15 December 2016

Pattern Training

During the last sessions before the holiday break, I sought to impress upon my young students a benefit that comes from tactics training. Work enough problems and patterns from training start appearing in one's own games.

The beginning students started with the Pawn Award: Checkmates and Tactics worksheet. This worksheet has six positions in which White can deliver checkmate on the move. I was happy that many of them were able to solve most of the problems rather quickly. Even so, one problem continues to prove difficult for beginners. As there is only one move that checks the enemy king, the difficulty beginners have in finding this move perplexes me.

White to move

After completing the six exercises, I showed two more positions to the beginning students. One is problem 10 on the Knight Award: Checkmates and Tactics worksheet. I gave each student a copy of the worksheet and directed their attention to number 10.

White to move

The position comes from Horvath -- Vigus, Haarlem 1998. I did not expect the beginners to solve it. I let them guess for a few minutes, then walked them through the solution. I sought to get them to imagine the sequence of moves in their head as I described them. A few could "see" it.

Then, I directed the students' attention to the demo board, where there was a position from a game that I played earlier this week. I wanted them to see how the solution found by Horvath and my game featured essentially the same pattern.

White to move

My advanced students saw only the second and third diagrams. I expected them to be able to solve the two positions.

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