Group conversations/discussions.
Everything highly interactive and dynamic.
Learning goals:
- discuss three games/fragments by each participant
- 50 basic endgame positions Si lman
- 24 games book Euwe 'Chess Master versus Chess Amateur'
- 8 attacks on the king
- King's Gambit: principles, opening traps
- tactical positions Steps via self-study (30 a week x 40 weeks, including
- 16 creative positions from current events and from literature
- learn self-study, learn self-reflection, learn to formulate ideas
- Mail every month at least two self-commented games in pgn to Martin and
- Play through two games 'Chess Master versus Chess Amateur' every month
(see foppy disc)
- Step-by-Step Method 3x 1 D positions per week (teacher establishes the
starting level)
- You will regularly receive interesting material that you can study at home.
- Look at interesting subjects yourself on CD- ROM self-study
The most important information is summarized afer each training and emailed
to the participants.
Coachi ng C-group
C-group partiCipants and their parents will have a 3D-minute talk with Martin
van Dommelen two times a year. He draws up a schedule and invites them.
These talks take place before or immediately after the training. During the
talk, coaching lists will be used (see CD- ROM self-study, handed out earlier).
Questions on self-study may be asked to the trainers.
See www. sbsa. nl under coaching/training for study tips.
SBSA has a small library where you can borrow books.
See also: supervision during tournaments.
Fritz, Step-by-Step Method on CD-ROM, send i n games
Every participant has Fritz (analyse games and positions, save games,
send to trainer) and the Step-by-Step Method on CD-ROM (study of tactics,
exercise regularly, also: repeat).
Every training participant saves his own games in a database, for example
in Fritz.
Pen and notebook
Take pen and notebook to trainings and make notes.
CD-ROM self-study
This CD-ROM, made by SBSA, contains many tips and a lot of training
material, as well as some nice films. It is recommended to regularly have a
look at it.
Other trai ni ng components
Apart from the trainings on Fridays and Sundays there are several other
training variants:
- 'Youth Meets Masters', a workshop day with masters and strong players.
- Four rapid tournaments (see calendar).
- Two opening trainings (introduction, two rapid games, analysis, simul
against trainer)
Two variations of the King's Gambit are discussed. Supervision: Martin and
assistant trainer.
Playing tournaments
It is important that you regularly play games and visit tournaments.
A useful tournament is the ROC Aventus Open Chess Championship of
Apeldoorn on 7, 8 and 9 September. You can take two free rounds (byes), so
you don't have to play in the evenings.
In the SBSA newsletters there are announcements of tournaments.
The KNSB calendar (see www. also has announcements of
Supervi si on duri ng tournaments
During several tournaments, (assistant) trainers and training coordinators
wil be present part of the time, and training participants can ask them for
During the Open Dutch Championship in Dieren, training participants who
take part in this tournament can analyse for several evenings at Karel's
home with Merijn and, possibl y, other international masters.
Participants can visit several tournaments together with trainers and/or
You can keep your training material in a binder with plastic sleeves.
You can study more systematicall y by making a week schedule.
In a diary you can briefly write down what you have learned after each
training or self-study (this makes you reflect on what you learn, and you will
also build up a reference book for yourself).
On www. there are study tips under the heading 'coaching/training'.
The programme also contains names and addresses of trainers, organization
and participants.
There is also a SBSA youth training calendar 2007-2008 with a time schedule:
Eight Friday evenings A-B-group: one hour and a half
Eight Sundays A-B-group: three hours; C-group four hours
Four Sunday afternoons rapid tournament, twice opening study
Youth Meets Masters: one day
E9 The SBSA Youth Academy project i n Apeldoorn
Since September 1998, SBSA (Stichting Bevorderen Schaken Apeldoorn, i. e.
Foundation for the Promotion of Chess in Apeldoorn) develops all sorts of
activities for chess players in Apeldoorn and the (wide) surrounding area. In
cooperation with the Dutch Chess Federation KNSB, SBSA received a subsidy
from the Dutch Ol ympic Committee NOCjNSF of 10,000 euros for the year 2005,
with the aim to gain experience with talent development within a network of
local cooperation forms. Thanks to this subsidy, the SBSA was able to organize
a substantial number of extra youth activities in 2005. These new activities
were assembled along with the already existing activities in the area of talent
development under the name 'SBSA Youth Academy'.
Interview with Karel van Delft by Wi l l y Hendri ks
In the following retrospective of the past year's activities, the focus is on the
question what chess clubs can learn from SBSA's experiences. Could any (youth)
club adopt SBSA's approach? Are there activities that can be organized by every
club in the same way? These and other questions I asked to the driving force
behind SBSA, secretary Karel van Delft (seconded by Hans Bouwer, treasurer
of the SBSA).
A yearly high pOint in your programme is the Youth Meets Masters event. This is
a kind of workshop day where strong players from Schaakstad Apeldoom (such
as Sipke Erst, Artur Yusupov, Manuel Bosboom, Merin van Delf, Arthur van
de Oudeweetering, Rob Hartoch, Alexander Kabatianski) give lessons to youth
players from Apeldoom and the (wide) surrounding area. An event like Youth
Meets Masters - could any club organize something similar?
The YMM formula hinges on two principles: to enthuse, and to pass on knowledge.
Each trainer completes a programme with his group. This programme includes,
among others, a game in the form of a quiz, an item with tactical positions,
and a simultaneous display with a discussion afterwards. Afer this there is a
collective blitz tournament and a pea-soup meal. Every time, the reactions of
the participants show that this formula catches on fabulously.
You can also organize something like this on a smaller scale - the latest YMM
had 8 trainers and 63 participants. A nice extra is that senior players and
youth players can get into contact here. Of course the trainers don't have to be
international masters. Any club with youth players can organize a day with a
number of seniors who can offer the youth players a varied program.
Didactic skills are useful, but it all starts with empathy. Enthusiasm, and
sympathy and empathy for youth players, that is what matters!
You guys attach much importance to the so-called ' multiply effect'. You have
described this as follows: 'It is important that as many strong players as possible
are given the rle of trainer. We want to spend each euro at least three times:
we hire a trainer, those who receive training also give trainings, etcetera. This
is a kind of 'miraculous multiplying'. Has this multiply effect been a success in
the past year?
Partly. For example, Artur Jusupov and Alexander Kabatianski have given
trainings to the first team of De Schaakmaat, and players from this team have
in turn given lessons themselves, or they have analysed with children on various
primary schools. But sometimes there is no follow-up, which is why we have
introduced the following rule for these trainings: either you train others in turn,
or you pay for the trainings you receive.
You see, it's impossible to keep track of everything. But on club level, for
instance, these things can be organized without trouble. You hire a trainer,
you ask him to give a training to the top players of the cl ub, and in return you
ask those pl ayers to train the rest of the club and youth players. This way the
project will come alive for everyone in the club. Some clubs have a formula with
a (paid) player/trainer in their first team. I think this is also a fine elaboration
upon the multiply formula. That is, as long as you take care that everyone
interested can join in.
Aren't you afraid that a spanner may easily be thrown in the multiplying works
if players are not capable of giving trainings - or do not feel like doing it?
Sometimes you get a spanner in the works, but as far as capability is concerned
- as I already said, empathy and enthusiasm are the most important things.
As soon as you have that, there are always possibilities. Not everyone is asked
to give a training before a big group right away, it can also be done in smaller
groups, or one-on-one.
If you keep in mind the following four cornerstones, you will soon be able to
start giving trainings: 1. study tactics; 2. play through annotated games; 3.
stimulate your pupils to play a lot themselves, and analyse young players'
games with them; 4. introduce them to everything that chess has to offer - let
them dabble with the material. Last year we had a Chess trainer A course by
Paul Grooten with 8 participants from Apeldoorn and 4 from the surrounding
area. It was a great success. So we have also tried to attract attention in the
area of didactic skills.
Coaching and training have your undivided interest. I understand that at the
moment you are working on a book on this subject. Is this intended to be a
useful book for the average youth leader at a youth club?
Absolutely! I have nominated around 80 themes by now, about each of which
I intend to write short pieces. Those 80 themes rank under the following three
cornerstones: training, coaching, and organization/communication. In this
context, the idea of 'best practices' plays a prominent role: examples which
have proved their worth in practice and are applicable for any club. I am writing
the book together with my son Merijn and Artur Yusupov, and the photographer
Fred Lucas also contributes. Like me, Merijn has a degree in psychol ogy.
Yusupov has been involved in SBSA activities for a long time, and of course he
is a treasure-trove of experience at the highest level.
An item that will surely receive attention in your book is the role of the parents.
