Learning From Each Other

Jose Raul Capablanca playing chess
“You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a
game you win. You will have to lose hundreds of games
before becoming a good player”
(Jose Raul Capablanca, child chess prodigy and 3rd world champion)
by Coach Luke
Every week, on the “Why The Winners Won” broadcast we look at actual games played by Silver Knights students in our online tournaments. Kids love sending in their games! I receive dozens of messages each week requesting that their game(s) be covered on the show. The games are not perfectly played but they are often perfect learning opportunities for our intermediate audience. As the coach, I try to collect examples illustrating how good tactics and technique were used to win the game. Sometimes, we even find examples where the winner perhaps should not have won after all.
During the show, I will frequently challenge students to “find a better move” or to “tell me why” a particular move was good or bad. We can then discuss the different suggestions and look at what might have happened next. In chess lingo, we call this “analysis” or a “post-mortem.” Analyzing a game with your opponent, coach, or a strong player is one of the best ways to improve at chess. Through this process you are able to talk about and compare each other’s ideas about the chess game. In a game where talking during competition is against the rules, analysis is your chance to have some healthy scientific debate.
Nothing makes me happier than to receive a message where the student has already reviewed their game and asks “what could I have done better?” One student wrote to me and said “I won but I’m pretty sure I should have lost because on move 41 my opponent could have played c3.” Clearly this student had spent some time going over the game on his own. It is that mindset that we seek to encourage through the “Why The Winners Won” show. During the show we analyzed a winning move the student could have played a few moves earlier. We all learn from each other!
Position after move 41 (black to move) - Student: “I think I should have lost if Black played pawn to c3”
chess diagram
Position after move 35 (white to move) - Coach: “Actually white could have won with a beautiful move (pawn to a4)”
chess diagram
We have an incredibly talented coaching team at Silver Knights and I am very proud to be part of that team. We teach chess but we also encourage kids to learn from each other and to investigate on their own. As a coach, I love to see kids playing chess and having fun but nothing makes me happier than hearing the question “what can I do better?”

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