Friday, November 30, 2007

An Extremely Funny Idea For a Chess Teaching Experiment

So Greg Shahade has a whole lot of chess videos; I don't know if you've seen them, but the link is on your right at the top. Basically he's switching openings and feels that making an instructional video out of every single ICC game he plays will help him learn them. As black, he's playing everything Perelshteyn and Dzindzi recommend in Chess Openings for Black, Explained. And then he's playing his favorite English lines as white.

But in addition to disussing the openings, he explains the whole game, plus lots of colorful reflection on practical aspects of play: thinking methods, psychology, time management, style, etc.

So my big idea is to pick two of my students, one 900 and the other 1200, and tell them Greg is the greatest chess player ever and their secret teacher and they are to do and play everything like he does. I'll post a huge picture of him inside my classroom, a picture that dwarfs all the photos of Topalov, Kasparov, Polgar etc. And these two kids will have to watch one video of his every day, and see every video at least three times. Plus all the normal stuff: tactics, I go over their games, whatever else we do in chess club, except they get no regular kid openings, just what Greg shows.

And then I just sit back and watch their rating changes.

I'm starting this Monday morning, and I can already tell that even if the kids don't show any remarkable progress, tracking the experimental data is going to amuse me endlessly every single working day for the next six months.


Greg Shahade said...

You do know that I use some unsuitable language during some of the videos. I am not sure if this is the best idea! These videos are not aimed for the little ones.

Tom Panelas said...

Once the kids have all seen Original Sin, a bit of salty language will seem tame. Honestly, I’d be willing to subject my eleven-year-old to some profanity if I thought it would raise his rating a few hundred points.

I realize, of course, that the New York City Board of Education may see this differently.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Oh, my students don't know about this blog; it's a big secret. In any case, they swear way more than you do, Greg.

Anonymous said...


Check2Check said...

It's 2010 now.... just curious how this experiment went. Which kids did you use and what was their progress if any? What conclusions did you draw? You may have already posted something on this in some distant future (still your past)that I haven't already arrived at.

Tom Panelas said...


I see you're still there in Aisle 5 after all these years. While you're there, could you pick me up a couple of cans of Friskies? With Beef in Gravy is what my cats like, though please don't get any of the turkey flavors. They're vile, and Lyra usually barfs them up. That's probably more information than you needed. Thanks.