What is your view on this?
That role is very important. Parents must be involved in the education of their
children. If youth players are not supported by their parents, it will be very hard
to accomplish anything. That is why we regularly organize parents meetings
alongside our trainings. You will notice that parents will also often make a
contribution as volunteers.
You have to take into account that parents often don't know much, so it is
necessary to inform them well - meaning: you must point out to them what
is going on in the chess world, but also coach them well, and make clear what
is expected from them if they join club activities. In this respect, the SBSA
newsletters also play a major role.
In the past year, you have organized a lot of activities. Has this generated much
At the start of the SBSA Youth Academy, we had a simultaneous exhibition for
youth players in Apeldoorn by Loek van Wely. That generated a lot of pUblicity.
But other activities also attracted quite a lot of attention. Also, we publish the
Apeldoorn Chess Newspaper on a yearly basis, as a loose supplement of a free
local newspaper, in a circulation of 70,000 copies. The costs are entirely covered
by the advertising revenues. We can safely say that this a unique publication
in The Netherlands. We have brought out six issues so far. The success and the
effects are hard to measure, but we still have the feeling that it is worth the
trouble. For one, the bridge players in Apeldoorn look at it with admiration and
would like to have such a periodical too!
You yourself have a lot of experience in jouralism, and you also have direct
access to the media. Do you have any tips for clubs that do not have this direct
It certainly helps if you have contacts. So that is my advice: do not only send a
press release (but do send one! ) if you wa nt to attract attention to one of you r
activities, but also try to establish personal contact with the editors of a (free
local) newspaper, by making a phone call or paying a visit to the editorial office.
Do keep a press release short and to the point, as journalists have more work
to do.
You also record the larger-scale activities, like the simul with Van Wely and
YMM, on flm, photographs, documents, etcetera, and then you publish it on
CD-ROM. What are the advantages of that?
The most important thing is that it is a nice memory for the participants. But
also with regard to contacts with current and future sponsors it makes for a nice
visiting card. And to a certain extent it is also what I called earlier a recording
of ' best practices'. It's not hard to make, it can be done on any club.
Any club? Are you sure? I'm not sure if I would be able to do this so quickly.
OK, granted, I have some help, but it is the copying of the material that takes up
most of the time. That can be combined beautifully with, for example, reading
a newspaper. You can divide the tasks - one makes pictures, the other makes a
flm, a third makes a sleeve or a sticker to paste on the CD-ROM; you can enter
games in pgn, enter texts in Word, then you have to buy boxes, paste stickers
on them, copy the CD-ROMs, and for less than one-and-a-half euro apiece the
job is done.
Can people who want to organize something like Youth Meets Masters order
that CD-ROM with you?
Yes, they can, I will be glad to send them for a small compensation.
Now we are talking about pr and related subjects. You send an email newsletter
around every week. Do they receive positive reactions?
The SBSA email newsletters are a fantastic means of communication. By now we
have more than 400 subscribers and around 40 people who contribute directly.
In chess-playing Apeldoorn and the surrounding area, there is quite a lot going
on. There are several clubs, there is a broadly developed school chess scene,
and there are many tournaments, trainings and other activities. Those SBSA
newsletters do something that many clubs fail to do: simply inform people!
If you look at the SBSA Youth Academy's goal - stimulate youth chess on all
levels and you will automatically breed top players - how has that worked out?
If you take a look at our list of activities in 2005 (see appendix), you can see
that they spread out in all directions. We have done our bit for (potential)
top-class players as well. And now I can see a few among them who have the
making of top players, but I won't mention any names out loud for the moment.
Membership fgures of chess clubs are dropping. Do you have a 'golden idea'
that can tur this trend around?
It is important to learn from each other. That's also what I mean by 'best
practices', and this is how I want to do my bit. I also think that there are quite
a lot of good ideas about membership recruitment around, but these ideas
should be shared. When I see that the KNSB has a sizeable assortment of items
avalable for club support, but they are quite well-hidden on their website, and
you cannot even download many of them - I cannot understand that.
If there are good ideas, then it is also important that there is an enthusiastic
group of people who can put them into practice. What's the situation with SBSA
like in this respect?
This also goes for SBSA, and for me this is a delicate point sometimes. Many
people have contributed, but last year we had so many activities that sometimes
it almost became too much for me. So for the future, we must see what we can
keep doing and what we cannot do any more, and also how we can show others
what possibilities there are to do certain things themsel ves.
What I'm doing is real people work, and this has many good sides, but now and
then it also brings disappointments. People who do not meet their appointments,
or sponge on the activities of others, I have a problem with that.
I think that in the chess world we must all be prepared to make a contribution.
But, well, this problem with volunteers applies in many areas in our society.
Perhaps we will end up like the Americans, who now have professionally
managed sports clubs with very high membership dues. So be it.
A well-known picture in (youth) chess is the following: one organizer does a
great many things, he is not very good at delegation, and without him the
organization would collapse. Are you such an organizer?
Is this meant to be a provocative question? No, that's not how I see mysel f at
all. We rely heavily on contributions and feedback from many different people.
In fact, it is not at all my intention to do everything on my own. We from SBSA
want to do a number of things structurally, and a number of things once-only, to
show what is possible. Call it creating a climate for chess which inspires others
to get to work. It is important to create not only a structure, but also a culture
where top-class pl ayers and recreational players, and also youths and adults,
stimulate each other. Of this research-oriented culture that we have created,
many youth players have profited, I think.
We also have a few meetings every year, where all the people who are involved
with SBSA join in the conversation and exchange ideas. This has led to new
initiatives, like, for instance, a collective training for the school chess clubs and
an enjoyable chess meeting at the end of the season, with people who give
chess lessons at school or help with school chess activities.
Last question: what can we expect from SBSA, and from you, in the future?
We can look back on a great year with many activities. In the near future, SBSA
will get round the table and see what we can do next year. As said, it is desirable
that more people put their shoulder to the wheel with certain activities.
As for myself, I hope to get a little more time in order to get my book going.
But - last question, if I may turn things around - have you yourself seen any
inspiring or new initiatives lately?
Erm, let me think about that a little. The great strength of many SBSA activities
seems to me to be the good contacts between youth and senior players, between
talents and strong players. On many clubs those two are worlds apart.
That is also a way of taking youth seriously. My experience from last year is
that SBSA's motto, 'to develop a culture where top level and recreational level
inspire each other', has truly been realized!
Appendix 1
Tips/ideas for every (youth) club
* When organizing activities, you will always need to improvise. So try to put as
many things on paper as possible, in the form of a scenario and/or a checklist.
This will avoid embarrassing moments like when you suddenly cannot print
out a pairing because you forgot to bring along a spare cartridge.
* With regard to publicity for your activities: try to make personal contact with
the media. Keep your press releases short and to-the-point.
* If you organize trainings for seniors, try to create a 'multiplying effect': see
to it that the trainees in turn train others and spread further the knowledge
they have acquired.
* Appoint a (paid) player/coach for your first team. Then the players of that
team can spread their knowledge further. This way, the entire club will proft
from the sponsoring.
* Get the parents involved in the (chess) education of their children - by
organizing parents meetings, for example.
* Get parents involved in the organization, but inform them well about what is
expected from them.
* Chess training starts with empathy!
* Organize activities for youths and seniors together - this will stimulate mutual
contacts and inspiration.
* In youth trainings, always give feedback on your pupils' own games.
* Take care that the communication is good between all involved. An email
newsletter is a possible means to this end.
Appendix 2
A bird's eye view of the activities of the SBSA Youth Academy in 2005
SBSA's aim is to promote chess in Apeldoorn. A lot of attention is paid to the
stimulation of youth chess (top level as well as recreational level) - among
others, with trainings, coaching, information supply and the organization of
events. SBSA has been active since 1998, and operates within the active and
successful chess scene in Apeldoorn: for instance, in recent years Apeldoorn has
had various national youth champions, and the school competition in Apeldoorn
has had more than 20 school clubs for years (who organize their own internal
competition with roughly 800 children, as well as lessons in the Step-by-Step
Method, with more than 500 certificates every year). SBSA's philosophy is not
to aim solely at the top. Apart from structure, it is important to develop a
culture where top level and recreational level stimulate each other, and where
youths become the 'co-author of their own upbringing' (Polgar). According to
this motto, SBSA does a lot of work in the area of knowledge acquisition, and
of passing on knowledge by means of coaching and training.
The SBSA Youth Academy project is developed in consultation with 1M Willy
Hendriks, who is charged with the portfolio of talent development on behalf of
the Dutch Chess Federation KNSB.
