At Magnus Chess Academy, we believe that small group chess lessons provide the ideal environment for children to learn and improve. Our experience of teaching over 100,000 children, both online and in schools, has shown this format works. This article will give more insights into the advantages of online chess coaching for children.
The Four Pillars of Chess Coaching for Kids
Magnus Chess Academy classes focus on providing four things:
- Expert instruction
- Positive feedback
- Fun game time
Each of these contributes to motivating your child to want to learn more and get better at the game.
Expert Chess Coaches
Our chess coaches are strong players… but they were once beginners too and understand why students see things in a particular way. This allows the coaches to bridge the gap between a player’s current understanding and a broader perspective that will help them find stronger moves.
It takes more than chess ability to be a good coach, however. Otherwise we would all have computers as coaches.
Computers are good at chess but not good teachers
The ability to communicate ideas and help children discover principles for themselves is what really makes the difference. Our coaches have a good mix of playing strength and experience teaching different skill levels and personality types, and understand how to get the best out of people.
As well as the on-the-board education, our coaches teach children about the practical side of the game. Things like proper etiquette in offering a draw, how to write down the moves, and how to manage their time in competitive games.
Positive Feedback in Online Chess Coaching
We know that students progress best when they are motivated, interested, and feel good about what they are doing. With this in mind, our coaches create a positive, safe environment where our students are encouraged to try things out and ask questions without fear of getting something wrong. Everything is a learning process and, with the right direction, even a “wrong” answer can lead to breakthroughs in understanding. We look to praise and reward students for their progress and effort wherever possible too.
A good coach will teach you and provide positive feedback
Feedback is more than just praise, however. When a student shows they have a particular strength or needs help in a specific area, our coaches will tailor the lessons to address these, perhaps asking the child to analyze the position to discover deeper truths. We also help students see losses as opportunities to learn and get better, a topic we explore in greater depth in our “Learning from Your Losses” and “Never Surrender” camps.
The Benefits of Group Chess Coaching
Over the course of 15 years, Magnus Chess Academy has provided group chess lessons to over 100,000 children, and we have seen the benefits of this approach. While 1-on-1 chess lessons might seem more focused, they miss out on other advantages, such as the motivation that comes from competing with other children, and the community feel this environment engenders.
Having other people in the class also takes the pressure off each individual student and makes for a more relaxed atmosphere. Still, there’s a sweet spot for the size of each class and we find that groups of up to 8 children work best. This gives everybody a chance to contribute and receive individual feedback.
These small group classes work just as well online and these virtual lessons make it more convenient and less time-consuming to attend class. We offer three monthly Academy memberships, which all include events like online tournaments, Tactics Tuesday, Checkmate Challenge, the Chess Book Club. The Academy and Elite Academy students also receive weekly small groups lessons with their coaches. These live lessons are the cornerstone of our online program. We accept school pupils aged between 5 and 18 and at all levels from total beginner to the 1400+ level.
The Importance of Play Time in Chess Lessons
All of our lessons involve the students as much as possible. These aren’t one-way, “listen and take notes” lectures. But even with this interaction, theoretical knowledge isn’t enough. It’s essential that pupils get to test and practice what they have learned in real games against each other or the coach. In this way, they learn about the consequences of each move and gain confidence in playing different positions. Being able to observe each student playing a game helps the coaches identify strengths and areas to develop too.
As a Magnus Chess Academy student, your child will get the opportunity to play chess against an opponent during the supervised game time included in each lesson. Our online chess camps also mix theory with practice, and we find that it’s the competition, wins and near-misses in the practical games that really motivate children to want to get better at chess. Our online academy has multiple weekly tournaments and we also organize and sponsor scholastic tournaments. We never forget that playing chess is supposed to be fun!
The Benefits of Online Chess Lessons
We have been teaching in schools and clubs for over 15 years but the emergence of accessible technology has enabled us to take our Academy online too. Our online chess lessons have proved popular thanks to the convenience of attending them from home. Not having to travel to and from the chess club saves both time and money, and generally makes for a more comfortable environment for the student too.
We use Chessable Classroom for our lessons, which allows students to see and talk to each other, solve puzzles, and play games in one place.
Our in-school clubs are designed to maximize convenience too, taking place when pupils are already at school or with the established after-school programs.
Why We Favor Small Group Chess Lessons
Experience has shown that small group lessons of up to 8 students provide the best blend of interaction, the amount of focus on each student, community, and healthy competition. Children are more motivated and able to pay attention better than in 1-on-1 lessons, and group lessons are more affordable too.
If you would like to find out more about joining the Academy or attending one of our online camps, please email us using this form and we will get in contact with you within 24 hours.