The First Lesson I Teach Every Beginner Class

I often get asked, "how do you introduce a kid to chess when there is SO MUCH they need to learn?" It's not just parents that ask me--I've trained many coaches with the same question!


At first, I would jump right in and teach all the pieces and then go back and practice each piece with them. Over time, I learned that teaching a piece, focusing on it until they mastered it and THEN moving onto the next piece helped students to retain the knowledge better... but I still felt that they could sometimes struggle with it, because they didn't realize the "big picture" until far too late.

Why I Decided to Come Up with my Own First Game to Show Students

That's why I went through hundreds of famous games, looking for a short game where every piece got moved. I found a famous game by Morphy that I used for years and it was great because it showed WHY what I was teaching them mattered. But it was a game by two world-class grandmasters and a bit over their heads.

There aren't many things I would say I'm better then the great Paul Morhpy at, but BAD chess happens to be one of them! And playing a bad game for a bunch of kids can actually be much more fun than playing a good one--it gives plenty of chances for me to say "oh no, I've made a terrible mistake" in dramatic fashions and be silly.

The game below is fun, it's silly and, yes, it is REALLY bad chess--in fact, I'd be shocked if any of my students couldn't beat either of the players in this imaginary game after a few weeks of classes. The reason I show it to every new student, though, is that it shows how all the pieces move. It shows the importance of looking out for danger and how quickly a mistake can cost a player. AND it shows how fun chess can be!

So, feel free to watch the video and make it your own! The game is only 14 moves long, but in the video, I explain the types of points (and silly jokes) I'm making that help this to be a truly effective lesson.

Below the video, I've included the moves shown in the game.

The First Game I Show Every Student

The Notated Moves:

White Black
1. e4 e5
2. d4 exd4
3. c3 dxc3
4. bxc3 d5
5. exd5 c6
6. dxc6 bxc6
7. Ba6 Bxa6
8. Ba3 Bxa3
9. Nxa3 Nf6
10. Rb1 Rf8
11. Rxb8 Rxb8
12. Qxd8+ Kxd8
13. Nf3 Ne4
14. Nb1 Rxb1++