Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tactics update, Steps Method

Tactics problems update:

I have done a week of Chess Tempo problems in blitz mode. Chess Tempo gives more time for the blitz problems than Chess Tactics Server, so I am faced with harder problems than I am looking for. From a free solution standpoint, Chess Tactics Server looks like a better choice for me to get the problems I want. Chess Tempo's interface is better for going back and looking at the problems for lessons. I think if you are willing to pay for a Chess Tempo membership, then you can customize criteria for a problem set to get the right kind of problems. I am going to get a Chess Tempo membership to help develop a week long chess camp on tactics for advanced scholastic players sometime before next summer, so I will try for a maximum images tactics sets on Chess Tempo, when I do that. Till then, I will go back to the Chess Tactics Server.

Teaching: Steps Method Course: Step One

It has been over 40 years since I learned to play chess. I have no memory of any chess learning before I read Fine's Chess the Easy Way in 5th or 6th grade. Though Fine has a short coverage of the rules at the start of the book, the rest is coverage of tactics, strategy, endgames, and opening theory. I actually have no conscious knowledge of  Chess the Easy Way, though I know it had a profound effect on my ability to play. Before I read the book, my father won most of our chess games, afterwards he never even got close to drawing.

So with no knowledge of learning to play chess, I have decided to buy the Steps Method course to help me teach chess better.

I have read through the teaching philosophy section of step one, and skimmed the rest of step one's lessons. This is a very well thought out and practiced progression for teaching the rules of chess. Much of the discussion of children's learning process reminds me of the materials I read on Maria Montessori's method while my children were in primary school.  I think the steps method might be improved by consideration of Montessori methods. Particularly conscious application of the Montessori Spiral of Learning and explicit instruction to the teacher of this concept.
I want to think more about this, but I am sure that chess instruction can benefit from this concept.


  1. Did you buy the Step Methods Book or CD? I bought the CD some years ago for 15USD(?) and it was an excellent investment. It is a few years old and runs with a few glitches (you cannot start where you stopped last time, if I remeber correctly) but overall very good stuff.

    Shredder has released the first few steps in updated fashion but at a much higher price.

  2. I bought books, all 6 steps, both instruction and workbook, but none of the extras. I got them from New In Chess for about $100 + $15 shipping