Representing SBSA, Karel van Delft coordinates the activities. Hans Bouwer
is in charge of various practical tasks. 1M Merijn van Delft, 1M Sipke Ernst,
Lucien van Beek, Martin van Dommelen and Johan Wolbers are closely involved
in the initiatives, as are youth leaders Hessel Visser and Heleen Kers (De
Schaakmaat) and Henk Pruijssers (Schaakstad Apeldoorn). The SBSA Youth
Academy cooperates with various organizations, among whom Schaakstad
Apeldoorn, De Schaakmaat, the Apeldoorn Schools Competition, ROC Aventus,
the Jussupow Schach Akademie and the Mind Sports Centre Apeldoorn, as well
as various companies and organizations. The city of Apeldoorn is also involved
in the project. Reports on the developments around the SBSA Youth Academy
are published via the SBSA email newsletters and on
Activities 2005
1. Youth Meets Masters: an annual day with various masters and approximately
60 participants. Workshops, a simultaneous exhibition, a blitz tournament,
dinner together.
2. The regular SBSA trainings for (top) youth players in Apeldoorn: two
groups with 8 trainings, two other groups with 16 trainings. Trainers are
Lucien van Beek and Martin van Dommelen.
3. Individual coaching of four top talents from Apeldoorn. We also mediate
for players who are looking for a paid trainer.
4. Two talent days to introduce the SBSA trainings, with a total of roughly 65
5. Visits to various primary schools with a simultaneous exhibition and an
introduction of the Chess Academy by Johan Wolbers.
6. A chess camp during the Open Dutch Junior Championship in Hengelo,
supervision and coaching, several dozens of participants, in cooperation
with chess club De Toren from Arnhem.
7. Strong players analyse games at various youth tournaments (among
others, the Photo Kuipers tournament).
8. Training sessions by Kabatianski and Yusupov at De Schaakmaat.
9. Training sessions by players from De Schaakmaat on various primary
10. Workshops by Yusupov en Michalchishin.
11. Opening of the SBSA Youth Academy with a simul for youth players from
Apeldoorn by Loek van Wely, around 40 participants.
12. Production of various CD-ROMs about SBSA activities.
13. Weekly publication of SBSA email newsletters.
14. Publication of the yearly Chess Newspaper Apeldoorn (which can also be
viewed on www.
15. Organization of a side programme at the 'Kadaster Dutch Chess
Championship for Companies'.
16. Two opening theme tournaments, with an introduction of the opening in
question, playing games and plenary analysis.
17. SBSA Youth Academy conference, followed by a simul by Daniel
18. Import of chess sets from China, to enable school chess clubs to purchase
cheap material.
19. Support of school chess club in Kampala (Uganda) with money and
20. Collective training for all primary schools that have qualifed for the
championship of the regional federation OSBO.
21. Keeping the website www. up to date.
22. Organization of the Chess trainer A course.
23. Chess stand on the spring market in Apeldoorn.
24. SBSA functions as an oracle for all possible questions about chess.
25. During the annual ROC Aventus weekend tournament, Rob Hartoch gave
live commentary. Extra attention is given to youth talents.
26. Various strong players, like 1M Alexander Kabatianski and GM Artur
Yusupov, are involved in the activities and regularly give advice. With
general consent, Yusupov has allotted himself the title of 'senior advisor
27. Youth players can take part in the annual SBSA rapid and blitz tournaments.
28. Now and then youth players are taken along when adult players visit a
tournament, and there they are coached on technical aspects.
29. During home matches by Schaakstad Apeldoorn, live commentary is
given, which is very interesting also for youth players.
30. Inquiry at all school chess clubs.
31. Information meetings for parents.
32. And much, much more ......
El0 Training with diagrams or board positions
As an introduction to tactical as well as positional subjects, young chess pupils
often receive a two-dimensional presentation of themes: with books, workbooks,
exercise sheets or a demonstration board. Exercises are also often made on a
two-dimensional level (diagrams).
Also, positions are set up on a board during trainings to introduce a theme, or
to play them out, or to investigate or solve the position for yourself. This is a
presentation on three-dimensional level.
Sometimes the two are combined (position on a demonstration board and on
an own board).
Question 1: Does it make any difference in learning effect whether a theme is
presented two- or three-dimensionally?
Question 2: What are the advantages and the disadvantages of both ways of
During a 'Chess trainer A' evening course organized by the Dutch chess
federation KNSB in Apeldoorn in November 2005, no clear-cut answers could
be given to these questions - neither by the teacher, nor by the participants.
Marco Beerdsen, the father of a seven-year-old chess talent, says he has the
impression that it is easier for his son to fathom positions in two-dimensional
diagrams than on the board.
The question urged itself whether this is a case of habituation, or of learning
style - or does this apply to most or even all youth players? And even if this
is the case, what about the transfer effects of trainings with two-dimensional
diagrams to actual games? Or doesn't it make any difference anyhow?
Edgar van de Oudeweetering, the father of a ten-year-old player, is of the opinion
that for solving exercises, the length of variations, age, gender difference and
visual setting are of influence.
Gep Leeflang, who has been a top-100 draughts player for years, thinks that
the size of the board matters: 'To us draughts players all these things don't
make any difference, everything is flat anyway.'
In the present investigation these questions are examined in three ways:

Literature search

Interviews: what do trainers think of this subject?

An experiment: do pupils perform better on diagrams or on board positions,and
what do they think of this themselves?
Literature search
For our literature search we looked at a method which is predominant in The
Netherlands: the Step-by-Step Method by the trainers Cor van Wijgerden and
Rob Brunia. This item was rounded off quickly: there is no mention of the
Interviews: what do trainers think of this subject?
- 1M Alexander Kabatianski:
Probably training with a board is better than with diagrams. You can give
examples on either a board or a demonstration board, and then have your
pupils exercise with diagrams on paper. If you hand out positions on paper,
pupils can repeat the theme at a later stage. There is no best overall procedure
for chess - there are good trainers with various methods, as well as diferent
learning styles. Probably it does not play an important role whether you work
with diagrams or with positions on the board. What is much more important is
whether a pupil is interested. Kabatianski, who himself originates from Ukraine,
does not know of any discussions around this theme in the former Soviet Union.
He does remember certain debates about the question whether novice players
should start studying endgames or with openings.
Kabatianski thinks that the way a trainer transfers information is more
important than whether the information is offered via a diagram or a board
position. GM Adrian Michalchishin, for instance, speaks quickly and says a lot.
GM Artur Yusupov and 1M Mark Dvoretsky speak slowly and deliberately. They
turn questions into problems and discuss these interactively with their pupils.
This increases their understanding, their motivation and their concentration,
Kabatianski supposes.
- GM Artur Yusupov prefers training vvith three-dimensional board positions
to two-dimensional pictures, since a board position corresponds to the way a
position is perceived during a game. In other words, an actual chess game is
simulated. In his opinion, this will yield better learning results. If a position is
depicted on a computer screen before him, Yusupov tends to move too quickly
himself. He does not know if this is individually determined. He adds that he
also studies two-dimensional positions in books.
In the Soviet Union he has never heard of any discussion about whether it
was better to present positions two- or three-dimensionally. He says that he
has once tried to study positions depicted three-dimensionally on a computer
screen. 'That does not work for me.'
He also observes that the extent to which the transfer from two to three
dimensions takes place, may depend on the level of a player.
- 1M Merijn van Delft:
'The advantage of three dimensions is that this simulates the game situation,
whereas two-dimensional may be a more practical solution. By the way, I
think this is a highly creative question, and I don't have a conclusive answer
to it. Variation is also important in a training, perhaps these procedures can
complement each other nicely. More important than the procedure may be the
amount; you have to practice tactics as often as possible. In order to become
really good you have to devour chess books.'
- Martin van Dommelen (Elo rating 2104, trainer SBSA youth training)
'Here is a brief idea about 2- and 3-dim. positions with trainings: I can agree
with Yusupov's idea that by using a 3d position the game is best imitiated. But
still I wonder if this is the best way to train. Most of the time it is easier to
solve a position from the board than from a demonstration board. Therefore a
demonstration board may be more challenging for children, as they will have
to exert themselves more, concentrate better, and they cannot try out every
move, but really have to check their thoughts with calculation. Actually, I always
let the children choose if they want to work with or without a board.'
Experiment: When do pupils perform better: playing from diagrams or from
board positions? What do they think of this themselves?
27 participants at the SBSA youth training in Apeldoorn got ten minutes during
a training session to solve six diagrams on paper, and then they got ten minutes
to solve six board positions.
