Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Olympiad Inspiration

When you're teaching something you have a responsibility to be a role model and to inspire the students. Of course, every teacher would like to see their students excel, but I doubt that it is possible to hope for 100% excellence. My own personal goal is to make every kid to whom I teach chess to come away with a positive feeling of the experience. This might mean them improving to a certain level, but more often, it is about enjoyment of their time in the classes.In that respect, I try to engage all the kids in the group in some way, to make each of them feel worthwhile, and to excite them in some way. It can be a challenge finding something for everyone. For example, today I was working with one 6 year old who had never played before, through to 11 year old's who are playing competitively in adult events with ACF ratings of around 1000.

Well today was easy, as my lessons all revolved around the Olympiad. No matter how experienced the kids were, they all shared a desire to see their favourite team do well. In multi cultural Melbourne this does not always mean Australia, though all kids have an interest in the Australian teams. When I told the kids that both Australian men's and women's teams won their first round matches, there was actual cheers from some of the kids. I told them of Australia's heroic losses to top rated teams in round 2, and although the kids groaned a bit, they seemed genuinely impressed with our players efforts, especially David Smerdon's draw with Aronian. There were more groans when I told the kids that Australia had below par results in round 3, but when I said the teams both scored 2-2 draws against lower rated opposition. But the kids rallied and said that the teams didn't lose and still had plenty of time to win games.

I can definitely say that the players in both Australia's men's and women's teams are absolutely inspirational for my students at the moment, and I'm sure if those players could see that effect on these primary school kids, then they could be proud with their achievements.

Here was a nice finish from Emma Guo in her third round game. Here, black has just played 33..Ne4 making white's rook look for a new home. Emma found 34.Rd8!. Black found the best move in 34..Kf8. Emma then found the nice forcing line 35.Rxe8+ Kxe8 36.g4 Qg6 37.f3 Nf6
Black's pieces have been pushed out the centre, while her king has found it's way into the centre. White finished with 38.Qxe5+ Kf8 39.Qd6+ which prompted black's resignation as 39..Kg8 40.Ne7+ forking king and queen.

I'll be using our teams as inspiration for my students for the next couple of weeks. And I wish all the Australians players the very best in the rest of their matches.

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