FIRST RANK - Newsletter No.7 September 2018

First Rank - The Basic Problem is How to Teach

In this issue of First Rank we present ECU Education, and we discuss the main problem for CiS: How to teach Chess? Beside that there is a Weekly Minigame and Puzzle.

ECU Education - The Organisation Supporting the Development of Chess in Schools in Europe!

The ECU Education Commission started in 2014 with the goal to support the growing movement of using chess as a pedagogic tool. Since its inception, the Commission has been very active. Our first ECU School Chess Conference was held in Batumi, Georgia. A short video was made about the event in which interviews are made with some of the key people promoting chess in schools in Europe.

The Basic Problem is How to Teach!

Two years ago ECU Education made a survey on the CiS movements in Europe. The most striking thing was that every country was fighting with the same main problem: How to teach chess when the goal is to obtain social and intellectual benefits? First of all who should teach? When you teach you need skills in the subject and skills in teaching. Chess instructors has got knowledge in chess, but is fighting with the teaching skills, teachers are fighting with the opposite. What I believe in is teachers taking care of the younger years, maybe up to 10-11 years, after that there will be a need of more chess knowledge and the chess instructors can come in and train the most interested ones. The second problem is that the instruction materials normally focus on chess development, and not on the actual goals for CiS. This means that it is even more important to understand how to use the material, and to add good exercises beside the materials. In the ECU Education we believe that our most important task is to put a new standard of teaching chess, and that is why we have created The ECU School Chess Teacher Certificate and have started this newsletter. 

Jesper Hall
Chair, ECU Education

What is the ECU School Chess Teacher Certificate?

(The participants of the ECU Course in Uppsala 1-2 September)
  • The idea is to put a new standard of teaching chess in Europe!
  • To recieve the certificate you need to take part in a two-days-course. In the end of the course you need to pass a test.
  • The course is based on the SMART-Method, a method about how to teach!
  • The course is thought to be a supplement to what the federations and organizations already do.
  • Beside the basic course about how to teach, there will be add on courses on chess and mathematics, chess for early years, and chess for children with special needs.
  • Everyone taking part in the courses will join the network of licensed teachers sharing ideas and materials.
  • The course graduates are gathered in the database of licensed chess teachers that you find here
  • The courses have had 50% teachers and 50% instructors participating so far.
  • In the seven courses held 100% of the participants can recommend the course!

I want to take part in an ECU Course!

  • Ask your federation to arrange one! We are now ready to spread the course over Europe!
  • The next course will take place during the Chess Olympiad in Batumi 30 September - 1 October (Contact for information) 
  • One course is planned in London 10-11 december (Contact for information) 
  • More courses are likely to come during this autumn. They will be presented here: 

Facts about ECU Education

  • We are a Commission of the European Chess Union (ECU)
  • 54 countries belong to the ECU (much wider than the European Union)
  • The ECU Education was launched in 2014 in Troms√ł 
  • The goal for the commission is to develop chess as a pedagogic tool
  • The Commission comprises education experts from different countries
  • The ECU Academic Advisory Board includes distinguished professors
  • We have already run eight certificated training courses for school teachers

Minigame of the Week: The Knight Captures All

The most difficult piece to understand in the beginning is the knight. In his minigame the children will train the movements of the knight, and how to plan the best route. A great thing is that the children capture in almost every move, something that most children enjoy.

Do you want a translation of the newsletter into your language?

If you want a translation of the newsletter into your language you click on the bottom that bring you to the web version. At the top to the right you see a bottom "Translate". Press and find your language. Let the newsletter be translated. As it is an automatic translation it will not be a perfect one, but maybe the content will be easier for you to follow. 

The Chess Puzzle of the Week


Fool the computer

The computer is superior to humans in chess. The only situations they have problems with are when you have to sacrifice a lot of materials for long term advantages. 
In the puzzle below white is far behind from a material point of view and can only dream of making a draw. Can you make dream come true?

White to play and make a draw
(Answer below)

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Fool the computer
There is a solution that is difficult for the computer to find. The idea is to sacrifice pieces to be able to close the position. White should play:
1.Bc2-a4+ Kb5xa4 (1...Kb5-c4 2.Bc2-b3+ is not to recommend) 2.b2-b3+ Ka4-b5 3.c3-c4+ Kb5-c6 4.d4-d5+ Kc6-d7 5.e5-e6+ Kd7xd8 6.f4-f5 And now we have reached this position:

Humans can easily see that despite that black has got a great material advantage, there is no way to make progress as all black pieces are locked in by the white chain of pawns. The computer is not able to make such a judgement and thinks black is winning.
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