The positions were a mix: half of them could be solved easily by average pupils,
the other half was diffcult.
Afterwards, they were asked to indicate in a questionnaire whether they had
a preference for either a two- or a three-dimensional presentation of positions
during trainings.
The answers varied, but the majority of pupils had a clear preference for three
dimensional presentation.
Remarkably, on average the oldest, i.e. highest-level group performs better on
the board, whereas the other three groups perform better on paper. This may
have been partly due to the fact that time was short and younger children have
a greater tendency to walk restlessly and in a jumble from one position to the
other, and thereby also lose time.
Boy or girl:
1A - I fnd it easier to solve a position:
in a diagram on paper
on a chessboard
it doesn't matter
1B - Why is this?
2A - I find it easier to solve a position:
on a chessboard
on a demonstration board
it doesn't matter
2B - Why is this?
3A - I find it easier to solve a position:
in a diagram on paper
on a demonstration board
it doesn't matter
3B - Why is this?
easier on easier on easier on
gender certificate
score score
diagram board or piagram or name age
board diagram
or board demo board emo board
Joost 12 B 4 3 2 board board emo board
Anirudh 11 B 4 1 2 board same emo board
Jan-Willem 14 B 4 5 2 board board emo board
Maurice 11 B
4 2 2 board board Iame
)ered 13 B 4 4 1 !ame demo board !ame
Kristianne 14 G 5 2 2 lSame demo board demo board
Koen 15 B 5 4 4 Iame board diagram
Morris 14 B 3 3 3 board same same
Tom 13 B 5 4 5 board same same
28 23
Sam 9 B 3 2 1 board board demo board
Thomas 7 B 3 2
5 same same demo board
Marion 12 G 4 3 4 diagram board diagram
rmen 12 B 3 3 3 diagram demo board Iame
Nico 12 B 4 2 4 board emo board demo board
Martijn 9 B 3 2 2 board same demo board
Kyra-Tiana 11 G
4 2
3 same board diagram
Nico 10 B 3 2 1 board same Iemo board
Roy 11 B 4 1 4 board same Iemo board
Gerwin 14 B 3 0
4 board board Iame
Nick 11 B 4 2 3 board board Iemo board
Remko 12 B 4 3 6 same same same
8 18
Fons 10 B 3 1 3 same demo board demo board
Petra 11 G 3 1 4 board board diagram
Sharon 12 G 4 2 1 board board demo board
Sybren 8 B 2 0 1 board board demo board
Bas 10 B 3 0 0 board same same
Edgar 10 B 2 0 2 board same demo board
4 11
board 18 board 12 diagram 4
iagram 2 demo board 5 demo board 15
!ame 7 same 10 same 8
Ell Tasks of a team captain
A team captain fulfils a number of tasks. It is useful to make a list of these. Then
you won't forget anything and it will cost you less time and energy. The below
list was used by Karel van Delft when he was the team captain of Homburg
Before the match
Follow correspondence with KNSB and keep the competition guide
Home match: invite arbiter one week before the match (route description)
Home match: invite opponent a week before the match (route description)
Phone or email players where and at what time the next match will take
place, arrange for a substitute player
Give players suggestions for transport, or arrange this
Make a team lineup and inform players via email, telephone
If necessary: team meetings (consultation, training)
Bring scoresheets and competition forms
Home match: arrange for live commentary
Publicity before the match in various media
Manage sponsor money (plan expenses)
Withdraw money for payments
Boarding for various players (before the match, and after the match for
players who cannot get home)
On the day of the match
Know KNSB membership numbers
Name-plates, results form
Fill in and sign competition forms
During home match: offer opponents and arbiter something to drink
Bring competition rules and FIDE Rules
Give scoresheets (with carbon copy) to players and collect them after
Arrange payments
Consultation in case of draw offers
Hand out Chess newspapers
Make pictures
Offer CD-ROM to opponent and arbiter
Home match: call results service and submit the match result (see
competition guide)
Make report with individual results for newspaper
Report for SBSA email newsletter
Home match: arrange for report to be made for Schaaknieuws
Enter games, send as attachment to SBSA email newsletter
Home match: mail individual results to KNSB
E12 Inquiry youth section De Schaakmaat
Inquiry youth players De Schaakmaat, Part A
OSBO training
Several times a year, OSBO organizes youth trainings for strong and motivated young club players.
These trainings are held in Apeldoorn. One time in 1992, 20 youth members took part, and another
time there were 13.
1. Have you ever participated in such a training? Yes/no
2. If yes, what did you think was good about it, and what wasn't?
The Belorussian trainer Sergey Parmon will give OSBO trainings on Sunday February 28 in Apeldoorn,
in 'De Kayersheerdt'. One group is held from 10.00-13.00h (10 guilders) and one group from 13.00-
18.00h (15 guilders). Parents/others interested are also welcome, entry fee is the same.
3. Are you interested in this? Yes/no
On April 4 and May 2 there are again OSBO trainings (trainers: Marc Jonker, Renate Limbach,
Dharma Tjiam, Theo Hommeles). Subject is 'the pawn'. A pawn looks insignificant, but don't be
fooled ...
Together these trainings cost 30 guilders (half of this amount if you are unable to attend on one of
the days, e.g. because of spring holiday).
4. Do you want to receive more information about this? Yes/no
Simul by Sergey Parmon
On March 1, the Belorussian trainer Sergey Parmon will give a simultaneous display for adult
players of De Schaakmaat. Place: De Drie Ranken. Start: 19.00h (until approximately 21.00h).
Youth players and their parents are also allowed to take part. Entry is free.
Will you be coming too? Yes/no
Inquiry youth players De Schaakmaat, Part B
For some time we have been doing some extra things for youth players of De Schaakmaat. You
don't have to take part in every activity, because we are a club that wants to offer something to
suit all tastes.
We want to ask you a quite large number of questions about this. Your answers will help us find
out how we should do different kinds of activities. If you find the questions difficult, your parents
can help you.
If your answer is too long, you can use the back of this sheet to write more. We think it is very
important that everyone thinks along about the club and gives his opinion. It's a long list, but this
information is very important for the club.
The inquiry also has a separate part that has to be filled in by your parents or guardians.
A report on the inquiry will appear in De Koningsvleugel (i.e. club bulletin 'The Kingside'). In
response to your answers we may contact you.
Delete where appropriate.
You can hand in the inquiry to Hessel Visser or Karel van Delft.
De Koningsvleugel
1. Do you read De Koningsvleugel? yes / no
2. What do you find interesting in De Koningsvleugel?
3. Have you ever written anything in De Koningsvleugel? yes / no
4. Would you want to write in De Koningsvleugel (e.g. a report on a match, or an analysis).
yes / no If yes, what?
5. Have you read the blue issue of De Koningsvleugel about training activities? yes/no If yes,
what did you think of it?
6. Do you have any ideas about how De Koningsvleugel can be improved?
Schakend Nederland (i.e. 'Chess in The Netherlands', official magazine of the Dutch chess federation
KNSB, nowadays called: SchaakMagazine)
1. Do you read the Youth section of Schakend Nederland (the yellow section)? yes / no
2. Do you read the rest of Schakend Nederland? yes / no
3. If yes, what do you think of Schakend Nederland (what is especially interesting, what do
you miss, what remarks do you have)?
4. Do you solve the diagram quiz (you can send it in)? yes / no
Chess magazines
1. Do you subscribe to chess magazines? yes / no
Which ones?
2. If yes, what do you think of them?
Step-by-step lessons
1. Do you attend Step-by-Step lessons? yes / no
2. \"Jhat do you think of these?
Too fast / too slow / tempo is just right / boring / interesting
3. Is there something else you would want to do during the lessons? yes / no
If yes, what?
Simultaneous display
Now and then an adult player gives a simultaneous display.
1. Have you ever taken part in such an event? yes / no
2. Should we go on organizing such events? yes / no
Club competition
1. Until when do you usually notate your moves?
2. Do you think the playing hall is quiet enough? yes / no
3. Are there things that irritate you? If yes, what?
4. Do you get enough time to think? yes / no
If no, how much time would you want?
