This Saturday, the Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago will hold a scholastic chess tournament at Bell Elementary School, where they will introduce a new competition section for “novices,” kids who are playing in their very first tournament. The idea is to get novices playing other novices and avoid having some 8th-grade “Beginner” who’s played in ten tournaments but not yet advanced to Intermediate crush some kindergartener like an aluminum can and scare the latter away from chess competition forever.
Okay, so maybe the imagery is a bit over the top, but you get the idea. I think it’s a good one.
At least three Ray kids plan to play in the Novice section, and for them, as well as anyone else who needs a refresher on the basics for tournament play, we offer these aides for brushing up. The things your child should be prepared with are:
- Scholar’s Mate. Know how to use it and how to avoid having it used on you. Go here and here for the details.
- Basic Checkmates. The two main ones are rook & king vs. king and queen & king vs. king. These are basic techniques that are used to finish the kind of endgames that frequently come up. Once your child masters the techniques, winning these games is second nature.
- Opening Guidelines. Go here for the most common openings.
- Review GM Arthur Bisguier’s Ten Tips for Winning Chess.
Review these as well as you can with your kids before Saturday, and they should be ready. Now, as Bruce Pandolfini would say, go out there and be brilliant.