by Jeff Coakley
Winning Chess Exercises For Kids is a comprehensive workbook for students who have already developed some proficiency at basic tactics. Full of original material, itís an ideal study guide for practising the material presented in Winning Chess Strategy For Kids.
The main part of the book consists of 100 exercise sheets with nine diagrams each. The positions include forced checkmates, combinations that win material, defensive and general strategic problems, as well as endgames. The extensive solution pages give detailed analysis of both correct and incorrect moves. Important concepts are explained in clear and simple language.
Although it can be used independently, this book was designed as a companion to the authorís Winning Chess Strategy For Kids and Winning Chess Puzzles For Kids. Taken together, they provide a complete course of instruction for the aspiring young player.
From the authorís notes:
Chess exercises vary greatly in degree of difficulty. Finding the appropriate level for students is important. Problems should be hard enough to challenge them but also easy enough to keep them encouraged. The material in this book will be too difficult for many children. It is intended as a ďsecond levelĒ course. Young players with little experience should begin their studies with more basic tactical exercises, like those in Winning Chess Puzzles For Kids. Working through that ďfirst levelĒ material is good preparation for the more advanced exercises in this book.
Teachers should find the exercise sheets a useful resource. They are ideally suited for homework assignments. The focus is on tactics, but the inclusion of a strategic problem and an ending on each sheet makes for a complete program of study. Although the book can be used on its own, it was written as a companion volume to Winning Chess Strategy For Kids.
The majority of the examples are original compositions. Others were taken from various sources and altered, usually beyond recognition. Changes were made in order to clarify the solution, eliminate needless complications, adjust the level of difficulty, or otherwise make them more instructive. The general goal was to put the winning idea into a new setting.
The name Best Move Contest originated in the Saturday morning classes I taught at Bloor Collegiate in the early 90ís. The student with the top score actually won a prize!