5. Is there anything you would want to be arranged differently? If yes, what?
OSBO competition
1. Are you taking part in the OSBO competition at the moment? yes / no
2. If yes, how do you like it?
3. Are there things that could be better arranged?
4. Do you want to play next season? yes / no
1. Have you taken part in the OSBO championship in De Stolp? yes / no
2. If yes, how would you evaluate the organization?
3. Will you take part in the Apeldoorn Championship? yes / no
4. Do you want to take part in the Open Dutch Youth Championship in Hengelo this fall (this
will last one week, we're going with a number of players)? yes / no
5. In the summer, do you want to take part in the Open Dutch Championship in Dieren
(duration: one week, you can take part in the C- or B-group as a youth player)? yes / no
6. Would you take part if an Apeldoorn blitz championship were organized (1 day)? yes / no
7. Would you take part if an Apeldoorns rapid championship were organized (1 day)? yes / no
8. Do you (or your parents) have any objections against the organization of activities on
Sundays? yes / no
9. In which other championships have you taken part?
10. Can you remember any pleasant experiences which De Schaakmaat can use as models?
Analysing after the game
From 1l.00-13.00h you can analyse your game in a separate room. There will be various adult
players who can help you with this. Analysing is important, because if you want to become a better
player, you have to reflect on your experiences. This is important for all players, even if you are only
five years old. If your opponent does not feel like it, you can also analyse with someone else who
is sitting by himself, or with an adult player.
1. Have you ever analysed a game at the club? yes / no
2. Have you ever analysed with an adult player? yes / no
If yes, how did this go?
3. Will you analyse your games at the club in the future? yes / no
4. Do you have any further remarks on this subject?
Analysis questionnaire
In the blue issue of De Koningsvleugel there were a long and a short questionnaire that you can
use when analysing your games.
1. Have you ever analysed with this? yes / no
2. If yes, did you use the long or the short version?
3. If yes, what did you think if it? Do you have any suggestions for improvements on the list?
Notice board
1. Do you think the notice board is well organized? yes / no
2. What could be improved?
Picture survey
1. Is your picture already in the picture survey (who's who at De Schaakmaat)? yes / no
2. Do you find the picture survey useful?
Ceefax, newspapers, books, library
1. Do you ever follow the chess news on Ceefax? yes / no
2. Do you ever play through games from a newspaper? yes / no
3. Do you ever borrow books on chess from the library? yes / no
4. Which books do you find good, and possibly interesting for other youth players?
5. Via De Schaakmaat you can order the book '400 Kurzpartien' (400 short games, arranged
according to 50 different openings) for 7 guilders. They are easily understandable, even
without knowledge of the German language. Are you interested in this? yes / no
Training groups
A number of players really want to practise chess as a sport. This is not obligatory, but it is possible
at De Schaakmaat. At the moment there are 19 youth players in training groups. This means
that they regularly visit an adult trainer at home (mostly two times a month) to analyse, study
openings, attend theory lessons, etcetera.
These players are also required to do some work at home, and in between trainings they gather
together regularly. So the trainer's function is to support, not to explain everything over and over
1. If you are not in such a group already, would you be interested to join one for the next
season? yes / no
2. If you are in such a group, what are your experiences up till now? (which subjects do you
like, which subjects don't you like, what could be improved?)
Opening study
A chess game begins with an opening. It is quite useful to know a little more about openings. This
already happens in training groups, and Merijn is writing a series in De Koningsvleugel (which is
useful to collect!).
Also, we have decided that once a month an opening will be discussed at the club (from 12.30-
13.30h). These trainings are given by adult players. We have already had one training. With the
eight players that were present (a number of players couldn't make it due to their participation
in championships) it was decided that we will use the following procedure: Beforehand you get
information (on a few sheets) which you study by yourself. The training starts with a simultaneous
display (half an hour) where you are obliged to play a certain opening. In the second half hour the
opening will be discussed by looking at one of the games played in the simultaneous display. The
dates will always be announced a few weeks before the event.
1. Do you want to regularly take part in this? yes / no
2. Are you unable to come (because you have another sport in the afternoon) but do you
want to receive the information? yes / no
3. Which opening would you like to discuss?
4. Which openings are you playing yourself already?
Some players would like to do more work on chess at home, but they don't know how to go about
this. At the club we can help you with that.
1. Would you like to have a talk about how you can spend more time on chess at home? yes
/ no
Chess diary
1. Have you read in De Koningsvleugel why a diary can be useful? yes / no
2. Are you keeping a chess diary? yes / no
3. Do you want to be shown an example and receive help with starting a chess diary? yes /
Extra club trainings
On January 24 there was a training in De Kayersheerdt about the Timman-Short match. Marc
Jonker analysed a game and gave a simultaneous display. Each participant paid 5 guilders to cover
the expenses. 13 youth players and 5 parents were present.
1. If you have attended this training, what did you think of it? Do you think activities like this
should be organized more often?
2. If you have not taken part, would you like to take part in such events in the future? yes /
3. Do you have any ideas about possible activities? Which ones?
Training trip / double training
A number of youth players are developing strongly. This leads to a demand for good/varied training
opportunities. The idea has been suggested to look outside the OSBO area for other clubs to
occasionally organize things together.
For example: a day's visit (probably on a Sunday) to another town, playing a team match, analysing
with your opponents (with adult supervision) - then a chess lesson by a good player about a certain
subject, and a simul as a dessert. In between events there is a collective lunch. And one month
later we receive the same club in our town.
1. Would you like to take part in such an event?
2. Do you have any more ideas about this? Such as?
1. Are you interested in borrowing an (English-language) video about Bobby Fischer or Garry
Kasparov (interviews and games)? yes / no
2. Do you possess any video material yourself that may be interesting for other players at the
club (e.g. T matches in Germany)? yes / no
For girls
A while ago, former Dutch Women's Champion Renate Limbach gave an afternoon training about a
number of different chess subjects to six girls from De Schaakmaat (for a small fee).
1. Are you interested in this? yes / no
Chess weekend
Many sport clubs have a yearly sport weekend on a farm, or something like that. A number of De
Schaakmaat members thinks this would be a good idea for our club as well.
1. Would you also like to have such a weekend? yes / no
2. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for this?
Special trainings
Last year, Merijn, Jelmar, and two other OSBO players trained one afternoon with Dimitri Reinderman
(Dutch youth champion and the junior no. 3 in the world!). The participants paid for this themselves,
but the costs weren't very high (what do tennis lessons or piano lessons cost?). Something like this
could possibly be organized again in the future.
1. Are you interested in this?
2. Do you have any suggestions for this?
Correspondence chess (playing chess by letter or by postcard)
This is a useful, instructive and enjoyable pastime! Hessel Visser is the secretary of the Dutch
Federation of Correspondence Chess Players. Erik and Jeroen are taking part in an official
competition. Jelmar, Merijn and Emile play correspondence chess with former Open Dutch champion
Nico Schouten. But you can also do this with a friend.
1. Do you already play correspondence chess? yes / no
2. Do you want to know more about this? yes / no
Chess computers
1. Do you ever play against a chess computer at home? yes / no
2. If yes, against which program?
3. Have you ever played against a computer with a friend (by consulting someone you can
learn a lot)? yes / no
4. There is a possibility to organize a lesson about NICbase (a chess program with many
search options). Are you interested in this? yes / no
Tournament of generations
1. Do you think it would be nice to play a tournament with adults once a year? yes / no
2. Do you have any ideas about this (for example, having a very good player give a
simultaneous display, etcetera)?
1. Do you want to be informed about championships and tournaments outside Apeldoorn?
2. On the Queen's Birthday there is a tournament for mixed teams of various ages (with a
youth leader) in Den Bosch. Would you like to compete in this? yes / no
School chess
1. What school do you go to?
2. Is chess being played at your school? yes / no
3. If yes, what activities are taking place?
4. Do they also have activities that might be good for De Schaakmaat? Such as?
1. What do you like most about De Schaakmaat?
2. What do you dislike most about De Schaakmaat?
Other things
Are there any other chess activities that you do which have not been discussed here, and which
may be a good idea for others as well?
What can be improved at De Schaakmaat
Please write down below all the ideas that you have about things that could be improved at De
Schaakmaat, or things that you miss.
As a chess club, De Schaakmaat tries to offer a programme that is as complete as possible. We
want to accommodate the recreational chess player who wants to learn some theory (Step-by-Step
Method) alongside another sport he may be doing, and just wants to play a nice game of chess.
We also want to offer opportunities to top-class chess players (a number of youth players are
competing on national level). We think that these two approaches can go hand in hand. Also, we
are a large club (roughly 90 senior members and roughly 90 youth members). This requires a good
organization of a number of things. Commitment of (youth) members and parents is an important
factor here. This is also the purpose of this inquiry. So we would like to ask you to kindly fill in this
inquiry and, where necessary, help your child to fill it in.
1. Do you read the youth bulletin De Koningsvleugel yourself? yes / no
2. Are you (which one of the parents/guardians) involved in the youth section? Which tasks
do you perform?
