Problem Solving

Problems arise in all parts of life, at Chess Mates we teach our students how to tackle problems, the skills they learn in chess are applicable in all situations and problems they may face.


There are six steps in solving a problem, all of which can be taught though chess.


1. Identifying the problem


We teach our students to always look for problems carefully before they proceed. In a game of chess, if you don’t notice the problem in the first place it’s going to be a quick game. It’s important to be vigilant!


2. Structuring the problem


Once students have identified a problem they have to overcome we teach them to look carefully at it for a moment before rushing to a solution. It’s important that children see the problem from all angles, there may be more to it than immediately meets the eye!


3. Looking for possible solutions


There are always multiple ways to solve a problem in chess, it’s important that students identify all of the solutions before they decide on what to do. If children just go with the first move or solution presented to them they may miss out on a better one that could have been reached if they just thought about it for a little longer.


4. Making a decision


The student should always choose the decision that results in the most positive consequence. This will often require the student making a choice, for example when castling children often have to make the hard choice of castling to the queenside for a more offensive approach or castling to the kingside for defence!


5. Implementation


This is where children get to test how effective they were at structuring and deciding! If a child hasn’t structured the problem correctly or chosen the best option then more problems will usually arise during the implementation period e.g. a piece the child didn’t see capturing something unexpectedly.


6. Monitoring/feedback


In chess this is the most important step and one we place high emphasis on. We tell our students that losses are just chances to get better and learn. In chess feedback can come in the form of learning what not to do, or even receiving help from a friend or opponent.