Think Like a GM - Advanced Course
This Module is loosely based on Silman's The Amateur's Mind and Watson's Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy
o Views: Material Value or Rules: The Laws of Chess
- The first class introduces the idea that piece values are dynamic to students rather than the static number they have come to overvalue typically. In addition, the class introduces the idea that chess positions are not strictly concrete or abstract. I utilize a custom system that attempts to retroactively utilize the current values students apply to pieces to explain long-term dynamic implications of "valuation." This exercise is highly relevant for future chess hobbyists and competitors as it will incorporate ideas that are necessary for long-term development into the core understanding of how chess works for students of the game. In addition, for students who may not pursue chess as a lifelong hobby or competitive undertaking, this class teaches some facets of collegiate critical thinking. Students are introduced to the importance of establishing baselines, defending opinions, building on arguments, appreciating perception and more.
o Rules: The Center & Development or Views: Space
- The second class reinforces the idea that rules and views are two different but congruous ways to evaluate chess positions; especially in the era of engine analysis. As students participate in puzzles designed around the theme, they will begin to appreciate that value does not end at pieces – and squares themselves on the board have value – and the students should begin to view the pieces as a tool they can use to capture that value for themselves. This class aims to introduce students to the idea of nuance in valuation as well as teasing perception as a fluid concept rather than the static concept most puzzles enforce.
o Views: Pawn Structure or Rules: Passers, Minorities, and Majorities
- The third class introduces a new way to view the chess board – as a dynamic field that the player has the ability to influence not only through piece control but piece placement. The main idea of the class – the “bughouse” mentality begins to really come into play as students are encouraged to view the chess board as an editable landscape that they can enact their will upon using their tools (pieces.) Their perception of the value of pawns will be challenged throughout the class.
o Views: Minor Piece Values or Rules: Open vs Closed Position
- Evaluating the value of minor pieces (knights and bishops) in dynamic and static positions. This concept is very high level for a lot of students and can be a turning point for not only their chess but how they apply critical thinking in general.
o Views: The Modern Bishop or Rules: Good;Bad, Active;Inactive?
- The module will depart from the higher-concept focuses and hone in on chess-specific critical thinking exercises. While these exercises utilize critical thinking skills, they are much more focused toward the goals of improving understanding on the board as opposed to developing the skill set.
o Astract: The Contemporary Knight or Rules: Imposts vs Outposts
- The difference of knights vs bishops finds an expanse in the difference between pairs versus hybrids and even one-on-one evaluations or evaluation if a knight pair is beneficial to a personal position and how perception may play into decision making.
o Initiative vs Tempo: Over Defending, Tactics, Forcing
- This class will introduce the idea of dynamism for positions. Think of the difference between a photograph and a video – all the positions we have discussed thus far are largely photographs without more than implied initiative. Introducing tempo and initiative as well as clock management in some cases will further focus on improvement within the constraints of a chess board.
- Classes 8 through 10: Test/Application