3. Would it be possible for you to come and help in the coming season (we may be needing
your help several times a year for certain tasks)? Please circle which activities you would
want to do or continue doing.
Please also indicate which one of the parents/guardians
sweets stall
supervision OSBO team
giving Step-by-Step lessons
driving to tournaments
supervision of training group
editing De Koningsvleugel
being in charge of the playing hall during competition
help with analyses 1l.00-13.00h
help with opening study
o I want more information about the possibilities
4. Do you think the membership fee is high / low / just right?
5. Would you be prepared to pay a higher membership fee if this means that there will be
more and better facilities available for the youth section? yes / no
How high a raise would be acceptable?
6. Do you think that now and then the club should be allowed to use money from the general
fund to hire an external trainer (e.g. Marc Jonker or Renate Limbach), or do you think that
the participants of these trainings should pay for this themselves? (the background of this
question is that some people think that paying (top) trainers is principally incorrect and
that this should be paid for by those involved, while others think that free participation will
be an incentive, and that such things are normal for a (mind) sport club. )
Please circle what we should do in your opinion
Financed by general fund
Participants pay themselves
Don't know
7. Karel van Delft has written a brochure on sport psychology and coaching for youth players.
On February 4 and 25, two meetings have been arranged with close to twenty interested
Knowledge of psychology is useful for chess players. You can:
Learn more efficiently and more effectively, and with more motivation;
Learn to think more economically/more systematically;
Learn about self-management (self-confidence, concentration, etc.).
Knowledge of psychology is also useful for supervisors (e.g. didactics, communication). Good
quality supervision is important not only in top-class sport. After all, sports are mostly pursued for
fun, and the quality of the supervision can be important for the personal education of the player.
We should add here that going in for top-class sport (within the limits of their possibilities) can
have a very positive effect on children. The brochure consists of 52 pages in AS format and costs
5 guilders.
Are you interested in this brochure? yes / no
8. Are you satisfed with the current club accommodation?
A. yes
B. no
C. don't know
D. suggestion for accommodation:
9. Have you read the blue issue of De Koningsvleugel (named 'chess psychaos') about training
possibilities? yes / no
Do you have any remarks on this? If yes, which?
10. What do you think of the idea of seeking sponsors for extra activities?
A. for
B. against
C. don't know
Do you have any suggestions for sponsors, or do you have contacts with possible sponsors?
11. What could be improved at our club in your opinion? Do you have any other remarks or

Activity - effectiveness of pieces
Adjournment - break during a game, which is continued later
Advanced Chess - chess variant where consultation of computers is allowed
Aiming - bringing a piece, via a threat, to a square where it can attack
Algebraic notation - notation system that codes moves with letters and numbers
Ambition - goal which a player wants to achieve
Analysis - investigation of a position
Analysis questionnaire - questionnaire that enables the user to analyse a position systematically
Angstgegner - weaker or equivalent opponent against whom performance is bad
Annotated games - games with annotations in words and/or variations
Arbiter - referee in chess
Artistic aspects - esthetic qualities of a position
Attack - activity aimed at assailing the enemy position
Audience - spectators at a chess game
Back rank - first or eighth rank on the board, 'bottom rank'
Back-rank mate - mate with rook or queen on the bottom rank
Backward pawn - pawn that is less far advanced than its colleagues and cannot be protected by
Bad bishop - a bishop that is hindered by its own pawns standing on the same colour
Bad form/Loss of form - a player performs below his normal level
Battery - two pieces standing on one file, rank or diagonal, making a combination possible
Bind - grip on the position, and the space advantage that goes with it
Bishop endgame, Bishop ending - endgame/ending where there are only bishops and pawns left
on the board
Bishop pair - two bishops, as opposed to e.g. bishop and knight, or two knights
Blindfold chess - variant where the players do not see board and pieces, they must visualize them
in their heads
Blitz - a chess game with a very short time-control, often fve minutes per player per game
Blitz tournament - tournament with games with a very short time-control
Blockade - stopping an opponent's pawn by putting a piece on the square before it
Blunder - a grave mistake that results in a great disadvantage
Board - the playing field, consisting of 64 squares
Bolthole - playing a pawn forward to prevent the own king to fall victim to a back-rank mate
(also: luf)
Boxing in - to deprive a piece of the possibility to escape (also: 'enclosing')
Breakthrough - when a pawn breaks through the enemy lines
Brilliancy prize - prize for the most beautiful game in a tournament
Browsing - spontaneous and unordered investigation of interesting issues
Buchholz - criterium to determine the final rankings or the pairings by looking at the opposition
each player has faced
Bye - free round
Caissa - goddess of chess
Calculating ability - the ability to calculate variations
Calculation - ascertaining with the help of variations where a combination leads to
Candidate moves - moves that come into consideration to be played
Capturing - conquering a piece or pawn of the opponent
Castling - playing king and rook in one move
Centralization - putting pieces in the middle of the board
Centre - the four central squares of the chess board
Character - mental qualities of a person
Chasing - forcing an enemy piece with threats to go to a certain square
Check - the king is under attack
Checkmate - see 'Mate'
ChessBase - German chess publisher
Chess clock - clock that registers how much thinking time players use
Chess club - club where chess is being played
Chess column - column in a medium about a chess subject
Chess computer - computer with which chess games can be played
Chess computer program - program for playing or analysing chess on a computer
Chess culture - circumstances where there is a lot of attention for chess in many ways
Chess development - the development of chess skills
Chess didactics - method of teaching chess
Chess During the Day - organization that allows people to play in a chess competition during the
Chess festival - event with numerous chess activities
Chess Informant - a chess periodical with opening variations, published in Serbia
Chess newspaper - newspaper which is entirely devoted to chess, like 'Schaakkrant Apeldoorn' in
The Netherlands
Chess machine - device that can play chess, predecessor of the chess computer
Chess pedagogics - method of chess education
Chess psychology - psychological knowledge of behaviour concerning chess
Chess video - video about a chess subject
Clock simul - simultaneous display where players get a fixed amount of time
Closed game - way of playing where many lines are blocked by pawns
Closed Games - openings that start with the moves l.d2-d4 d7-d5
Club bulletin - bulletin published by a club for its members
Coach - someone who supervises a player
Colour - the colour with which someone plays, i.e. white or black
Colour complex - a group of squares of the same colour, i.e. white or black, on the board
Combination - forced sequence of moves with the aim to achieve an advantage
Compensation - when a material disadvantage is counterbalanced by other factors
Competition - system of matches where individuals or teams play against each other
Competition rules - rules concerning a competition
Composer - someone who creates chess studies/problems
Computer chess - chess with a computer
Concentration - when thinking is focused on a certain task
Condition - (physical) shape
Connected passed pawns - two or more passed pawns on adjacent files, cooperating
Constructive thinking - systematic, purposeful, efficient and effective thinking
Consultation game - game where players are allowed to consult each other
Coordinates - letters and numbers that are used to indicate the squares on the chess board
Correspondence chess - playing a game via mail or email
Counterplay - the player who has had to defend until a certain moment becomes active
Courage - the readiness to take risks
Creative thinking - thinking with an eye for unexpected possibilities
Critical position - decisive moment in a game
Crosspin - a pin is crossed by a pin by the opponent
Cup matches - matches in a system of elimination, only the winners qualify for the next round
Database - data carrier in a computer
Decisiveness - ability to take decisions
Decoy/diversion - enticing a piece to move to a certain square where it can be attacked
Defence - taking measures against an attack
Defection - enticing a piece to move to a certain square where it can no longer fulfill a certain
Demonstration board - big chess board against a wall on which a game can be explained
Desperado - sacrificing a piece which is lost anyway
Development - the extent to which pieces have been brought into play
DGT - Digital Game Timer, digital chess clock
Diagonal - a diagonal line on the board
Diagram - picture of a chess position
Diary - notebook where instructive facts are recorded
Didactics - the method of teaching
Discovered attack - remove a piece to enable a piece behind it to attack
Discovered check - remove a piece to enable a piece behind it to give check
Double attack - when a piece or a pawn attacks two targets (piece, pawn, square or king)
Double check - two pieces give check with one move
Doubled pawn - two pawns of the same colour on the same file
Draw - game ends undecided
Dream position - a position with a great advantage
Drive - the extent to which someone is able to keep taking blows while striving to achieve his
Dynamic chess - playing style with much activity, contrary to static chess
Eliminate - beat a player, who is then cut out from a tournament; also: capturing a piece
Elo system - system with rating points, devised by professor Arpad Elo, which indicates playing
Email newsletter - newsletter distributed via email
Emotions - feelings
Empathy - the ability to sense another's feelings
Enclosing - to deprive a piece of the possibility to escape (also 'boxing in')
Encyclopedia - book of reference on a certain theme, for example openings or endgames
Endgame/ending - final phase of a game, when there are few pieces left on the board
Endgame study - composed endgame position
Energy management - management of own amount of energy
English notation - certain notation system developed in England
En passant - when an enemy pawn has moved two squares on the previous move, ending up
next to the opponent's pawn, it is captured by the latter in such a way as if it had moved only one
Escape square - square to which a king or a piece can escape
Euwe - the only Dutch World Chess Champion, author of many chess books
Exchange sacrifce - exchange of a rook for a bishop or knight
Exchanging - both players capture a piece from the opponent
Exercises - activities aimed at improving skills
Experience - events that a player lives through in games
Experimenting - trying out possibilities
False negative - wrongfully assessed as insufficient
False positive - wrongfully assessed as suffcient
Falsification - checking if something is untrue
Fascination - great enthusiasm about something
Fear of failure - the fear of not achieving a certain goal
Fianchetto - placement of a bishop on square b2, g2, b7 or g7.
