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Month: February 2022

In-Depth Post #2 2022

In-Depth Post #2 2022

Hello and welcome back to my blog. This post will focus on my chess in-depth project.

It has been three weeks since my last post. In this time I have met with my mentor and with the use of online resources, I have learned how to play chess. I will elaborate more on the learning later in this post.

Now to answer some questions:

  • How did your mentor gain their experience/ expertise?

My mentor Igor, learned how to play chess in grade 1 when he began school. Back then he was living in Moldova, a small country by Ukraine, that at the time was still part of the USSR. Throughout his years in school, there was no technology that kids could immerse themselves in, so they had to find other ways to entertain themselves. Like kids these days, they would share similar interests and hobbies at the same time. “If everyone else was playing chess, you were playing chess. If everyone else was playing with their DIY slingshots, then so were you.” says Igor. He was a part of his school’s chess club, and he competed in multiple tournaments in the local area. In the early years, he mostly gained knowledge from either his friends, the school chess club, or books. However, later on, the internet became a resource that he could use. Now, he has been playing chess for 40 years and it has become a hobby that he really enjoys.  Today he has a rating between 1600-2000 depending on the website and setting that he is playing in.

  • What were those experiences like for your mentor?

As a kid Igor really enjoyed chess. It allowed him to connect with his friends and also make new friends. Additionally, it was a great way for him to exercise his brain and he always found it interesting to learn something new. After school, lots of the kids in the neighbourhood would gather outside and play chess against each other. To this day he still cherishes those memories.

  • What wisdom have you gained from your mentor so far?

I have only met with my mentor once so far, however, we had one interaction that I found insightful. When we were discussing some of my progress so far, I mentioned playing against other people online. He suggested that in settings I set it so I play people a similar ranking to mine, because if I play people a lot better than me I won’t find the games very interesting and I might even be discouraged, and if I play people a lot worse than me then I’ll win most of the time and I won’t learn anything from them. He said that the most learning comes from playing people similar to my ranking.

  • What have you learned so far, in terms of facilitation strategies, that might contribute to your own development as a mentor?

In the second half of my mentor and I’s first meeting, we discussed some simple endgames. We looked at the chessboard and we began examining some scenarios together. If I wasn’t understanding something he would let me play it out with the pieces. For me personally, it helped a lot. Additionally, I liked that he wouldn’t just recite information to me, instead, he had us play the pieces and discover skills as we went. I think that this perfectly encapsulates the “show don’t tell” facilitation method. Obviously, it’s important to explain ideas, however, I think that’s very helpful when the student is able to try out some things on their own first and then redirected and explained new ideas afterwards.

  • Report on any progress and sub-skills learned so far.  Share photos, videos and sound recording where applicable.

I have begun my chess journey by downloading the app on my phone and creating an account, so I can track my progress. On I have completed the New to Chess lessons. These lessons taught me the basics of chess. I really like how these lessons are laid out because they have video portions that teach you the skill and then portions where you get to practice the skill. In the “Playing the Game” lesson, I learned some very interesting rules like the stalemate, en passant, and castling.

Currently, I’m on the opening principles lesson, and I have completed 34% of it. The only downside of this website is that it only allows you to complete one lesson a week, without paying for some membership.

On this website, I have also been playing the daily puzzles and playing against computer bots. I played a few times against real people however as a beginner I need more time to think through my moves, and the timer stresses me out. This results in me making bad moves that I instantly regret because I rush. Being a beginner I totally understand that making mistakes is great so that you can learn from them, but I find not playing against a clock much more enjoyable. Additionally, I have been playing against my grandma. It has been a fun way for us to hang out and for me to apply my newly learned skills.

Over the next two weeks, I want to finish the lesson on opening principles as well as possibly watch a youtube video on openings. I also want to explore, as it is a very popular chess website.

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

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