FIDE - world chess federation (Federation Internationale des
FIDE master - title bestowed by FIDE on a player who has an Elo rating of 2300 or more
File - eight vertically adjacent squares
File clearance - opening a file by playing a piece or a pawn
Fixation of thought - being focused on a certain thought, which makes you miss other things
Flag - part of a mechanical chess clock which indicates when a game is lost by falling down
Flank - one half of the board: kingside or queenside
Flexibility - versatility
Flow - excellent frame of mind with characteristics like total concentration
Fool's Mate - the end of the shortest possibe chess game: 1. f3 eS, 2. g4 Qh4 mate
Force - impose a continuation upon the opponent in a forceful way
Fork - when a pawn or knight attacks two or more pieces at once
Fortress - position that is defendable in spite of a material disadvantage
Four-column notation - notation of a game in several columns as a training procedure (in this
variant, expected and possible moves are also put on paper)
Four-event match - four chess players each play one game against each other
Fritz - computer chess program
Fun - enjoying the game of chess, which contributes to the development of talent
Gambit - way of playing where material is sacrificed in the opening
Game - chess contest
Game analysis - investigation of the developments in a game
Game collection - publication of a number of games, e.g. of a certain player, in one volume
Game quiz - questions about a game with which points can be gained
Garde clock - chess clock with mechanical works
Gens Una Sumus - 'We are one family', the motto of world chess federation FIDE
Glanzpartie - brilliant game
Goal setting - determining which goal must be achieved
Golden rules - 1. pawns in the centre, 2. develop pieces, 3. bring king into safety
Good bishop - bishop that isn't hindered by its own pawns standing on the same colour
Grandmaster - title bestowed by world chess federation FIDE, requirements: three grandmaster
norms and an Elo rating of minimally 2500
Grandmaster draw - the players agree to share the point without a struggle
Group training - training in a group
Half-open file - file which is closed off only on one side by a pawn
Hash table - memory function of a chess computer with earlier moves and evaluations
Helpmate - when mate is made possible by a move of the opponent
Hole - a square that cannot be protected by a pawn any more
ICC - Internet Chess Club, online chess club
Imaginative power - the extent to which a player can imagine variations
In-between/intermediate check - giving check to the enemy king during a combination
In-between/intermediate move - move which thwarts an intended plan
Individual training course - training programme of an individual player
Initiative - taking the lead, determining the course of events
Insight - understanding of the way a process works
Inspiration - being motivated by a positive idea
Internal competition - competition between players of a club
International Master - title bestowed by world chess federation FIDE, requirements: three master
norms and an Elo rating of minimally 2400
Internet chess - chess via Internet
Interruption - neutralizing the effect of a piece along a file, rank or diagonal by interposing a
piece or a pawn
Intersubjectivity - to take into account the circumstances, the character, the qualities and the
style of the opponent
Intuition - subconsciously detecting patterns and establishing relationships
Investigating - finding out how something works
Isolani - see 'Isolated pawn'
Isolated pawn - pawn that has no adjacent pawns of the same colour
J'adoube - 'I touch', this is the term used by a player if he wants to adjust the pieces
Judgement ability - the extent to which a player is capable of evaluating a position
Keeping order - taking care that all those present observe the rules of conduct
Keizer system - a certain pairing system, popular in The Netherlands and Belgium
Key squares - crucial squares, e.g. in a pawn ending
Kiebitzer - onlooker at a chess game
Kingside - the side of the board where the king stands in the starting position
Knight endgame/ending - ending where there are only knights and pawns left on the board
Knight fork - a knight attacks two pieces at once
Knowledge - information concerning a certain theme
KNSB - Koninklijke Nederlandse Schaak Bond (i.e. Royal Dutch Chess Federation)
Lead in development - being better developed than the opponent
Learning programme - programme that serves to acquire knowledge, insight and skills
Learning skills - qualities to study well
Lightning Chess - chess games with maximally two minutes per player
Live commentary - explanation of games to visitors at a chess event
Logical thinking - systematic thinking according to the principles of logic
Long Algebraic notation - notation where both the starting square and the end square of a move
are written down
Loss on time - not making the required number of moves within the time-control
Luft - see 'Bolthole'
Magnet combination - piece sacrifice putting the enemy king, if it takes the sacrificed piece, on an
unfavourable square
Main line - the most important, most essential variation within an opening system
Major pieces - the queens and rooks
Manoeuvre - sequence of moves which serves to move a piece to a better square
Master - see 'International Master'
Match - contest between two players or teams
Mate - the king cannot escape the attack, the game is over
Material - the pieces and pawns
Material balance - the balance in value of the pieces and pawns on both sides
Mate threat - threat to give mate to the enemy king
Mating attack - attack on the enemy king
Mating net - the king is caught in a web of mate threats
Mentality - way of thinking, psychological disposition
Mental training - training of mental skills and mental insights
Mentor - supervisor of a pupil
Methodical approach - dealing with something in a systematic way
Middlegame - middle phase of a chess game
Miniature - a game that lasts maximally twenty moves
Minority attack - attack with pawns on a flank where the attacker has less pawns than the
Minor pieces - the knights and bishops
Minor promotion - promotion to a knight, bishop or rook instead of a queen
Motivation - factors that move someone to adopt certain behaviour
Move - a turn of a chess player who plays a piece or a pawn
Move repetition - repeating moves, resulting in the same position
Move transposition - alternative move order which leads to the same position
Natural move - move that looks obvious and logical
New in Chess - Dutch (English-language) chess publisher
N. N. - nomen nescio, name of the player is unknown
Notate - write down the moves of a game
Notation - the moves of a game put on paper
Notation book - booklet with game notations
Novelty - a good move that has not been played before
Octopus - strong knight on the sixth (for White) or third (for Black) rank
Odds game - game where one player starts with a pawn or a piece less
Olympiad - most important international competition of world chess federation FIDE
Open file - fil e that has no pawns on it
Open game - way of playing where the position contains many open lines
Open Games - openings that start with the moves l.e4-e4 e7-eS
Opening - first phase of a game
Opening repertoire - the collection of opening systems employed by a player
Opening trap - a trick to provoke a mistake in the opening
Opposite-coloured bishops - a light-squared versus a dark-squared bishop
Opposition - kings are opposite each other with an odd number of squares between them; the
king that is not to move is said to have the 'opposition'
Optimism - full confidence in a positive outcome
Outpost - a square situated deep inside the enemy position
Pairing table - table showing which participants are to play each other
Parents meeting - meeting where a trainer/coach speaks with parents
Parrying - averting/fending off an attack
Passed pawn - pawn that meets no enemy pawn
Patience - calmly waiting for the possibilities to come
Pattern - motif, the way in which pieces and pawns are arranged on the board
Pattern recognition - recognition of patterns (with corresponding characteristics)
Patzer - weak player
Pawn endgame/ending - endgame where only pawns are left on the board
Pawn chain - a group of connected pawns
Pawn fork - a pawn attacking two pieces at once
Pawn majority - one of the players has more pawns on a certain flank
Pawn race - pawns try to promote earlier than enemy pawns
Pawn sacrifce - giving away a pawn in order to achieve a certain advantage
Pawn structure - the way in which pawns are arranged on the board
Pedagogics - educational science
Performance readiness - to be prepared to make an achievement, which requires effort and
Performance goal - to be focused on playing a good game
Perpetual check - when continuous checks can be given to the enemy king
Personality development - development of characteristic features of a person
PGN - portable game notation, a computer format for saving games
Piece - king, queen, rook, bishop, knight
Piece mobility - amount of space that pieces have to move
Piece sacrifice - to allow a piece to be captured in order to achieve a certain advantage
Pin (relative, absolute) - because of a threat, a piece cannot be moved
Plan - way of playing in order to achieve a certain goal
Playing tempo - the amount of time that players get for a game
Ply - a half-move, i.e. a move by White or Black only
Poisoned pawn - pawn that cannot be taken on the penalty of a disadvantage
Position - certain configuration of pieces and pawns
Positional advantage - pieces have more infl uence than the enemy pieces
Positional play - putting the pieces on squares where they exert optimum influence
Positive reinforcement - stimulating certain behaviour by rewarding it
Post mortem - 'after death': analysis after a game
Preparation for a game - work systematically before a game in order to play optimally
Preparation move - move which enables a certain combination
Private trainer - a trainer who coaches an individual
Problem (chess) - constructed positions where the king must be mated in a certain number of
Problem-solving ability - extent to which someone is able to solve difficulties
Process orientedness - when a development follows a certain process
Promotion - a pawn reaches the other side of the board and changes into a piece of the player's
Prophylaxis - anticipating the opponent's move while improving the own position at the same
Protect - defend a piece in such a way that the enemy attacking piece can be recaptured
Pseudo-sacrifice - apparently giving away a piece, but winning it back
Psychology - science that studies behaviour, thinking, feelings
Psychological flaws - the inability to perform certain mental actions
Public relations (pr) - communication with groups inside and outside an organization
Purposiveness - when all activities serve to achieve a certain goal
Quadrant - a square; e. g. a king can stop a pawn that i s wi thin its quadrant or 'square'
Queen endgame/ending - ending where there are only queens and pawns left on the board
Queenside - the side of the board where the queens stand in the starting position
Quick play - using little thinking time for each move
Quiet move - move that does not immediately attack anything, but turns out to be devastating
on the next move
Rampant rook - rook that wants to be captured constantly, with the aim of stalemate
Rank - eight horizontally adjacent squares
Rapid chess - chess game with a short time-control (mostly 25 minutes per player)
Rating - number that signifies playing strength
Repetition - going through subject matter more than once; an important teaching principle
Resign - admit to the opponent that the game is lost
Result-oriented play - the result of the game (i.e. a win, or a draw) is the first priority
Retrograde analysis - finding out, by reasoning backwards, which moves have led to a certain
Romantic chess - chess style from the 19th century where a lot of material was sacrificed
Rook endgame/ending - endgame/ending where only rooks and pawns are left on the board
Rook's pawn - pawn on the edge of the board
Round robin - tournament system where every player is paired once against every other player
Royal game - an epithet of the game of chess
Rules of the game - the rules of chess, established by FIDE
Rules of thumb - general rules that are helpful with an assessment
Russian chess school - chess culture with good trainers, hard work, many strong opponents
Sacrifce - to give away material in exchange for a certain advantage
SBSA - Stichting Bevorderen Schaken Apeldoorn (i.e. Foundation for the Promotion of Chess in
Apel doorn)
Scenario - survey in which organizational tasks of an event are described
Scheveningen system - kind of match where team members play all the members of another
Scholar's Mate - quick victory via a combined attack on f7 by queen and bishop
School chess - playing chess on schools
Scoresheet - form on which the game is notated
Sea-snake - game that lasts more than 100 moves
Second - assistant of a player during a tournament or match
Self-teaching - tried-and-tested procedure that is advantageous for chess talents
Self-confidence - the knowledge that one has sufficient qualities for a performance
Self-criticism - being critical of oneself
Sel f-management - keeping oneself under control and judging oneself realistically
Self-study - study completed individually by a chess player, without supervision
Seventh rank - on this rank, major pieces are often dangerous
Short notation - form of notation with the letter of the piece and the coordinates of the square
where it ends up
Simultaneous display - when a chess player takes on several opponents at once
Sitzfleisch - the ability to play accurately for a long time
Skills - capacities, qualities
Smothered mate - mate with the knight, when the enemy king is boxed in by its own pieces
Social determinants - social factors that influence the development of chess talent
Sonneborn-Berger system - system for determining the final rankings in a tournament
Space - squares on the board that are available to a player
Space advantage - one of the players controls more squares
Sponsoring - supporting a chess organization or a chess activity fnancially or materially
Sportsmanship - playing mentality that shows respect for the opponent
Square (1) - the chessboard has 64 squares, each square can contain one piece or pawn
Square ( 2) - see Quadrant
Square clearance - by playing a piece or a pawn, a square is vacated
Stalemate - when a player can make no legal moves but is not mated; draw
Stamina - condition that enables a player to finish a performance, cope with setbacks, react with
Staunton chess pieces - certain trend-setting design of chess pieces
Steinitz, Elements of - frst World Champion, he described a number of important characteristics
in chess positions
Step-by-Step Method - popular method to teach chess, devised by Rob Brunia and Cor van
Strength/weakness analysis - inventarisation of good and bad qualities of a chess player
Strong square - a square that cannot be attacked, and from where a piece exerts a lot of
Strategy - a general plan to achieve a goal
Stress - mental tension
Students' chess - a certain match form: the winner of the game gets one minute less in the next
Study - learning systematically about chess, also: endgame study
Style - manner of playing, which differs for each chess player
Swindle - trick to save a hopeless position
Swiss system - a certain pairing system for tournaments
Tactic - concrete sequence of moves, combination
Tactical exercises - positions for developing tactical skills
Talent - innate qualities
Target - square, pawn, piece, or king at which an attack is aimed
Task readiness - willingness to perform a certain task
Tasks of team captain - tasks performed by a team captain to make sure that a match develops
Team captain - the coach of a chess team
Team competition - competition against other clubs
Team training - collective training of team members
Technique - procedures with certain characteristics
Tempo - a move
Tempo gain - to gain an extra move for free (by means of a threat, for instance)
Tempo loss - a useless move
Text move - the move actually played in a game (i.e. not in the given variations)
Thematic position - position with typical features
Theme tournament - tournament where everyone is obliged to play a certain opening (variation)
Theory - the body of knowledge of moves that are considered good
Thinking ahead - thinking about positions that can occur at the end of variations
Thinking process - the way in which thinking goes
Threat - the possibility to achieve a certain advantage
Three-day chess - chess event that lasts three days
Time - the number of moves that make up a variation
Time-control - the amount of thinking time a player has at his disposal in a game
Time management - using the thinking time in a controlled way
Time-trouble - too little time to judge a position properly
Time use - the way in which a player manages his thinking time
Touch-move - if a player touches a piece, he must make a move with it
Tournament - contest with more than one round
Tournament book - book with reports on a tournament (with games, result tables, pictures, etc.)
Tournament bulletin - bulletin with a report on (a round of) a tournament
Tournament visit - watching or taking part in a chess tournament
TPR - tournament performance rating: the rating score of a player in a certain tournament
Trainer - coach who indicates how a chess player can practise
Training - situation where chess skills are practised
Training decathlon - practising different chess skills in ten different items
Training partner - partner with whom a chess player trains together
Training scheme - scheme that indicates what, where, when and how trainings take place
Trap - a move or plan that entices the opponent to make a wrong move
Triangulation - playing the king over three squares in order to lose a tempo
Trick - technical or psychological pitfall
Tripled pawn - three pawns of the same colour on one file
TWIC - 'The Week In Chess', well-known online chess magazine
Unprotectable - a piece, pawn or square cannot be defended
Unprotected piece - piece that is not defended
Value of the pieces - the power of pieces expressed in numbers
Variation - certain continuation starting from a position
Variation calculation - calculation of possible variations
Variation tree - series of possible move sequences starting from a position
Variety - regularly doing other things; an important teaching principle
Verbalization - to put an idea into words
Verification - checking if something is true
Visualization - conjuring up positions to your mind's eye
Visualization ability - the ability to assess positions and variations in your head
Waiting move - move that does not worsen the own position and deliberately leaves the initiative
to the opponent
Weakening - when a position gets less possibilities and more restrictions
Weakness - part of a position where the opponent can seize an advantage
Weak pawns - pawns that cannot be defended, or only with difficulty
Weak square - square on which the opponent has a lot of influence
Workshop - training procedure where there is much space for spontaneous ideas
X-ray attack - an attacking piece looks through an enemy piece to a target
X-ray check - an attacking piece looks through the enemy king to an enemy piece
Zugzwang - being forced to make a move that worsens one's own position
ZwickmLhle - repetitive discovered check which enables a player to win a number of pieces